KANSAS CITY, Missouri
— Mariano Rivera drifted back to the outfield wall, just like he’d done in batting practice for two decades, tracking down another fly ball with childlike joy.
Everything changed for Major League Baseball’s greatest closer before anybody could blink.
The New York Yankees’ 12-time All-Star caught his boot in the dirt, his right knee buckling before he hit the wall. Rivera fell, his face contorted in pain, as teammate Alex Rodriguez uttered the words “Oh, my God” from some 400 feet (120 meters) away.
Bullpen coach Mike Harkey was the first to reach Rivera, whistling toward the Yankees’ dugout for help. Manager Joe Girardi had been watching from behind the batter’s box and set off at a run down the third-base line, angling toward center field and his fallen reliever.
“My thought was he has a torn ligament, by the way he went down,” Girardi said later.
His instincts proved correct.
Rivera was diagnosed with a torn ACL and meniscus Thursday after an exam taken during the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The injury likely ends his season, and quite possibly his career, an unfathomable way for one of the most decorated pitchers in history to go out. The injury seemed to cast a pall over the Yankees, who played from behind the entire way against the Royals.
Mike Moustakas matched a career high with three RBIs and made a defensive gem in the ninth for Kansas City, backing a strong start by Danny Duffy (2-2). Jonathan Broxton was helped by two stellar defensive plays to finish for the save.
Yankees pitcher David Phelps (0-1) allowed six hits over four innings in his first major league start.
Rays 4, Mariners 3: Tampa Bay’s Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run homer to help the Rays to a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners Thursday, completing a four-game sweep.
Desmond Jennings added a two-run triple for the Rays, who scored all their runs in the second inning off Kevin Millwood (0-3).
The Mariners concluded a 10-day, 10-game road trip on a season-worst six-game losing streak.
Blue Jays 5, Angels 0: Brandon Morrow pitched a three-hitter for his second career shutout and J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer to power Toronto to the victory.
Morrow (3-1) won his third straight start, striking out eight and walking none to help the Blue Jays open an 11-game trip with their fifth win in their last six overall.
Toronto added two more runs on a throwing error by converted third baseman Mark Trumbo.
Indians 7, White Sox 5: Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer and finished with a career-high four RBIs, leading the Indians to the victory.
Kipnis, a native of suburban Chicago, also tripled in a run, walked and scored twice. — Agencies