NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera stood looking down at his cleats in a silent Yankee Stadium after giving up two homers and blowing his third straight save.
Then Brett Gardner picked him up again.
Gardner homered with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Tigers on Sunday for their first series win in more than a month.
Rivera blew both save chances in the series. Gardner provided the winning hit each time.
"Mo's bailed us out a few times," Gardner said of the career saves leader. "It didn't matter if it was me or somebody else, we just needed to get a win today and I'm glad we made it happen."
Rivera gave up homers to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the ninth that tied it at 4 and turned Alex Rodriguez's first homer of the season into a footnote.
But Gardner connected off Jose Veras to win it.
Rodriguez, who has missed most of the year while coming back from hip surgery, hit a leadoff homer in the second, the 648th of his career.
"Felt good to get the first one out of the way," he said. "Today was a step in the right direction."