Jeter steals the show in win over Rays

Something tells me we’re going to see a whole lot of this game on Yankees Classic in the future. Derek Jeter became the 28th man to pick up 3,000 career hits in the most improbable fashion, belting his third homer of the season and his first outside-the-park homer at Yankee Stadium since last June. The Yankees won, but that’s almost secondary.

Everyone knew it was gone.

2,999

The crowd was on their feet before he even left the on-deck circle. Jeter was still two hits away from the milestone, but he had to get number 2,999 out of the way before he could move on to bigger and better things. David Price went right after Derek to start the game, pumping fastball after fastball after fastball to lead off the first. The first few were 93, then it was all 95+ after that. Jeter worked the count full and fouled two pitches off, and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat he grounded a little seeing-eye single through the left side. The Yankees didn’t score in the inning but that was just a little sidebar, the Cap’n was just one hit away from history.

3,000

Uh, his day wasn't THAT good, CNN.

It could have come at any time, on any pitch. We could have had to wait all afternoon, all weekend, until after the All-Star break, but thankfully we didn’t. The Yankees were down a run in the third inning when Jeter came up for the second time, but this time Price tried to mix things up. A first pitch fastball was wide for a ball, a second pitch changeup swung over for strike one. Derek took another fastball for a ball, fouled off a changeup, took a slider for ball, fouled off a fastball, and fouled off another changeup.

The eight pitch of the at-bat was a hanging curveball and Jeter didn’t miss it. It was a no-doubt hit off the bat, the only question was where it would land. In the gap? Off the wall? Over the fence? Nothing of it would have surprised us a moment after contact. As fate would have it, the ball cleared the fence by a plenty, landing in the first row of the left field bleachers in the hands of Mr. Christian Lopez, a 23-year-old cell phone salesman from Middletown, New York, who was only at the game because his girlfriend got him the tickets a few weeks earlier.

Jeter rounded the bases as the crowd cheered and chanted his name, and he was greeted at the plate first by Jorge Posada and then Mariano Rivera. Former Yankee Johnny Damon and the rest of the Rays came out of the dugout to applaud as Jeter hugged teammates and waved to his family, a celebration that lasted a good five minutes after the ball left the bat. Jeter had achieved immortality and as a nice little fringe benefit, he tied the game at one.

As for young mister Lopez, he was whisked away by security and offered the ball back to Jeter for the low, low price of free. He asked for nothing, but the Yankees rewarded him anyway. He’ll sit in the Legends Seats tomorrow and receive four Championship Level tickets to each game for the rest of the season, playoffs included. That’s on top of all the signed bats and balls and what not. Not a bad haul for the young man, and not a bad first three innings for Jeter.

Starting Another Rally

The Rays regained the lead and were up by one the next time Jeter came to the plate, leading off the fifth inning. Price’s pitch count was already at 92 when Derek jumped on a first pitch curveball and drove it into left for the leadoff double. Just like that, he was 3-for-3 with two extra base hits. Curtis Granderson singled him in one batter later, and the Yankees took the lead on Robinson Cano‘s sacrifice fly two batters after that.

The Fourth One Is For Show

The Yankees were nursing that 4-3 lead when Jeter came up in the sixth inning, this time against righty reliever Brandon Gomes. The rookie gave Derek two fastballs with Brett Gardner on the first, the second of which he slashed through the right side for a single. It was a vintage Derek Jeter hit, that same inside-out swing he’s used for a decade-and-a-half now. The Yankees didn’t score in the inning but Jeter had four hits (and counting).

Ballgame.

Game Winner

Eduardo Nunez did a bang-up job filling in for Jeter while he was on the disabled list with his calf injury, but this game was not an either/or proposition. Both players were in the lineup, and they combined to give the Yankees back the lead in the eighth inning. Nunez led off the inning by doubling down the line into the left field corner (his helmet popped off while running, naturally), then Gardner bunted him over to third. Jeter was up and the infield was in.

