ARLINGTON, Texas — Mariano Rivera was honored on the field before his final game in Texas — and was fittingly on the mound to end it.
After getting an appropriate gift of cowboy boots from the Rangers before the game, Rivera pitched the ninth inning for the save in a 2-0 victory for the New York Yankees after Hiroki Kuroda threw seven scoreless innings Thursday.
“He’s Mo. Every time I go out there and he comes in, I’m excited more so than any point in the game,” said rookie catcher Austin Romine, who had a career-high three hits and scored the first run. “To catch a guy that’s done it day in and day out for a long time. .... Everybody looks, everybody watches and they see how it’s done.”
The boots given to Rivera were inscribed with the Yankees logo, his name and No. 42. They were presented by John Wetteland, who before becoming the Rangers’ career saves leader was the Yankees closer and was set up by Rivera during their 1996 World Series championship season.
Rivera was also given a cowboy hat delivered by Texas closer Joe Nathan, who had the save in last week’s All-Star game after Rivera pitched the eighth.
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, baseball’s strikeout king who is now the Rangers CEO, took part in the presentation of a $5,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation that helps needy children.
“It was wonderful,” Rivera said of the recognition, though he wasn’t yet ready to wear the boots.
“Mo looks good in a hat like that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It was nice who they had. ... It’s a pretty special group of people that put out there with him.”
With the Yankees struggling to score runs — they had only eight runs while managing to split the four-game series — they need pitching like they keep getting from Kuroda (10-6), even if wasn’t convinced he had an overly impressive outing.