No slouch of a stopper himself, Nathan has 328 saves for Minnesota, Texas and San Francisco in a 13-year career. He has 30 this season — the same as Mo.
But everyone in the bullpen was ready to defer to Rivera on this night.
The six-time All-Star struck out Matt Carpenter looking and Andrew McCutchen swinging before Paul Goldschmidt doubled. Nathan then retired fellow New York native Pedro Alvarez on a popup to second base.
After the final out, Nathan got the game ball but he knew it didn't belong to him. He gave it to Mo.
"No brainer. I wanted it, but I wanted to give it to him more," Nathan said. "Outstanding to be able to hand the ball over to him. No secret how much I look up to him and to be able to do that for him was awesome."
BACK IN A NEW YORK GROOVE? Carlos Beltran broke free from a crowd and gave New York Mets manager Terry Collins a big hug.
"My man!" said Collins, one of the National League coaches.
Enjoying another fine season for St. Louis, the 36-year-old Beltran was back at Citi Field after spending 6½ seasons with the Mets from 2005-11. He signed a $119 million, seven-year contract to come to New York and put up some big numbers when healthy.
In the final year of his deal, he was traded to San Francisco for elite pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, off to a promising start in his first five major league outings this season.
"When I got traded from here, I wasn't hurt. I was having a good year for the Mets. But at the end of the day, I knew that it was going to be time for the team to try to move me and I understood that," Beltran said.