Derek was already the star of the day regardless of what happened from that point on, but 4-for-4 wasn’t enough. Joel Peralta gave him a first pitch fastball for a called strike, then he went splitter, splitter, splitter. Jeter responded by taking for a ball, swinging for a strike, and singling back up the middle, respectively. His fifth hit of the day was a little bleeder through the drawn in infield, bringing in Nunez for what proved to be the game-winning run. It was the first five-hit game by any player in the New Yankee Stadium and the third five-hit effort of Jeter’s career, the last coming against this same Tampa Bay franchise in 2005. We’re always going to remember that homer, the milestone blast, but it was this final hit that decided the game.

Curtis was wincing a pain a bit after crashing into the wall.

Leftovers

Oh by the way, some other players played in this game as well. A.J. Burnett was getting swings and misses like they were going out of style (16 in 89 pitches, 18%) during his 5.2 IP of work, striking out nine. Just 11 of the 23 men he faced put the ball in play, but two of those balls in play were homeruns. The first was a monster solo shot by Matt Joyce into the suite level in right, the second a two-run oppo bomb by B.J. Upton. The nine strikeouts were Burnett’s most since September 23rd of 2009, when he fanned eleven Angels. His stuff has looked especially nasty in his last two or three outings, but he’s still prone to that one big mistake.

Boone Logan and Cory Wade each retired two batters before David Robertson blew the one-run lead in the eighth. He’s done a great job of wiggling out of jams, but pitching around a Damon leadoff triple (assisted by Granderson slipping on the warning track) was just too much to ask. Ben Zobrist singled to the tie the game, but otherwise Robertson pitched out of the inning. Mo was perfect in the ninth, retiring the side on just eleven pitches.

The Yankees really worked Price hard in this one, knocking him out after just five innings. He threw 19 pitches in the first, 25 pitches in the second, 33 pitches in the third, 19 pitches in the fourth, and 16 pitches in the fifth for a total of 112. Granderson had the single and walk, Mark Teixiera two hits and a walk, and Russell Martin a hit and two walks. Andruw Jones and Gardner chipped in walks and Nunez had the double. Cano did not reach base but got hit by a pitch and had the sac fly. Jeter and Gardner also stole bases, one each.

For the first time since May of 2009, Jeter has an extra base hit in four consecutive games. He’s gone 9-for-23 (.391) with four doubles and a homer since coming off the disabled list, and it seems like he’s swinging the bat way better than he did before the injury. Derek mentioned after the game that he worked on staying back while on rehab, so maybe that did it. I really don’t care what it is, but I’m enjoying this vintage 1999 model of the Cap’n.

The win is just the Yankees’ second in their last six games, but it’s also their 13th in their last 19 games. Sunday’s game would be a fine one to win so that we can all head into the All-Star break feeling good about where the team sits.

WPA Graph & Box Score

All Jeter, all the time. MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs whatever else your heart desires.

Up Next

CC Sabathia will start the rubber game of this makeshift three-game series a little later today. Jamie Shields gets the ball for Tampa. If you want to head out to the Stadium, RAB Tickets can get you there on the cheap.

Laird, Parraz have big days as SWB plays two

Sorry folks, but eight games on a Saturday night are just way too many for a detailed recap…

  • Triple-A Scranton Game One (win). Greg Golson, Terry Tiffee, and Brandon Laird each had two hits, and one of Laird’s was a double. Jordan Parraz had three hits including a double. D.J. Mitchell went the distance with seven scoreless innings, striking out five and walking just two. Still no Jesus Montero, he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday.
  • Triple-A Scranton Game Two (win). Jorge Vazquez doubled and Laird homered. Parraz had two more hits as well, dude’s on an absolute tear. Greg Smith put eleven men on base in four innings and allowed four runs.
  • Double-A Trenton (loss). Melky Mesa was a triple shy of the cycle, and Jose Pirela also had two hits. Rob Lyerly doubled. Shaeffer Hall gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and Chase Whitely took the loss after surrendering two runs in as many innings. Alan Horne retired the two batters he faced. Austin Romine is away from the team temporary for the Futures Game.
  • High-A Tampa Game One (win). Abe Almonte had two hits including a solo homer. Luke Murton and J.R. Murphy both had a pair of hits, and both of Murphy’s were two-baggers. Brett Marshall walked one and struck out six in five innings, giving up one run on just two hits. Dan Burawa and Ryan Flannery each cheaped in scoreless innings.
  • Short Season Staten Island (won). Mason Williams and Cito Culver each went hitless, But Angelo Gumbs, Reymond Nunez, and Bobby Rinard each had two knocks. One of Gumbs’ was a triple. Bryan Mitchell struck out four in as many innings, allowing just one run. Brett Garritse and Ben Paullus each threw two scoreless, and Branden Pinder closed it out for save number six.
  • Rookie GCL Yankees Game One (loss). Claudio Custodio had two hits including a double, Ravel Santana tripled, Tyler Austin had two singles, and Dante Bichette Jr. had a single and a walk. Evan Rutckyj allowed three runs in two innings yesterday, before the game was suspended. Graham Stoneburner threw 5.1 innings today, allowing six runs (four earned) with no walks, one strikeout, and a 10-3 GB/FB.
  • Rookie GCL Yankees Game Two (loss). Custodio had a single and Austin had two. Bichette and Justin James both went hitless. Zach Varce pitched two scoreless as he works his way back from injury. Reynaldo Polanco followed him by allowing three runs (all unearned) in four innings.

