NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera reported for work an inning early and walked off to a fitting tribute.
Summoned in the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star Game, the New York Yankees’ indomitable closer tossed a perfect inning and soaked up a pair of standing ovations while helping the American League to a 3-0 victory over the National League last night at Citi Field.
Rivera, who took home MVP honors, and nine other pitchers combined on a three-hitter for the AL, which snapped a three-game losing streak and regained home-field advantage in the World Series. Joe Nathan saved it in Rivera’s place after the American League scratched out a pair of runs and got an RBI double from the Cleveland Indians’ Jason Kipnis.
Robinson Cano hobbled off early after getting hit by a pitch from crosstown rival Matt Harvey of the hometown Mets. X-rays were negative, and Cano said he shouldn’t miss any games for the Yankees.
Harvey and opposing starter Max Scherzer were among a record 39 first-time All-Stars in a game that featured four players 21 or younger.
Both came out throwing 99 mph heat, but it was Rivera, at 43 the oldest All-Star since 1991, who was the center of attention in his farewell season.
He came in from the bullpen to Metallica’s Enter Sandman just like across town at Yankee Stadium, and was left alone on the field for more than a minute to take in a rousing ovation.
“It was a great moment. He is one of the best pitchers that has ever played this game,” Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said.
Players on both sides clapped from the top of the dugout steps, and he tipped his cap to the crowd.
Then he went to work, getting out three straight hitters on 16 pitches before walking off to another ovation.
“It was tough. It was special,” an emotional Rivera said. “Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout — managers, coaches, players — priceless.”
Fans chanted Harvey’s name during pregame introductions, and the 24-year-old sensation delivered with three strikeouts in two shutout innings. He walked off to a standing ovation.
Harvey was the youngest All-Star starting pitcher since former Mets ace Dwight Gooden was 23 a quarter-century ago — and the first from the home team since Houston’s Roger Clemens in 2004. Gooden cheered Harvey on from the stands.
All the buildup might have made Harvey a little too excited at the start. Mike Trout doubled inside first base on his opening pitch, and Harvey drilled Cano just above the right knee with a 96 mph fastball on the third.
In obvious pain, Cano initially stayed in the game but limped off after Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera struck out.
“I didn’t mean to, obviously,” Harvey said. “I feel terrible. Apologies go out to him.”
Cano suffered a bruised quadriceps.
Cabrera’s leadoff double in the fourth and Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak for the AL that dated to Adrian Gonzalez’s homer off Cliff Lee two years ago at Arizona.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones doubled against Lee to start the fifth and scored when teammate J.J. Hardy beat out a potential double play. Kipnis doubled home a run in the eighth off Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.
Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman finished his one-inning stint with the fastest pitch of the game, fanning a swinging Jones with a 101 mph fastball. Chapman didn’t give up a run and walked a batter.