Derek Jeter not only got the 3,000th hit of his Hall of Fame career on Sunday, but the New York Yankees captain turned the game into one of the best indivdual performance of his career, going 5-for-5 and driving in the game-winning run in the eighth inning as the Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4.
Jeter singled in the first inning off David Price for his 2,999th hit. He then homered deep into the left-center field bleachers off Price in the third inning for the milestone hit, setting off a wild celebration at Yankee Stadium. The home run was only his third of the season.
Jeter was just getting started, though, in what turned out to be a back-and-forth, tightly-played game,
He led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double into the left-field corner and scored on a Curtis Granderson base hit. In the sixth inning, he singled to right field.
In the eighth inning, Jeter stepped to the plate with the score tied, 4-4, and Eduardo Nunez on third base after Nunez doubled and moved to third on a Brett Gardner sacrifice bunt. Jeter drilled a base hit up the middle off Joel Peralta for the game-winning hit.
When Jeter homered for the 3,000th hit, the Yankee bench erupted, racing onto the field to greet him. The game was halted for several minutes. Jeter is the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits, and his 3,0003 hits now place him 27th all time. Only three players have gotten to 3,000 hits at a younger age.
Jeter is the first player to amass 3,000 hits as a Yankee.
Relief pitcher David Robertson got the win for New York, and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning for his 22nd save.
According to MLB.com, Jeter’s home run was caught by 23-year-old Christian Lopez. Lopez quickly agreed to return the ball to Jeter, and the Yankees announced that Lopez will be awarded four tickets to every Yankee home game the rest of the season.