BALTIMORE -- All-time saves leader Mariano Rivera entered to protect a ninth-inning lead in his final regular-season appearance at Camden Yards on Thursday night, but due to a scoring quirk, the Yankees closer was credited with the victory instead of a save -- the fourth time it's happened in the past 25 years.
Official scorer Mark Jacobson invoked Rule 10.17 (c) to not give a victory to Yankees reliever David Robertson in New York's 6-5 win over the Orioles, ruling that Robertson's eighth-inning appearance had been "ineffective and brief." Thus, Rivera remains tied with Baltimore's Jim Johnson for the American League lead with 43 saves.
"That's what I heard," Rivera said with a smile. "I'm fine with that. We won."
Robertson allowed four hits in the bottom of the eighth, including a game-tying three-run homer to Danny Valencia. Brendan Ryan scored on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth, giving the Yankees a 6-5 lead. Instead of Robertson, the pitcher of record became Rivera, who pitched a perfect ninth.
Told of the scoring decision, manager Joe Girardi said he believed the scorer had made "a mistake." It was Rivera's sixth victory of the season against two losses, and he has 651 career regular-season saves.
The full Rule 10.17 (c) is as follows:
"The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer."
The rule book continues with a guideline:
"Rule 10.17(c) Comment: The official scorer generally should, but is not required to, consider the appearance of a relief pitcher to be ineffective and brief if such relief pitcher pitches less than one inning and allows two or more earned runs to score (even if such runs are charged to a previous pitcher)."
In an odd twist, the last time this occurred was also at Camden Yards.
In a July 27, 2012, contest between the A's and Orioles, Ryan Cook gave up the tying run and three hits before the A's rallied for six runs in the top of the ninth, putting Cook in line for a win he wouldn't receive. Instead, Jerry Blevins, who pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, was credited with the victory.
Mo to be honored before final Fenway game
BALTIMORE -- Mariano Rivera has never forgotten being given a standing ovation at Fenway Park on Opening Day in 2005, serenaded by Red Sox fans a few months after he and the Yankees frittered away a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.
Rivera good-naturedly tipped his cap to the Boston crowd that April afternoon, and they will return the favor one last time on Sunday. The Red Sox have announced that Rivera will be honored in a pregame ceremony before his final regular-season game at Fenway.
"That should be interesting," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm sure he'll get a lot of respect there for what he's done in his career. They have great fans there. I thought I heard some cheers the last time he came in a game there. I think people appreciate what he's done and what he's meant to the game."
Rivera, 43, has made more appearances than any other visiting reliever in the 102-year history of Fenway Park. During the Yankees' trip to Boston in July, Rivera said that he has enjoyed being a part of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, both at home and on the road.
"I always love to pitch here. Always," Rivera said. "Yankee Stadium is home, but when I come here, this is a great game. We play big, big games here. It's always good."
Catcher Romine progressing from concussion
BALTIMORE -- Yankees catcher Austin Romine continues to feel improvement after suffering a concussion earlier this week, but there is no set timetable for his return to action on the field.
Romine was struck in the face mask by an Adam Jones foul tip in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 7-5 Yankees win over the Orioles.
"Every day I keep waking up, it's a lot better; I'm not feeling as much of the symptoms," Romine said. "The headache's gone, my neck's not sore, but I think there's still stuff we need to take care of."
Romine was scheduled to take an ImPACT test on Thursday, an examination that includes a lengthy series of memorization activities with shapes and numbers.
"It's kind of fun, but then after taking it a bunch of times, it's really tedious," Romine said. "But it's something you've got to do in order to play again."
The catcher said that he also suffered a concussion in a 2011 home-plate collision, saying that was worse because he had hit his head on the ground.
While this is his second confirmed concussion, Romine is not certain that he has not had others.
"Let's be honest, I'm a catcher, Romine said.
Nova throws, expects to be fine for next start
BALTIMORE -- Ivan Nova tossed in the bullpen on Thursday at Camden Yards, and he is confident he will be able to make his scheduled start on Sunday against the Red Sox in Boston.
Nova was limited to just 79 pitches in his last start because of tightness near his right triceps, but the right-hander said that he felt no discomfort while throwing his side session.
"I just want to keep on pitching and finish my season," said Nova, who is 8-4 with a 3.17 ERA. "Hopefully we can make it to the playoffs and I can keep pitching."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that his expectation is for Nova to make the start.
"Obviously we'll watch him, but this is not the first time we've dealt with this in the course of the season, and he's pitched very well for us," Girardi said.
O's present retiring Rivera with sculpture
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles presented Mariano Rivera with his latest retirement gift as he makes a final pass through the American League, honoring the longtime Yankees closer in a pregame ceremony on Thursday night at Camden Yards.
Baltimore commissioned a sculpture depicting a baseball shattering a bat, following a theme echoed by several other clubs in paying tribute to the all-time saves leader. Rivera was hugged on the field by Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was his first big league skipper with the 1995 Yankees.
"Definitely, I was glad that he was there," Rivera said. "I said, 'Thank you for being there, thank you for everything.' That was special for me."
The Orioles said that the sculpture was produced by Omri Armany and his son, Itamar, of The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany in Highland, Ill. They have produced numerous other sports-related pieces, including sculptures of Michael Jordan and Vince Lombardi.
The bronze was cast at the Alchemist Foundry in Kalamazoo, Mich., and had an accompanying plaque reading:
"Baseball's all-time saves leader who pitched 19 seasons for the New York Yankees. His numerous baseball records are surpassed only by his humility, respect and philanthropy.
"Presented by the Baltimore Orioles, in recognition of his tremendous career and the hundreds of bats he broke along the way."
• Yankees left-hander Boone Logan said that he tried to play catch on Thursday, testing his inflamed left elbow, but it did not go well and he shut down the session after about five tosses. Logan has not pitched since last Friday, and his absence prompted the Yankees to sign free-agent reliever Mike Zagurski this week.
• Alex Rodriguez exchanged text messages with Girardi on Thursday. According to Girardi, Rodriguez said that his tight left hamstring felt "better." Since Rodriguez did not say it felt "great," Girardi said he decided to use Rodriguez as the designated hitter for a second straight day.
• On this date in 1996, Bernie Williams homered from both sides of the plate and drove in eight runs as the Yankees defeated the Tigers, 12-3, at Tiger Stadium.