For the second time in as many games, Mariano Rivera has blown a New York Yankees lead. Two nights after blowing a save against the Chicago White Sox in the 12th inning, Rivera has become the latest victim of Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera.

The defending American League MVP stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning against the legendary Yankees closer with former New York farmhand Austin Jackson on second. After falling down 0-2, he ran the count to 2-2, Cabrera finally got Rivera to miss his spot out over the plate—and he didn’t miss.

The Tigers third baseman sent the Rivera fastball to straightaway center field, with Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner giving chase to no avail. The blast tied the game at 3-3, and kept hope alive for the Tigers to extend their 12-game winning streak. That streak ended up coming to an end in the next frame as the Yankees scored in the bottom of the 10th on a Gardner’s game-winning single.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Cabrera’s home run was the first game-tying against Rivera with two outs in the ninth or later since Jason Bay did so in 2009 as a member of the Red Sox. 

What’s perhaps most impressive about Cabrera’s feat is that he drove the ball to the deepest part of the park in obvious pain. Two pitches the Tigers slugger fouled off in the at-bat bashed off his leg, and he also seemed to twist his knee at one point. Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg was one of many impressed with Cabrera’s toughness:

It was also the 30-year-old Venezuelan’s 34th dinger of the year. Cabrera, the prohibitive favorite to repeat for AL MVP this season, is batting an MLB-best .360 and also leads the majors with 108 RBI. His home run total ranks only behind Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who has 41.

Friday night was Rivera’s fourth blown save of the season. The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer has converted 35 of 39 attempts with a 2.18 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, returning to form after suffering a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2012 season.

While solid throughout the campaign, River has struggled a bit of late. He’s blown three of his past 10 attempts. Rivera will retire at the conclusion of the 2013, his 19th in the Bronx.

This was just his third appearance in August, as the Yankees have struggled to stay afloat in the AL East. New York is 10 games behind first-place Boston in the division and seven games out of the AL’s final wild-card spot.

The Tigers, buoyed by their winning streak, are 68-46 and have a 7-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.


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