Mo eclipsed Whitey to enter class by himself

Mo eclipsed Whitey to enter class by himself

Mo eclipsed Whitey to enter class by himself

The Yankees were in the midst of their World Series dynasty when Mariano Rivera solidified himself as one of the premier postseason performers of all time.

It was in a Game 3 win against the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 American League Championship Series when Rivera tied and surpassed Hall of Famer -- and fellow Yankee -- Whitey Ford's mark for consecutive postseason scoreless innings. He threw 1 2/3 innings to extend his streak to 33 1/3 frames.

"I didn't think about it at all. It just happens," Rivera said at the time, according to The Associated Press. "It's important, but it's not about the record, it's about winning."

Rivera's streak, which began during the 1998 playoffs, included 16 saves and 22 strikeouts in 23 appearances.

The Yankees were winning, 4-2, when Rivera took over for Jeff Nelson with one out in the eighth inning of that Oct. 13 game. Nelson surrendered a leadoff single to Rivera's future teammate, Alex Rodriguez, before Rodriguez stole second. Nelson then struck out Edgar Martinez and Rivera came on to get the Yankees out of the inning.

Rivera induced a Stan Javier groundout and got John Olerud to fly out to strand Rodriguez and give the Yankees a chance to pad their lead. They did so, tacking on four more runs in the top of the ninth, before Rivera shut down the Mariners with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to match and eclipse Ford's record.

The Yankees went on to win the ALCS in six games, then defeat the crosstown Mets in a five-game World Series.

Ford's 33 consecutive scoreless innings -- set from 1960-62 -- still stands as a World Series record, while Rivera's run came to an end in his next appearance, Game 6 of that ALCS. It has not been matched.

The iconic Yankees closer remains one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball history, with far and away the most career playoff saves (42) and lowest ERA (0.70).

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.