|Hit number 3, 305 in progress.|
The Yankees are 1-0 with Derek Jeter back in the pinstripes. And it may stay that way for a while. The Yankees rallied from a 3-0 deficit to the KC Royals Thursday afternoon and pulled out an 8-4 victory. The win gain a split of the four game series after the Yankees dropped the first two. Jeter picked up his first hit, an infield single on the first pitch he saw from Royals' starter Ervin Santana, his first RBI, and his first run scored of the season. And then he picked up his first tight quad.
Jeter, who DH'ed and batted second, left the game after a 1-4 day and headed for an MRI machine. His status for this weekend's series with Minnesota depends on the results of the MRI and how the Captain is feeling.
It was the only thing that put a damper on the day. With Brett Gardner sore after being hit with a baseball Wednesday night and Travis Hafner hurting, because he's Travis Hafter, Jeter came to the Bronx one day earlier than expected.
Eduardo Nunez started at shortstop and of course had to make an error in front of his unofficial mentor. Andy Pettitte struggled through another start, but battled long enough to pick up his 252nd career win, good enough for 44th place on the all time Major League wins list. He put his team in a 3-0 hole in the first inning, but Jeter and the boys struck back quickly.
The crowd was sparse for an afternoon, non-divisional affair, so the ovation when Jeter stepped into the batters' box was not as loud or as long as you would have expected. Then again, most fans did not know Jeter would be playing on Thursday. Any nerves he may of had were channeled through that first swing that resulted in a dribbler inside the third base foul line. Veteran infielder Miguel Tejada tried to make a bare hand grab, but couldn't come up and Jeter raced to first with career hit #3,305.
Joe Girardi called for a hit and run, and Robinson Cano came through with a single to center that sent Jeter to third. Vernon Wells' sac fly brought him home for the Yankees first run of the day.
The Royals bounced right on Pettitte for another run and a 4-1 lead in the top of the 2nd, but the Yankees came right back with two of their own. Austin Romine (double) and Ichiro Suzuki (single) provided the two out RBI hits before Jeter grounded out to end the inning.
The Yankees pounded Santana in the 5th to take control of the game. Ichiro drew a one-out walk, stole second, and moved to third on Jeter's ground out. The Royals elected to intentionally walk Robinson Cano, but Santana then walked Wells to load the bases. Lyle Overbay hit a grand slam in the same situation Wedesday night, and delivered again, this time with a 2-run single. Nunez and Zoilo Almonte added RBI singles, before Almonte got thrown out at third to end the inning.
Girardi pulled Pettitte with two outs in the top of the 6th to keep him out of further trouble and the pen was magnificent, especially Shawn Kelley and David Robertson, who combined for five strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
Jeter got his final at-bat of the day and hit another grounder, but this one knocked in the Yankees' eighth run of the day.