It was Game 2 of the 1995 American League Division Series, and Yankees closer John Wetteland had just given up a go-ahead home run to Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. in the top of the 12th inning.
With New York now trailing Seattle, 5-4, in that Oct. 4, 1995 game, Yankees manager Buck Showalter removed Wetteland and called on rookie Mariano Rivera to make his postseason debut. The young right-hander struck out Jay Buhner to end the frame, sending the game to the bottom of the 12th with the Yankees trailing by one.
That one batter could have been the end of Rivera's postseason debut. Instead, it was the start of his first postseason victory.
Ruben Sierra hit a RBI double to score Jorge Posada with two outs in the bottom of the frame, tying the game at 5 and sending Rivera out to pitch the 13th.
Rivera fired three scoreless innings from there, giving up just two hits while striking out four more Mariners. Edgar Martinez and Buhner hit back-to-back singles with one out in the 15th inning, but those were only two baserunners allowed by Rivera.
Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz handed Rivera his first of eight career postseason wins in the 15th inning, launching a one-out, two-run home run to right field to give the Yankees a 7-5 walk-off win and a 2-0 lead in the ALDS.
"In the heat of the moment, everybody thinks it's gone," Leyritz told The New York Times after the game. "I knew that I hit it far and I was just hoping it had enough to make it over. It was a great feeling."
Rivera threw 3 1/3 innings, allowing two hits while striking out five.
The Yankees went on to lose three straight games in Seattle to drop the series, but the 1995 ALDS remains the series that launched Rivera's postseason career. Rivera is 8-1 with 0.70 ERA and 42 saves over 141 postseason innings, and it all started with the 3 1/3 innings he threw against Seattle on Oct. 4, 1995.