Game two of High-A Tampa‘s doubleheader is tied at five and in extra innings. Here’s the box score. Low-A Charleston was rained out and will play two tomorrow.

Open Thread: 3,000

Is this real life? Did that really just happen? This was a movie script, not a baseball game. Derek Jeter wasn’t supposed to turn back the clock and pull a ball into the left field bleachers for his 3,000th career hit. He wasn’t supposed to go 5-for-5 with the game-winning hit. This was vintage Derek Jeter, the guy that dominated the game for a decade and is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer. The best game of the season? That’s not even a question, this was the best game in the history of the New Yankee Stadium. Congrats to Derek, the greatest Yankee of my generation.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s video of the milestone hit. Un. Be. Leviable. This is why I love being a Yankees fan.

A-Rod has slight meniscus tear in right knee

Update (6:31pm): Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees have recommended surgery and Alex is leaning that way, though the second opinion is still to come.

Update (4:57pm): Via Marc Carig, A-Rod will go for a second opinion tomorrow before deciding on surgery.

Original Post (1019am): Via Danny Knobler and Joel Sherman, Alex Rodriguez has a slight meniscus tear in his right knee. There are two courses of action: play through it and have surgery at the end of the year, or have surgery now. Joe Girardi said that no decision has been made yet, but it’s up to A-Rod. CC Sabathia pitched through the same injury last year and had offseason surgery, but he only played once every five days. In-season surgery would keep Alex on the shelf for a month or so.

No one asked me, but if I’m A-Rod, I’d have the surgery now and get healthy for the stretch run and playoffs. I think two-plus months of him at 100% is better than three months of him at what, 50%? 75%? Who knows, but less than 100%.

The Biggest Ball

I just wanted to use this.

Congratulations! You’ve just caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit! It was a home run into the left field stands and despite your slightly drunken coordination and hysteria, you got your hands around it. You fought off that ugly chick next to you and the nerdy-looking guy typing on his smuggled iPad (he muttered something about a war…) to keep it. It’s got a shiny hologram and looks slightly used and everything. There’s no question that, for a Yankees fan, there are fewer greater souvenirs. And given Jeter’s reputation, that ball is worth quite a bit of money.
You’ve got Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. What do you do with it?

I guess you can break it down into two categories. You can either keep it, which I’ll get to in a bit, or give it back to the Yankees. Personally, I would give it back to the Yankees. It would be cool to have, but something like that – well, wouldn’t you want someone to give you back your 3000th hit? I’d be pretty annoyed if some jerk kept it in his bookcase. So, you’ve decided to give it back to the Yankees. What do you ask for? Are you as noble as Christian Lopez, the guy who actually caught the ball, and ask for nothing? Tickets? Signed memorabilia? Dinner with the captain himself? Tickets? Legends seats all year, or two or three years, would be pretty good. I don’t think asking for straight cash is a good idea. If you were looking for only money, you could probably get way more cash on eBay.

Maybe you don’t want to give it to the Yankees, or you have an entirely unreasonable demand. You demand that in order to give the ball back, the Yankees have to fire Girardi, release A.J. Burnett, and trade for Barry Zito. You refuse to give the ball to anyone else until you see Barry Zito out there on the mound in the Bronx in pinstripes. I’m pretty sure, at that point, they’ll just let you keep it. Do you keep the ball on your mantle forever? What do you do with it with you die? Donate it to Cooperstown? Your kid(s)? To Derek? Would it just mysteriously remain in your estate?

