Mariano Rivera/Jorge Posada; Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

How good is Mariano Rivera? Through the years he has been the least appreciated of the Yankees’ stars, but without him where would the Yankees be? Monday night Rivera was dominant again throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning on seven pitches to record his thirtieth save of the year. Since blowing two saves to the Red Sox in April, Rivera has not failed in a save opportunity and has surrendered only 3 earned runs in over forty-five innings of work.

Rivera’s brilliance was backed up by Alex Rodriguez’s bat. A Rod connected in the first inning off of former Yankee, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez for a two-run homer that put the Yankees in the lead for good. Derek Jeter added a RBI groundout to put the Yankees up 3-0. Mike Mussina pitched six innings while giving up two runs and striking out seven.

The Yankee victory allowed them to keep pace with the Red Sox who also won. Tuesday night the Yankees will welcome Jose Contreras back to the Stadium. Considering how poorly he pitched in big games when he was a Yankee, fans will be expecting him to fail once again.

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images