Barring a postseason matchup, Derek Jeter is to set to play his final game in the city where he made his major league debut and got his first hits.
He’ll try to help the New York Yankees leave Seattle with their first road sweep of the Mariners in 15 years Thursday night.
Jeter went 0 for 5 in an 8-7 loss in 12 innings at the Kingdome on May 29, 1995, but had two hits the next day. He’s since registered another 3,372 hits since then and has four in eight at-bats in this three-game series.
Jeter pushed his career average in Seattle back above .300 with a pair of hits in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory. He moved it to .304 by going 2 for 5 in Wednesday’s 4-2 win and stole a pair of bases for the first time since Sept. 25, 2009.
Jeter is the third player in major league history with at least 3,000 career hits, 350 stolen bases and 250 home runs along with Rickey Henderson and Craig Biggio. He’s also one of 12 active players to have played in the Kingdome and at Safeco Field, which opened in July 1999.
He’s hitting .319 with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 67 career games at Safeco, including five in the postseason. The Yankees captain also hit his only home run in an All-Star game there in 2001.
"This is where I played my first game so every time I come here that’s the memory that comes to mind first," Jeter said. "This is where it all began. It’s been quite some time but I’ve always enjoyed coming to Seattle."
Jeter will try to lead the Yankees (33-31) to their first sweep in Seattle since taking four wins Aug. 5-8, 1999. New York swept a three-game set against the Mariners at home from May 23-25, 2008.
The Yankees will also seek a season high-tying third straight road win with help from rookie Chase Whitley (1-0, 2.42 ERA), who will try to build on his first major league victory. In his fifth career start, the right-hander gave up two runs over seven innings in a 4-2 win in Kansas City on Friday.
Fellow rookie Roenis Elias (5-4, 3.64) will seek to help the Mariners (34-31) avoid their first three-game home losing streak since a season-high four consecutive defeats April 12-22. Seattle had won eight of nine overall before this series but has lost 10 of its past 13 home games against New York.
The Yankees started this month 2-6 before continuing their recent success in the Emerald City.
While Whitley will face Seattle for the first time, Elias will try to earn his second win in as many matchups with New York. The left-hander fanned a career-best 10 and allowed two runs over seven innings in a 4-2 victory in New York on May 1.
Elias will attempt to set another personal mark by winning a third straight start. He wasn’t as dominant, however, in a 7-4 win in Tampa Bay on Saturday than in a 4-0 victory against Detroit on June 1.
Elias tossed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts versus the Tigers for his first complete game. He gave up four runs over 7 2-3 innings to the Rays but two of those runs came in his final inning.
"I felt really good out there," Elias told the team’s website through an interpreter. "I’m doing what I’m capable of doing, and just to come out here and do the things that have made me successful in the past, I’m working hard to keep that going."
Jacoby Ellsbury, batting .383 (23 for 60) during an MLB-leading 15-game hit streak, hit a solo homer off Elias in the loss in May.