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06/29/09 1:27 AM ET

Mets tip their hats to Rivera's feat

Praise abounds though 500th save came at their expense

NEW YORK -- The Mets found themselves on the wrong end of history on Sunday night, the victims of Mariano Rivera's 500th career save in a 4-2 loss to the Yankees.

Mariano Rivera

And while the Mets certainly didn't enjoy seeing the closer from across town reach that milestone with his 18th career save against them, they respected the achievement.

"You have to applaud that -- he's one of the premier guys in the time that I've seen," manager Jerry Manuel said. "I wasn't applauding him tonight, but I applaud him."

Mets' third baseman David Wright has gotten to Rivera a few times in his career, with a game-winning double off him in 2006 and a go-ahead double earlier this season.

That doesn't mean he looks forward to facing Rivera.

"As a guy that competes against him, I know that every time you hear 'Enter Sandman' and Mariano coming into the game, you know you've got your work cut out for you, and chances are, you're not going to be able to get to him," Wright said. "I don't think you'll find anybody that says they like facing him."

Gary Sheffield, a teammate of Rivera's for three seasons in the Bronx, said he never doubted an outcome when Rivera emerged from the bullpen.

Rivera's counterpart Sunday night, Francisco Rodriguez, doesn't see Rivera slowing down.

"It's not hard to see him throw 100 more -- get to 600," Rodriguez said.

And it's an accomplishment Rodriguez, who already owns 228 saves, plans on reaching himself one day. After all, Rivera had only 48 at the age of 27.

"I'll get there," K-Rod said. "Eight years, nine years, we'll be talking about it."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.