SEATTLE (AP) - Ichiro Suzuki ran on his own, trying to make something happen in the bottom of the ninth inning and keep New York closer Mariano Rivera from reaching a milestone.
Instead, Suzuki was thrown out by catcher Russell Martin trying to steal second base, creating a unique ending to a remarkable accomplishment.
Rivera earned his 600th career save when Suzuki was cut down for the final out in the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Rivera became the second pitcher in major league history to reach the 600-save mark, joining Trevor Hoffman. And he could match Hoffman's record of 601 before he leaves Seattle, with one more game remaining in the three-game series.
``I think most people would agree he is the best closer in the history of the game. That is one hell of a statement,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``You see what he has done, the consistency he has had in the regular season and his number in the postseason. I think he is second to none.'
Rivera missed out on a save chance in the series opener when the Yankees battered nemesis Felix Hernandez in a 9-3 victory. But the New York offense was kept in check Tuesday night by Charlie Furbush (3-9), who allowed three runs and struck out six in 5 1-3 innings.
Robinson Cano provided the Yankees offense with a homer and two RBIs. Nick Swisher's leadoff double in the sixth eventually led to Cano's fielder's choice that scored Swisher with the go-ahead run. Rafael Soriano and David Robertson worked the seventh and eighth innings to set the stage for Rivera.
It was the 1,037th appearance of Rivera's career, but it almost didn't happen. Robertson labored through the eighth as Rivera started stretching out, giving up a leadoff single to Dustin Ackley and walking Justin Smoak with one out. Robertson got Miguel Olivo swinging at a 3-2 pitch while the runners advanced. Robertson then fell behind Adam Kennedy 2-0 and issued an intentional walk to load the bases.
Trayvon Robinson came on to pinch-hit for Casper Wells, who had struck out three times already, but couldn't do any better, striking out on a fastball and leaving the bases loaded.
Rivera then took off his jacket and started throwing moments later. He didn't have much time to get ready with New York going down quickly in the top of the ninth, but jogged in with most of the Yankees fans in attendance standing and many snapping pictures.
Nearly the entire Yankees dugout stood on the top-step railing.
Pinch-hitter Wily Mo Pena was gone on a foul-tip strike three into Martin's glove. Suzuki then served a soft single into left field, but Rivera struck out rookie Kyle Seager. The strikeout of Seager was the Mariners' 17th in the game and their 74th over the past six games.
``It's too much right now,' Wedge said. ``It's a combination of some called third and swing-throughs. Some of these kids are trying to do too much.'
Rivera didn't even need to finish it off himself as Suzuki was thrown out by Martin trying to steal. Rivera savored the opportunity to share the moment with longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
``They are family away from your family. It was great seeing them all come to the mound,' Rivera said. ``Again, I've been blessed to have a great bunch of guys who have supported me and given me all the opportunities.'
Seattle missed on chances early to get to New York starter A.J. Burnett, who struggled through three innings before closing strong. Burnett (10-11) pitched six innings, allowing two runs while striking out 11.
Burnett did throw a couple of wild pitches, hit a pair of batters and gave up Brendan Ryan's two-out RBI single in the second. But he avoided major damage in the third after loading the bases with just one out. Olivo hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Mariners even at 2, then Burnett got Kennedy swinging to end the threat.
Burnett allowed four hits and walked two batters. The 11 strikeouts were his most since Sept. 23, 2009, against the Angels. He retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
Furbush is still working into being a starter and was pulled after 89 pitches. His six strikeouts tied a career high and he pitched more than five inning for the fourth time this season.
``I think it's about trusting yourself, not trying to let the game get bigger than it is and just go out there and pitch your game,' Furbush said.
NOTES: Ryan left before the start of the sixth with a sore back and was replaced by Luis Rodriguez. ... Yankees RHP Ivan Nova starts in the series finale on Wednesday, looking to start a new streak. He had an eight-start consecutive win streak snapped with a no-decision last Thursday in Baltimore. ... LHP Jason Vargas makes his 30th start of the season for Seattle. He is 2-7 with a 6.56 ERA over his last 11 starts.
The Associated Press News Service
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