The Yankees were trailing 4-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rivera retired four batters over the eighth and ninth innings.
"Thank God they came out," Rivera said later. "I’m not sure I would have made it on my own."
The fans went wild, but Rivera was stoic. He told his closer, "First and second, one out," on the way off the mound, he told a reporter later.
Joe Girardi had wanted to pull Rivera in the ninth inning to get a standing ovation and send out Jeter and Pettitte, who came to the Yankees in 1995 with Rivera, to send him out at the end of their Yankee dynasty.
After checking with the umpires to get the OK, the two went to walk him out.
And then, the tears rolled, as Pettitte told Rivera, "It's been an honor to play alongside you."
After the game, Rivera sat alone in the dugout for a few minutes. He then came back on the field briefly, for cheers and a handful of dirt from the mound.
“I wanted to get some dirt and stand there for the last time,” Rivera said. “Knowing I’m not going to be there no more, especially pitching — maybe throwing a first pitch one year, one day, competing, I won’t be there no more, so that little time that I was there was special for me. Just me alone there.”
"We’ve all grown up together,"’ Jeter said afterward. "It’s too bad good things have to come to an end, I guess, eventually.’"