|Date of game: 9/25/2014
Recap: NY Yankees vs. Baltimore
Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Derek Jeter, naturally, knocked in the winning run in storybook walk-off fashion Thursday in the future Hall-of-Famer's final game at Yankee Stadium.
The ever-dramatic Jeter stepped to the plate with a runner on second in the ninth inning and laced a patented opposite-field single through the hole between first and second base.
Antoan Richardson slid in safely in front of Nick Markakis' throw, and the Yankees swarmed Jeter to celebrate the poetic 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Jeter knocked in a pair prior to the ninth, including the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead.
David Robertson, however, blew the lead in the ninth by surrendering a two-run homer to Adam Jones and a two-out solo blast to Steve Pearce.
That set up the fitting home half, which began with Jose Pirela greeting Evan Meek (0-4) with a base hit. Richardson pinch-ran for Pirela and had enough speed to beat Markakis' throw from shallow right.
Jeter's family, former teammates Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, as well as his longtime manager Joe Torre, joined in for the postgame revelry on the field.
After the game, Jeter reflected on his career.
"Every single day I went out there and played as hard as I possibly could. I did it here in New York, which I think is much more difficult to do," he mused. "I'm happy for that."
Flashes were plenty as the sold-out crowd snapped pictures for a keepsake of Jeter in his final appearance in Yankees pinstripes.
Showing uncommon self-awareness through what was surely an emotional night, Jeter often broke into smiles and showed his thanks for the appreciative fans he entertained for 20 winning years.
The five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star showed his age with an error in the second inning, but it was Baltimore's mistakes in the seventh that helped decide the outcome.
Stephen Drew struck out leading off but reached first when the third strike went to the backstop. Ichiro Suzuki drew a walk and Pirela beat out a bunt to load the bases.
Ryan Webb was called in to face Jeter following a force out at the plate, and Jeter hit a bouncer to short that J.J. Hardy threw into right field, allowing two runs to score.
Brian McCann tacked on a sacrifice fly, and with fans chanting his name the entire top of the ninth, the usually-stoic Jeter fought off tears as he watched Robertson (4-5) waste a brilliant start from Hiroki Kuroda.
"I think I've done a pretty good job of controlling my emotions throughout the course of my career. I've tried to hide them," Jeter said. "Today I wasn't able to do it."
Kuroda, who is expected to retire at the end of the year, set down the final 16 batters he faced. The 39-year-old righty allowed back-to-back homers to start the game but settled in and struck out nine over eight innings.
Thursday was a first for Jeter in that he had never played a home game with the Yankees already eliminated from postseason contention. Baltimore's win on Wednesday ended any chance New York had at making the playoffs.
The win, however, gave the Yankees 82 on the year for 22 straight winning seasons.
A video was shown before the game of New Yorkers bidding farewell to Jeter, who took the field himself prior to the first pitch to a standing ovation -- the first of many on the bittersweet evening.
"When you hear those things...those are the times you get very emotional," Jeter said.
The excitement was quelled a bit when Nick Markakis hit a leadoff home run, and it appeared the Orioles were more than ready to spoil the party when Alejandro De Aza followed with a homer of his own.
"It was cool," Jones said of the atmosphere. "But we wanted to win the game."
But Jeter made sure the night was a success with an RBI double off Kevin Gausman in his first at-bat. Brett Gardner led off the home first with a single and never stopped running as Jeter got good wood on a 3-1 pitch and sent one off the wall in left-center.
Jeter moved up a base on a wild pitch and scored the tying run when McCann grounded into the shift and reached on Kelly Johnson's error.Game Notes
Gausman, who was 4 years old when Jeter made his big-league debut in 1995,
gave up two runs on three hits in his five-inning start ... Kuroda, if he
retires, would finish his MLB career with a 79-79 record ... New York ends
the season with three games against the Red Sox in Boston. Jeter said he would
DH but not play shortstop again... The Orioles were 26-0 when hitting three or
more home runs ... Baltimore ends its regular season with three road games
against Toronto ... Baltimore split the four-game series and went 13-6 against
the Yankees this season -- its first winning record against them since 1997.