NEW YORK — The day started in storybook fashion. A moving tribute to Mariano Rivera was followed by Andy Pettitte taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his final regular-season start at Yankee Stadium.
The way it ended might have finished the Yankees' playoff hopes.
After honoring the career saves leader and celebrating Pettitte, New York saw its AL wild-card hopes dim Sunday with a crushing 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Pettitte was sure the Yankees would rally.
"It always seems to happen. I really thought it was going to happen today," Pettitte said. "So it's hard to believe that we're sitting here, that we lost another game. This was a big loss, there's no doubt about that."
In danger of missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years, the Yankees dropped four back of Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six games left. New York hosts wild-card leading Tampa Bay for three games, then closes at Houston.
The Yankees held a 50-minute pregame ceremony and retired the No. 42 of Rivera, who announced during spring training that this will be his final season. Rivera was last player to wear Jackie Robinson's number, which was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the day the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman broke baseball's color barrier. For a little over a week, Rivera becomes the first active player to be given a place in Monument Park.
"I appreciate this day, what the organization did, the fans that were here supporting me," Rivera said. "That was good, but at the end it wasn't that great because we lost the game."
Pettitte said Friday he also is leaving, and he started off perfect until giving up a walk with two outs in the fifth.
But Ehire Adrianza tied the score in the sixth with his first career home run. Leaving to standing ovations and a curtain call after Pedro Sandoval's leadoff double in the eighth, Pettitte (10-11) watched Tony Abreu hit a go-ahead double off David Robertson.