Derek Jeter stood by his locker and smiled with satisfaction. He hit his 250th home run, and it helped the New York Yankees pick up a win. Over the Boston Red Sox.
”I always see all the time: He doesn’t hit home runs. Blah, blah, blah,” he said. ”I think it’s a lot. I’ll take it.”
Jeter hit a tying drive in the fifth inning, one of five solo home runs by the Yankees that backed Phil Hughes in Friday night’s lightning-filled 6-4 victory.
Willie Mays and Jeter are the only players with 3,000 hits, 250 homers, 300 steals and 1,200 RBIs.
”He’s an amazing player,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ”He’s 38 years old. He’s played 15 days in a row. There aren’t too many 38-year-old guys who play 15 days in a row.”
Nick Swisher connected twice as the Yankees won for the eighth time in 10 games. Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Jeter homered off Franklin Morales (3-4), and Swisher added another solo shot in the seventh against Clayton Mortensen. Jeter’s homer gave the Yankees 10 players with 10 or more this season, tying the club record set in 1998, and gave him double digits for the 16th time.
Swisher homered in the first, and Granderson and Martin connected during a three-pitch span in the second, just before a bolt of lightning flashed beyond center field and thunder cracked.
”The way the game started, man, it’s raining, two teams battling it up and the field’s getting all nasty – it just felt like a Yankee-Red Sox rivalry game,” Swisher said.
Hughes (12-10) survived his own throwing error that led to four unearned runs during a rainy third inning. Down 3-0, the Red Sox went ahead on Dustin Pedroia’s three-run homer, the 28th long ball off Hughes this year.
”We let Hughes off the hook. We had him on the ropes earlier: 77 pitches in four,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ”Hit some balls real early in the count and got him back in the game.”
Hughes had a curious outing, retiring 19 of 21 batters not counting the third inning. Throwing more changeups than he had in any four-five starts combined the rest of the year, he allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one.
Play turned as sloppy as the field in the third. Mike Aviles singled and Hughes threw Scott Podsednik’s potential double-play comebacker into center for an error that left runners at the corners. Pedro Ciriaco hit an RBI grounder, Jacoby Ellsbury walked and, with two outs, Pedroia hit a no-doubt drive to left – on his 29th birthday.
”I just didn’t get a grip on it,” Hughes said of the comebacker. ”Instead of doing the smart thing, just getting the out at first, I really wanted the double play and tried to throw it with basically a palm grip.”
David Robertson pitched the eighth, when Granderson ran down Pedroia’s one-on drive just in front of the wall in left-center, the deepest part of the ballpark. Rafael Soriano finished for his 30th save in 32 chances, completing a five-hitter.
New York, which has led the AL East since mid-June, improved to 7-3 against the Red Sox this season. Boston, outhomered 12-5 at Yankee Stadium this year, has not won consecutive games since Aug. 5-6.
”This is definitely a park where they hit a lot of home runs,” Carl Crawford said.
Morales gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He also allowed four home runs against the Yankees on July 7 – making him the first pitcher to allow four to them twice in a year since Ted Lyons of the Chicago White Sox in 1937. But he has given up just three homers to other teams this season.
”When you miss a pitch with that team, somebody (is) going to pay,” he said.
Swisher homered in the first, and Granderson and Martin combined for a three-run lead. Jayson Nix was at the plate when the lightning flashed, prompting the grounds crew to work on the mound as rain fell.
Jeter’s homer tied it in the fifth, and the Yankees went ahead in the sixth. One-out singles by Casey McGehee and Granderson chased Morales, and Nix’s two-out single off Mortensen put New York ahead 5-4.
After the game, Jeter said the Yankees already had retrieved the home run ball for him.
”If you do it long enough, good things happen,” he said. ”I consider it’s a good number. Other people might not. But for me it’s a lot of homers.”
Notes: Swisher also homered twice April 28 vs. Detroit. It was the 12th time he homered from both sides of the plate, one behind teammate Mark Teixeira’s major league-leading total. ”I feel like I’ve been trailing Tex for a while,” Swisher said. It also was Swisher’s 19th multihomer game. … Teixeira sat out to rest his sore left wrist. … The crowd of 49,422 was the Yankees’ ninth home sellout this year. … Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, out since he got hurt July 24, will have his broken left hand X-rayed again Sunday. … The only previous time Soriano reached the 30-save mark was when he had 45 for Tampa Bay in 2010. … New York has raised its season average with runners in scoring position from .217 through play on June 23 to .258.