NEW YORK -- On Opening Day, Derek Jeter put his much-maligned 2010 season behind him. On Saturday, he picked up his first two hits of the 2011 campaign.
The New York Yankees shortstop went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored in his team's 10-6 win over the Detroit Tigers. With those two hits, Jeter tied Al Simmons (2,928) for 35th place on the all-time hits list and moved within 72 hits of becoming the 28th member of baseball's illustrious 3,000-hit club.
"I haven't seen that much of a difference," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "He's [going to get] 3,000 hits for a reason. Anytime you have [hitting coach] Kevin Long on your side, it is our secret weapon. Well, not so much secret anymore. Jeter is amazing. He is going to blow by 3,000 and keep going."
Jeter grounded a single up the middle in the first inning that deflected off diving Detroit second baseman Will Rhymes' glove and barely made it into the outfield. He later came around to score on Rodriguez's RBI double.
Jeter made outs in his next two at-bats, but was the recipient of a little luck in the fifth. He squibbed a 70-foot dribbler up the first base line, but it was placed perfectly, and Jeter beat it out for a hit.
First baseman Mark Teixeira plated Jeter in the second with a three-run homer after the Yankees' captain reached on a fielder's choice.
Eduardo Nunez pinch-hit for Jeter in the seventh and took over for the future Hall of Famer at short.
Jeter went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly, a run scored and a walk on Opening Day. It was his first regular-season game hitting with his shortened stride.
Jeter still hasn't really hit a ball square -- except for that line-drive sac fly to center -- as he continues to tinker and perfect his new stance. But the way that the Yankees are batting as a team, that hasn't mattered yet.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.