Do you sell it? Admittedly, I think if you sell Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit than you’re not the best fan you could be. An item like that baseball is worth more than money. That baseball is worth yours (or my) childhood. All those moments you that you watched TV under the covers and yelled at Brett Gardner for running like an idiot and threw your remote at the wall and put your foot through the TV – that’s what that baseball means. I suppose you could sell the ball (rumored to be worth approximately $140,000) and then use the money for tickets or a jersey or two or something, but I still think that’s a stretch. Do you sell it on eBay? Craigslist? Really?

Obviously, I don’t fall into most usual girl stereotypes, but I’m pretty sure this decision would basically tear me apart. And you have to make it during the game! While the game was going on! With Hal Steinbrenner on the phone near you! Maybe if you’ve been a Yankees fan for the past 50 years, this is a smaller moment and the baseball means less, but my first year of Yankee-dom was 1995, so Derek Jeter is pretty closely wound into my childhood. I think what would happen is that I would probably keep it for the game, but feel bad and call Yankee Stadium back and try to figure out what to get for it. Legends tickets and a whole bunch of memorabilia sounds cool.

Anyway. Go Derek Jeter. Yay.

Game 87: Flirting with 3,000

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Mr. Mystery via Creative Commons license)

Two hits away, that’s it. I was supposed to be in the stands last night but Mother Nature really screwed me over on that one. For shame. Here’s the lineup…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Jorge Posada, DH
Andruw Jones, RF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Brett Gardner, LF

A.J. Burnett, SP

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET, and you’ll be able to watch on YES. Enjoy.

Two losses and a lot of rain

D.J. Mitchell makes an appearance in the In The Team Photo section of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. They say he “doesn’t get as much attention as some of his teammates, but his feel for pitching and changeup mean he’ll probably be a useful middle reliever someday.”

Double-A Trenton (6-1 loss to Reading)
Ray Kruml, LF 3 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B – threw a runner out at second … 16 for his last 40 (.400)
Corban Joseph, 2B: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K – 11 for his last 36 (.306) with three doubles and a homer
Austin Romine, C, Cody Johnson, DH & Rob Lyerly, 1B: all 1 for 4 – Romine and Johnson struck out once, Lyerly twice … Romine also allowed a passed ball
Bradley Suttle, 3B, Jose Pirela, SS & Melky Mesa, CF: all 0 for 4 – Pirela struck out once, Suttle twice … Suttle committed a fielding error, Pirela a throwing error
Damon Sublett, LF: 0 for 3, 1 K
Manny Banuelos, LHP: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2 HB, 5-3 GB/FB – control Manny! control! work on that control!
Cory Arbiso, RHP: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Josh Romanski, LHP: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-3 GB/FB
Brad Halsey, LHP: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 3-0 GB/FB

Low-A Charleston (6-5 loss to Delmarva)
Jose Toussen, CF: 3 for 5, 1 R – four walks and just three strikeouts in his last nine games
Anderson Feliz, 2B: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K – just over the Mendoza line at .201
Kevin Mahoney, 3B: 0 for 5, 3 K
Gary Sanchez, C: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 PB – second straight day with a homer and his third in ten games
Ramon Flores, LF: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – 16 for his last 43 (.372) with three doubles and the homer
Kelvin DeLeon, DH: 0 for 5
Jeff Farnham, 1B: 1 for 4, 1 R
Mike Ferraro, RF: 3 for 4, 1 2B – threw a runner out at first
Jose Mojica, SS: 0 for 4
Jose Ramirez, RHP: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 4-4 GB/FB, 1 E (missed catch) – disappointing
Nathan Forer, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB
Tommy Kahnle, RHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K – 68 strikeouts and 34 walks in 52 IP
Yobanny Reyes, LHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 3-2 GB/FB

Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, and Short Season Staten Island were all rained out. The Rookie GCL Yankees had their game suspended due to rain in the third inning. Here’s that box score. All of these games will be made up a later date, some tomorrow, some at another point in the future.