David Wright and Lucas Duda hit RBI singles off Rivera, and the Mets rallied past the New York Yankees 2-1 on Tuesday night to foil baseball's career saves leader only hours after honoring him at Citi Field.
"I think we surprised ourselves," Wright said, "because when you get Mo coming in, it's usually game over."
Matt Harvey and Hiroki Kuroda locked up in an entertaining pitchers' duel that went to the ninth with the Yankees leading 1-0 on Lyle Overbay's run-scoring single. But all three batters to face Rivera (0-1) got hits, handing him the first blown save of his farewell season after he had converted 18 straight chances.
"Hopefully, it's the last one," Rivera said.
Daniel Murphy opened the ninth with a double just inside the left field line, and Wright tied it with a single to center. Wright reached second on Brett Gardner's throwing error and got a great jump off the bag when Duda fisted a single to right-center.
Wright scored pretty easily and the normally quiet Duda egged his teammates on for a wild celebration that carried into the outfield. With their second consecutive 2-1 victory over the Yankees, the Mets swept the first two-game leg of the Subway Series and matched a season high with their third straight win.
It was the first time in his 19-year career that Rivera entered with a save opportunity and failed to get an out.
"It did happen quick," he said.
The Yankees have lost three in a row for the first time this year. They were the only team in the majors that hadn't had a three-game skid.
Scott Rice (3-3) tossed a scoreless inning and the Mets took the unbeaten Harvey off the hook for a loss for the third time this year.
The teams now head to Yankee Stadium for games Wednesday and Thursday night.
Saluted by the Mets and the FDNY before the game, the 43-year-old Rivera, who plans to retire after the season, cracked a big smile as he threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Mets career saves leader John Franco following a 91-minute rain delay at the start.
Just before that, the Mets played a video tribute to Rivera that ended with the message, "Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career."
Earlier, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon presented Rivera with a mounted fire hose nozzle, and New York City Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano gave the game's greatest closer a mounted call box during a brief ceremony inside the ballpark.
"It has been great, everywhere I've been this year. And tonight everything was great -- until the ninth," said Rivera, who threw only nine pitches.
When it was Harvey's turn to toe the rubber, he came out firing fastballs clocked at 96-98 mph. Harvey grew up in Connecticut rooting for the Yankees, but has quickly blossomed into one of baseball's most dominant pitchers during his first full season with the Mets.
Showing no ill effects from his bruised calf, the 38-year-old Kuroda rebounded from a rough outing with a splendid one and demonstrated why he's been the Yankees' most dependable starter the past two seasons. He struck out seven and walked none, allowing only four singles in seven innings.
Kuroda needed to be stingy to stay with Harvey, who was on top of his game in his Subway Series debut. Harvey fanned 10 and walked none while yielding six hits in eight innings. Former Mets ace Dwight Gooden sat four rows behind home plate, updating Harvey's K count on Twitter, as usual.
The Yankees broke through against Harvey in the sixth after right fielder Marlon Byrd bobbled Gardner's leadoff single for an error that allowed the speedster to reach second.
Gardner advanced on a groundout and scored when Overbay lined a two-out single right past Harvey, who snapped his head in anger. The 24-year-old ace then struck out David Adams and yelled at himself repeatedly as he walked to the dugout.
"He's an ultimate competitor. He's an animal out there," Wright said. "I wish we could score some more runs while he's out there and get him some wins, because he deserves it."
Moments later, Gardner raced back and extended his arm just in time to catch Murphy's drive to deep left-center. Gardner's right shoulder slammed into the fence but he held onto the ball, denying Murphy a key extra-base hit for the second consecutive night.
In the series opener, Gardner robbed Murphy of a home run with a leaping catch in left-center -- also in the sixth inning with a runner on. Murphy got the last laugh, though, with a tiebreaking single in the eighth for a 2-1 Mets win.
Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected during an animated argument after Ruben Tejada was picked off second base to end the sixth. Second base umpire Adrian Johnson initially signaled safe, then changed his call -- correctly, it appeared.
An angry Collins waved his arms about and kicked first base before finally returning to the dugout.
"It fired me up," Harvey said. "I just had that gut feeling we were going to pull it out in the ninth."
The start was delayed 91 minutes by steady showers, thinning a crowd of 31,877 that entire full sections of seats nearly empty.
Harvey was hit behind his left elbow by Ichiro Suzuki's liner in the seventh but threw him out anyway. A trainer and two coaches came out to check on the Mets' prized right-hander, who impatiently waved them off and worked a 1-2-3 inning.
Slumping Mets 1B Ike Davis was dropped to eighth in the lineup for the first time in his career. ... Collins said Duda will be the DH at least one of the next two days at Yankee Stadium. ... Gooden, along with fellow Mets greats Darryl Strawberry and John Franco, will play in the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game on July 14 as part of All-Star festivities at Citi Field. "It will be a lot of fun," Gooden said.