SEATTLE (AP) — Derek Jeter made his final regular season appearance in Seattle memorable.
Of all the stops on Jeter’s season-long farewell tour, Seattle holds a bit more meaning because this is where his career started.
“You tend to think about the first time you came, when you got here,” Jeter said. “It’s still hard to think I’m not going to play another game here but when you come to some of these cities you start thinking about a lot of the memories you’ve had here. Seattle will always be special because it was the beginning.”
Jeter had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice as the New York Yankees completed their first three-game sweep of the season with a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Thursday night.
Jeter was honored by the Mariners before the start of the series, then helped jump start the Yankees. Jeter had singles in his first two at-bats off Seattle starter Roenis Elias (5-5), then greeted reliever Dominic Leone with a two-run single in the fourth that gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead.
Jeter finished the series with seven hits.
“It feels good to come out here and win three games. It’s not an easy place to win,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously they pitch very well and we had not scored a lot of runs off them.”
This night, and much of the series, was about Jeter’s farewell tour. His professional start came in Seattle in May 1995. He was given thundering ovations every time he stepped to the plate.
Jeter received a standing ovation from the entire stadium on his final at-bat in the ninth. He grounded out on a comebacker to the mound and tipped his helmet as he jogged of the field.
“Fans have always been good to me here. Even when they get on you a little bit they still respect you,” Jeter said. “They were awesome.”
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games and gave starter Chase Whitley (2-0) an early lead.
Whitley threw a career-high 7 2-3 innings to get his second straight win. He also got a huge defensive play from Ellsbury in the fifth, robbing former Yankees star Robinson Cano of at least a RBI double with a leaping catch at the wall in center field.
Whitley allowed just five hits and his only mistake was a pitch left up in the strike zone to Logan Morrison, who hit a line drive homer in the second inning. Whitley struck out six and has not walked a batter in his past four starts.
David Robertson got the final two outs for his 16th save.
“Chase has been consistent with his stuff. He doesn’t beat himself. He doesn’t walk people. He’s doing the little things,” Girardi said. “He’s mixed in an outstanding changeup with his fastball and slider. He gets ahead in the count. We only saw him as a reliever. We weren’t sure what we had as a starter but he’s done a really good job.”
Ellsbury did give the Yankees a brief scare when he left later in the game with tightness in his right hip. Ellsbury said he expected to be in the lineup Friday in Oakland.
Both times Seattle was on the verge of a rally it could not get a two-out hit. The Mariners had runners at the corners in the third but Kyle Seager struck out looking on an inside fastball. In the fifth, James Jones chopped a two-out single to score Brad Miller. Cano then drove the first pitch from Whitley to deep left-center, only to watch Ellsbury jump and haul in the drive crashing into the wall.
Two innings later Brett Gardner added another defensive gem, hauling in Mike Zunino’s drive at the top of the fence in left-center to take away extra bases. Whitley said he was already looking toward the umpire for a new ball thinking Zunino’s drive had left the park.
“They were making good plays out there, keeping the ball in the yard and saving their guy some runs,” Zunino said. “That’s all you can do is try and square the ball up.”
NOTES: Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Macklemore threw out the first pitch on the night he was honored by the Mariners with a bobblehead. … Yankees are 17-10 in their last 27 road games. … Whitley has gone 114 consecutive batters without issuing a walk.
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