National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright denied he intentionally served up Derek Jeter’s first-inning double Tuesday night, after the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander suggested he gave the New York Yankees star a good pitch to hit in his final All-Star Game.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Wainwright told the assembled media: "I was going to give him a couple pipe shots. He deserved it."
Wainwright later said he felt "terrible" and that he didn’t want to take away from Jeter’s first-inning hit.
"It was mis-said," Wainwright told FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews in an in-game interview. "I made a mistake on that. I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving up hits out there."
When told of Wainwright’s comments after the game, Jeter laughed it off.
"If he grooved it, thank you," Jeter said. "Still gotta hit it. So I appreciate it if that’s what he did. Thank you."
Wainwright, who spoke the day before about how proud he would be to pitch to Jeter on this memorable occasion, backed up toward second base when Jeter was announced and left his glove on the mound so he could clap along with everyone else at the ballpark.
"For him to do that meant a lot to me," Jeter said.
With a wide smile, Jeter shouted a few words toward the St. Louis ace, good-naturedly encouraging him to get the inning going.
"Just saying, ‘Dude, I’m not going anywhere until this ovation is starting to die down,’" Wainwright said. "So he was telling me to go, and I just thought he deserved it."
Then two pitches later came the double, one of Jeter’s classic, opposite-field line drives to right. He singled to right field in his next at-bat, too, raising his All-Star batting average to a robust .481 – 13 hits in 27 at-bats. That’s the second-best of all time for players with 20 or more at-bats, behind Charlie Gehringer.
The American League All-Stars made sure Jeter went out a winner with a 5-3 victory.