The top Yankees victories of the 2010s
By Ryan Touhey
5. vs. Baltimore Orioles (September 25, 2014 @ Yankee Stadium)– There was nothing on the line in this game. The Orioles had already clinched the division and were on their way to the postseason, while the Yankees had had a mediocre season and were already eliminated. However, a sellout crowd packed Yankee Stadium for the final home game of the season.
But this wasn’t just any home game. It was the last home game for Derek Jeter, who was calling it a career after 20 seasons of more than 3,000 career hits, 5 World Series rings, and so many memorable moments. The stadium was electric all night long, cheering the captain and applauding and standing for him whenever he came to bat. His first at-bat of the night came in the bottom of the first inning with the Yanks down 2-0. Jeter smashed a double to left field which scored Brett Gardner and cut the deficit in half. Jeter would eventually score the tying run when Brian McCann reached on an error later on in the inning.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when the Yankees rallied for three runs to take a 5-2 lead. David Robertson eventually came on in relief in the top of the ninth to seal the deal. Although the Yankees were just three outs away from a victory, it wasn’t befitting enough. This game was just too ordinary, too forgettable. And when it came to Derek Jeter, he was far from that. Sure enough, Robertson surrendered two home runs, one of which was a two-run shot by Adam Jones, and that nodded things up at 5.
The stage was set for a dramatic bottom of the ninth, which had Jeter due up third. Evan Meek was on the mound for Baltimore and he surrendered a leadoff single to Jose Pirela. Antoan Richardson pinch-ran for Pirela with Gardner at the plate. The crowd at Yankee Stadium nervously arose to their feet as Gardner laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Richardson to second and bring up Jeter with a chance to win it. As if this was a Hollywood script, Jeter, like he did so many times throughout his marvelous career, smacked a base hit to right field. Richardson sped around third and charged for the plate with all his might. Orioles’ right fielder Nick Markakis fired the ball home but Richardson got in there just in time.
The Yankees won Derek Jeter’s final home game on a walk-off single by Derek Jeter. You couldn’t make it up. The Yankees poured out of their dugout and were all over their captain. They hugged him, hoisted him in the air, and gave him one last Gatorade shower for celebration. The crowd at Yankee Stadium stuck around and chanted in unison, “Derek Jeter!” Jeter himself took one last stroll around the field and tipped his cap. He also received some visitors— his family, his former manager Joe Torre, and former teammates Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie and Gerald Williams, and Tino Martinez.
Analysis: And with that, the story of Derek Jeter came to a close. A young kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who had the dream of one day playing shortstop for the New York Yankees, in the end, did more than he or anybody could’ve ever imagined. It was one of the most emotional games at Yankee Stadium last decade and when it was over, I was in tears because this was somebody who I had the pleasure of watching play baseball my whole life. He was a big reason I became a Yankee fan and he made baseball cool. I was losing a part of my childhood and I also knew that players like him only come once in a lifetime. It’s going to be very hard for somebody to duplicate what Derek Sanderson Jeter did and in all honesty, I don’t think anyone else will.