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Derek Jeter homers for 3,000th hit, goes 5-for-5 in win
First Yankee to achieve feat
After connecting on a 78 mph curveball to tie the score at 1, Jeter remembered to honor his opponents. He pointed at Price while many of the Rays applauded the accomplishment, some of them coming out of the dugout to cheer. Price later took a brief break and went to the bench.
Fans kept chanting and cheering throughout a celebration that lasted 4 minutes, and Jeter montages filled the videoboard for the next couple of innings.
Far away, the tributes began. At the All-Star game festivities in Phoenix, fans crowded around televisions to watch Jeter’s postgame interview.
“Only Jeet. Everything’s like that with him,” his former teammate said. “He always comes up dramatic, doesn’t he? It’s awesome.”
Tony Gwynn, another member of the 3,000 club, also was at Dodger Stadium when Jeter homered.
“The only time I ever said anything to him about hitting was when he came up to me during Game 1 of the World Series in New York in ‘98,” the former Padres star said. “I was standing on second base and he said: ‘Man you need to teach me how to hit.’ And I said: ‘Yeah, right. You’re kidding me, right?”
Having grounded a leadoff single to left field in the first inning — much like his first career hit on May 30, 1995, against Seattle’s Tim Belcher at the old Kingdome — Jeter achieved the milestone in his next at-bat.
Jeter casually chatted with Rays catcher John Jaso when he came to the plate, fouled off a couple of full-count deliveries and homered on Price’s eighth pitch. Jeter, in fact, homered when the future All-Star lefty made his major league debut in 2008.
He doubled to left his next time up in the fifth inning for No. 3,001, breaking a tie with Roberto Clemente. He showed off his Jeterian, inside-out swing to right-center for a single in the sixth.
Jeter was the first big leaguer to get 3,000 since Craig Biggio in 2007, who reached it with his third hit in a five-hit effort.
Rafael Palmeiro, Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken were the previous players to get there.
But Jeter has been slowing down. He came into the game hitting only .257 with just two home runs, and recently pulled out of his 12th All-Star game to rest the strained right calf that recently landed him on the disabled list.
“I really don’t worry about my age too much,” he said.
By John R. Bolton
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