For a whole career that seems like a fairy tale, why not a Hollywood ending for the hero’s last home game?
Derek Jeter hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th to win the game against Baltimore, 6-5. It couldn’t have been any different, right?
Hiroki Kuroda, possibly making his final MLB start, started the game off badly, giving up back-to-back HRs to the first two batters he faced. But then after that, he threw a one-hit shutout for eight innings.
Kuroda, 8 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks, 9 K. 3.71.
Meanwhile, the Yanks came back. In the bottom of the first, Gardner singled, and Jeter just missed a HR, doubling in Gardner. Jeter went to third on a WP and scored on an error to tie up the game.
In the seventh, Jeter came up with the bases loaded and hit a ground ball. In going for the force, the ball was thrown away and two runs scored. Error and RBI for Derek. Brian McCann then hit a SF to make it 5-2.
So to the 9th it went, and all seemed safe. Then things went crazy.
David Robertson gave up a walk, then got a strikeout.
Then he gave up a 2-run HR. 5-4.
Then a strikeout. With two out, I expected Girardi to pull Jeter to a standing ovation. Instead, he left Jeter in the game. Good thing, too.
For Robertson then coughed up the lead by giving up another HR. And it was to Steve Pearce (see my recent post, “You were saying?”).
Robertson (W, 4-5, 3.13) 1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 2 K.
So Jeter now had another Yankee Stadium at bat. More if the game went extras. He was third up in the bottom of the ninth.
Rookie Jose Pirela, in his third major league game, singled to start the bottom of the ninth. Antoan Richardson pinch-ran.
Everyone knew what would happen next. Gardner bunted Richardson over to set the stage for Jeter.
It seemed so scripted. But, why not a Hollywood ending for the hero’s last home game in a fairy-tale career?
Jeter singled in the winning run. Career hit #3463.
The win ensured a winning season. The Yanks are 82-77 with three games in Boston to go. It put them one up on Toronto for 2nd place in the AL East.
Jeter probably won’t play today (Friday). I’ll be shocked if he does, simply because of all the emotion of last night. He will never play SS again, saying that is one thing he wants to take out of his home farewell—his last game at SS. In fairness to the Boston fans who want to say goodbye, he will DH in Boston this weekend.
Is an encore (like a HR over the Green Monster in his final MLB at bat) in the cards?