The All-Star shortstop made one of the greatest plays of his
championship career, hurtling headfirst into the stands at full
tilt for a catch that ended the 12th inning. While he was on his
way to a hospital, the Yankees rallied past the Red Sox 5-4 in the
13th on Thursday night for a stirring sweep.
Jeter came away with a bloodied chin, a swollen cheek and a bruised shoulder after his 2004 dive into the stands.
Manny Ramirez homered twice, including a leadoff shot in the top
of the 13th. But with two outs in the bottom half, Miguel Cairo hit
a tying double and scored on pinch-hitter John Flaherty's single."The stomach, the heart, there was no quitting," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "Jeter, of course, scared the hell out of
everybody. Hopefully, he'll be all right."Jeter left the ballpark with the face of beat-up boxer, a
bloodied chin and a red, swollen cheek. He also had a bruised
shoulder. X-Rays were negative.Jeter's catch on pinch-hitter Trot Nixon's popup with runners on
second and third stunned the 55,265 fans and also scared them. They
gasped when the replay was shown on the video board of him flying
over the photographers' well and into the seats."When he went into the stands, you knew he's going to get
hurt," Cairo said. "You just hope it's not bad."Jorge Posada was among several teammates that walked off with
Jeter."He says he's playing tomorrow. That's the way Derek is, he has
that intensity," Posada said.Pedro Martinez got the game off to a hot start, hitting Gary Sheffield in the back with a pitch in the opening inning and riling
up the sellout crowd. Yankees rookie Brad Halsey matched Martinez
into the middle innings, and then the real drama began.The Yankees extended their AL East lead over Boston to 8½ games
going into their Subway Series matchup this weekend at Shea
Stadium. The Red Sox have lost eight of 11."I'm sure it's already an instant classic," Red Sox outfielder
Johnny Damon said. "We still believe we're going to win the World
Series. It's never going to be easy in Boston."It was a game that had a little bit of everything -- even Alex Rodriguez back at shortstop. In the 11th, he made a nifty stop at third that, for a moment, had the Yankees thinking they'd turned a bases-loaded triple play.
John Flaherty, center, provided the winning hit, a single in the 13th that left Boston 8½ behind the Yankees.
Rodriguez moved over from third base after Jeter was injured.
Gary Sheffield shifted from right field to third base for the first
time since 1993, and made a throwing error. Jason Giambi pinch-hit
in his first appearance in five games because of an intestinal parasite.The Red Sox employed a five-man infield in the 12th. At one
point, a couple of Boston players switched gloves a couple of times
for the alignment.Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra did not play, however. He's
still coming back from an injured right Achilles' heel and got the day off to rest."It was just as exciting, if not more exciting, than Game 7"
of last year's AL Championship Series, Boston reliever Alan Embree
said."Somebody had to lose, and it was us," he said. "It was
incredible the way those guys made those plays."Both teams blew bases-loaded chances in extra innings before the
Yankees wound up with their fifth straight win. And more than
anyone, they can thank Jeter.Though a lot different than his backhanded relay that saved the
Yankees in Game 3 of the 2001 AL playoffs at Oakland, this play by
Jeter was equally remarkable.When Nixon sliced a pop down the left-field line, Jeter took off
running. Without regard for his safety, he made the catch in fair
territory and then went sprawling into the crowd.Only the hard-backed seats stopped his momentum, and several
Yankees immediately ran to his aid. Jeter emerged after a minute, a
trainer holding a towel to his chin.His cheek all red, he slowly walked across the diamond and
tossed the ball into the crowd to a rousing ovation.Tanyon Sturtze (3-0) wound up with the win, and Curtis Leskanic
(0-4) took the loss.New York's rally came after Leskanic retired the first two
batters in the 13th. Ruben Sierra singled, Cairo doubled and
Flaherty hit a drive over Ramirez's head.Ramirez took over the AL home run lead with No. 22, a shot off
Sturtze.Tony Clark and Posada homered off Martinez to give the Yankees a
3-0 lead.At 23 and looking a lot younger than that, Halsey more than
matched the three-time Cy Young winner into the sixth inning.Martinez quickly rekindled the bad blood with the Yankees that
boiled over in last year's AL championship series when he threw
down charging New York bench coach Don Zimmer.
Boston SS Pokey Reese also slammed into the retaining wall,
catching Kenny Lofton's foul pop in the fifth. He jackknifed into
the stands, but held on. ... Former Yankees 2B Chuck Knoblauch was
in the stands, near where a foul by Jason Varitek landed. He got a
big cheer when he was on the video board.