Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jeter's Hit Big Boost for Yanks

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jeter's Hit Big Boost for Yanks

Article excerpt

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Winless for more than a week, the Yankees - in a desert march in search of runs - had much riding on Derek Jeter's ninth-inning at-bat Saturday.

The captain hadn't executed Plan A in a tie game, failing to sacrifice Brett Gardner to third base with none out.

But Jeter still had a strike left. And in his final season, Jeter still possesses what manager Joe Girardi termed "the ability to relax in a big moment."

"I've always liked to be in those situations," Jeter said, though "it doesn't mean I'm going to succeed."

On a 2-2 fastball that registered 99 mph from Rays lefty closer Jake McGee, Jeter lashed a single that scored Gardner and boosted the Yanks' flagging spirits.

The Tropicana Field roared with such approval, you would have thought the designated hitter's single came in the Bronx.

"It's so exciting to see Jeter come through like he always does," said Martin Prado, whose two-run homer contributed to a 3-2 win that snapped a five-game Yankees losing streak.

"An all-around good day," Girardi said in the visiting manager's office, where the clubhouse music could be heard thumping for the first time since Aug. 8.

Rookie right-hander Shane Greene had turned in a solid six innings, only to receive a no-decision, though Shawn Kelley rebounded from a nightmarish loss Wednesday at Baltimore and Dellin Betances (5-0) and David Robertson (32nd save) finished up.

Inside a giddy, relieved clubhouse, the Yankees (62-59) also could overlook a defensive miscue that led to the tying run in the seventh and some tough math - just 10 runs total since their previous win, 10-6, Aug. 8, against Cleveland.

"I know you have to write that story, but for us, every day you come in you've got to be optimistic," said Jeter, whose club is seven games behind AL East-leading Baltimore and four games back in the race for the second wild card. …

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