NEW YORK - JUNE 03: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers runs the bases against the New York Yankees on June 3, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Mariano Rivera blew it, ending the New York Yankees' perfect record when leading after eight innings. Pitching the ninth inning with a one-run lead, Rivera allowed a tying double to Ian Kinsler, then hit Jeff Francoeur on the left shoulder with the bases loaded, giving the Texas Rangers a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night in yet another long game.
A night after Texas won the series opener in 13 innings, lasting 5 hours, 12 minutes, this one took 4:16 -- plus a 59-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fifth inning. The teams also went from using 19 pitchers on Friday night to using 14. The Yankees were 76-0 when leading after eight before Rivera's third blown save opportunity of the year.
Much of the crowd of 49,210 -- second-largest this season -- stuck around to watch the Rangers win their fourth straight game. The Yankees lost for the fifth time in six games. Their lead in the AL East dipped to a half-game because Tampa Bay beat Toronto 13-1.
After blowing leads of 4-2 and 5-3, the Rangers had one last chance against Rivera (3-3), who worked two innings in Friday night's marathon.
Vladimir Guerrero started the rally with a leadoff walk and Nelson Cruz followed with a single. Kinsler doubled down the third-base line to tie it. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Rivera's first pitch plunked Francoeur, scoring Cruz after he hit solo homers for the tying and winning runs Friday night.
Rivera stood on the mound with his hands on his hips as Texas players rushed out of the dugout in celebration, with team owner Nolan Ryan smiling and leading the cheers from the front row. There is some added significance because the teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs.