- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 12, 2009

NEW YORK | Derek Jeter on Friday night broke the New York Yankees’ hit record, held by Lou Gehrig for more than seven decades, by pushing a single to right field in the third inning.

That gave Jeter 2,722 hits - one more than Gehrig, whose Hall of Fame career was cut short by illness in 1939.

Jeter’s record-breaking hit was remarkably similar to the one that tied Gehrig on Wednesday night, a sharp grounder inside the first-base line. After this one, Yankees players poured out of the dugout and engulfed Jeter at first base with hugs and pats on the back.

“For those who say today’s game can’t produce legendary players, I have two words: Derek Jeter. Game in and game out he just produces,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement.

The rain-soaked crowd roared during an ovation that lasted about three minutes. Fans chanted Jeter’s name, and the ball was taken out of play as a souvenir. Jeter spread his arms wide after rounding first base and gave an emphatic clap as he headed back to the bag.

He was still smiling moments later when Orioles rookie Chris Tillman tried to pick him off first. Jeter easily beat the throw and flashed a playful grin.

When the ball got past diving first baseman Luke Scott, Jeter’s parents raised their arms in excitement. Joining them in an upstairs box filled with family and friends were his sister and his steady girlfriend, actress Minka Kelly.

Jeter tied Gehrig’s mark Wednesday, snapping an 0-for-12 slump with three hits against Tampa Bay. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat Friday and added an RBI single in the fourth inning.

Gehrig’s final hit came April 29, 1939, a single against the Washington Senators. The “Iron Horse” had held the club record since Sept. 6, 1937, when he passed Babe Ruth. Gehrig’s career ended suddenly in 1939. Two years later, he died at 37 from the disease that would later bear his name.

Jeter got his first hit May 30, 1995, at Seattle and set the Yankees mark with 14 seasons of splendid consistency. His two singles Friday gave him 1,363 hits at home and 1,360 on the road.

The game, which ended too late for this edition, was delayed 87 minutes by rain.

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