The only way his 3,000th hit would have felt right to Derek Jeter was if it came in a game the Yankees won. So, as with everything else Saturday, he took care of that himself.
Jeter homered for hit No. 3,000 and raced right past the milestone in a scintillating performance, going 5-for-5 with a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning that gave New York a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
“It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost. So that was going through my head in my last at-bat today,” Jeter said. “If we didn’t win, it definitely would have put a damper on things.”
Jeter doubled and had three singles while starting a pair of Yankees rallies and finishing off their last one. He bounced a single through the left side his first time up to give him No. 2,999, then sent a no-doubt drive deep into the left-field bleachers off Rays ace David Price in the third inning.
That made Jeter the 28th major leaguer to get 3,000 hits, one of baseball’s most exclusive milestones, and the first to do it with the Yankees. Former teammate Wade Boggs was the only other player to reach the plateau with a homer.
The game was held up for 4 minutes, and Jeter also acknowledged the Tampa Bay players who applauded.
“I don’t think you can script it any better. This is already movie-ready,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s just remarkable the day that he had.”
Christian Lopez, a former lineman at St. Lawrence University in New York, recovered the ball from Jeter’s 3,000th hit. He gave the ball to Jeter in exchage for season tickets and other gifts.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a slight tear in his right knee. He could try to play through it, or have surgery and miss perhaps a month. … The Braves placed third baseman Chipper Jones on the 15-day DL with a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. He is likely to miss two to three weeks. … Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is out for the All-Star Game (strained left calf) and his spot will be filled by Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said ex-Mariners pitcher J.J. Putz will retain his closer role when he returns from the DL because of tendinitis. … The Dodgers reportedly fired former star Steve Garvey from his community relations job for his attempts to buy the team that he helped win the 1981 World Series. … Funeral services will be held Monday for Shannon Stone, who died less than an hour after he tumbled headfirst over a rail out of the seats in left field at a Rangers game Thursday. … White Sox catcher Ramon Castro broke his right hand while trying to catch a pitch in the eighth inning against the Twins. … Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz apologized for charging and swinging at Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg on Friday. … White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham apologized for jokingly writing a message in the infield dirt Monday calling friend and ex-teammate Chris Getz of the Royals gay.