BOSTON – Derek Jeter doesn’t want to miss even one inning of the New York Yankees’ playoff push.
Jeter pulled up lame after lunging for first base on his double-play groundout to end the eighth inning of New York’s 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. Manager Joe Girardi had to talk him into coming out of the game, but Jeter said he would be back in the lineup when they try to hold on to first place in the AL East again Thursday.
“It’s really not a thing,” Jeter told reporters, refusing to confirm any details about the injury. “They just said, ‘Put ice on it (and) come back tomorrow.’ “
A day after Jacoby Ellsbury’s game-ending single dropped New York into a tie with Baltimore atop the division, the Yankees got all their runs on homers to remain there. Curtis Granderson hit two home runs, and Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees.
The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night, preserving the tie and dropping the Rays three games back in the division.
“It’s playoff baseball,” Girardi said. “You’re playing in the playoffs right now. That’s the way it is for us.”
Jeter had two hits to raise his batting average to .325, which is third in the AL. With one out and runners on first and third in the eighth, he hit a grounder to second base and ran down the first-base line to try to beat the relay throw from the shortstop.
Stretching for the base — too late to beat the throw — Jeter began limping on his left leg as he continued down the first-base line into right field. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue rushed out to help him and Jeter tried to wave them off, but the manager overruled him.
“I said, ‘We’re going to sit you out,’ ” Girardi told reporters, adding that Jeter had aggravated a previous injury. “It’s not that serious. It’s something we have to be aware of. But hopefully he’s OK.”
Girardi described the injury as a bone bruise, but Jeter called it a sprained ankle before becoming even more vague.
“Lower leg,” he said.
David Phelps (4-4) gave up one run on five hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 37th save, but not before allowing a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the ninth, followed by a fly ball that left fielder Chris Dickerson caught at the base of the Green Monster.
Mauro Gomez grounded out meekly to second base for the second out, then Soriano misplayed Mike Aviles’ chopper to extend the game. But Ellsbury followed with another chopper and Soriano gloved it, throwing to first for the final out.
“He hit the ball good. It just wound up in (Soriano’s) glove,” said Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine, who was ejected for arguing a called third strike to Cody Ross in the eighth and wasn’t around to see the team lose for the 12th time in 14 games.
The matchup of longtime division foes lacked much of the intensity that had characterized their rivalry in the past decade, gaining life only at the end after Valentine was ejected — along with Ross and third-base coach Jerry Royster.
Granderson led off the fourth with a homer and, after Alex Rodriguez singled, Cano followed with his 30th home run to make it 3-0. Granderson homered again in the seventh inning after Jeter singled to make it 5-1.
NOTES: The Red Sox activated RHP Scott Atchison (right elbow strain) from the 60-day disabled list and transferred LHP Franklin Morales (left shoulder inflammation) to the 60-day DL.