The swing seemed largely defensive really — it was just another righty batter lunging to take a futile swipe at a 1-1 cutter something we’ve all smirked at a thousand times only this time Will Middlebrooks managed to get the fat part of his bat on it.
And this one also happened to catch the whiff of a jet stream so it carried and carried and carried as far as a damn Canada snow goose landing three seats beyond the right-field wall and officially making all of Yankee Stadium gasp from a mass gut punch.

Because of this revolting development two things happened after that.

1. Mariano Rivera turned around to watch a bunch of fans scramble for the honor of flinging this 325-foot popup back onto the field and then mouthed the obvious: "Unbelievable" he said.

2. And everyone in the cathedral receded into this gnarled private funk as if the recurring sacrilege that never required expression before was now impossible to stuff back down 43000 throats: If this is the Mo we get hereafter they thought it’s past closing time.

Yes the difference between telling the tale of a splendid stay-alive victory and that of a 43-year-old closer trying to outrun an avalanche of doubt is just 8 feet and a gust of wind.

But this 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox Sunday — built on the guts of Hiroki Kuroda and the daring of Ichiro Suzuki — did not reduce Rivera’s failure to a mere footnote.

It was his career-high seventh blown save of the season (his third in support of poor Kuroda) and his fifth since Aug. 7. That means in the past month Rivera has failed to close the game 42 percent of the time.

In fact he has a 4.20 ERA in his past 13 appearances.