Orioles on wrong end of Jeter's storybook farewell

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NEW YORK (AP) — Two home runs to start the game, followed by a powerful comeback in the ninth inning. In the end, though, the Baltimore Orioles only wound up on the losing side of Derek Jeter's fairy-tale farewell at Yankee Stadium.

Jeter capped his home finale with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth that gave New York a 6-5 victory Thursday night over the AL East champions, the latest — and perhaps last — storybook moment of his charmed and illustrious career.

"Our guys, everybody has a lot of respect for Derek and what his career has been about. You never like to lose a game, but you try to keep a grip on reality," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We wish him well and I'm sure it was a great moment for him here. And it will be a great moment for us as we go forward to continue to play."

The Orioles wasted four homers, committed three errors and fell three games behind the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Baltimore has three games left in Toronto, while the Angels visit Seattle for three. If the Angels and Orioles finish with the same record, Baltimore owns the tiebreaker.

Serenaded with adoring chants that echoed through the Bronx night, Jeter tipped his cap several times and drove in three runs. He launched an early RBI double off the left-center wall against rookie Kevin Gausman and then saved the best for last, a sharp, opposite-field single to right that knocked in the winner and set off a raucous celebration.

"I'm more concerned right now that we gave them all those runs. We just didn't play very good defense tonight," Showalter said. "We understand what's going on with the emotion in the ballpark. Hopefully, it's a good preparation for what's ahead of us in some ballparks. But the guys handled themselves well."

It appeared Jeter's tiebreaking grounder in the seventh would be the swing that sent the Yankees to a win when they built a 5-2 cushion.

Not bad — but not Jeter.

Nope, he's always had a flair for the most electrifying kind of drama, and this night was no different.

As if it was planned all along, Yankees closer David Robertson (4-5) gave up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to Adam Jones and a tying shot to Steve Pearce with two outs.

That only set the stage for Jeter one more time.

"Destiny has a way of working things out," Orioles reliever Evan Meek said.

"It's like something out of a book," Gausman said.

Jose Pirela hit a leadoff single against Meek (0-4) before Brett Gardner sacrificed. Jeter lined the next pitch through a huge hole on the right side, and pinch-runner Antoan Richardson slid home ahead of Nick Markakis' throw.

"Being on the mound in that situation, you have to take yourself out of the moment and focus. I looked in and said, 'Let's do this.' I threw him a cutter away, and that was it," Meek said. "I could be upset about it, but you're better off just understanding how important a day it was for baseball, for him. Obviously, you don't want to be the guy that gave up the game."

An elated Jeter jumped and raised both arms between first and second. Yankees players rushed out to engulf him as former teammates such as Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Tino Martinez and Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre lined up near the New York dugout waiting to greet the retiring captain.

"Sort of an out-of-body experience," Jeter said.

In one twist that hardly fit, Jeter's home finale was the only game he ever played at Yankee Stadium with his team already knocked out of the playoff race.

"His signature is winning. What other accolade can you pick?" said Showalter, who was Jeter's first manager when the youngster broke into the big leagues in May 1995. "Take a good look, because there are not going to be many like this come your way again."

Heavy rain soaked the city all afternoon, but the game began right on time and the Orioles got off to a rollicking start.

Roll call by the Bleacher Creatures was interrupted just as they got to a roaring chant of "De-rek Je-ter!" Markakis hit a leadoff homer, awkwardly silencing a sellout crowd of 48,613 that included rap star Jay-Z and other famous faces.

Alejandro De Aza followed with another long ball to right, the first time Baltimore had started a game with consecutive homers since hitting three in a row against Texas on May 10, 2012.

Jeter, however, hit an RBI double in the first against Gausman, who was 4 years old when Jeter made his major league debut. The ball banged off the left-center wall — just missing a home run by a couple of feet.

"I went behind home plate to cover and I swear I felt the entire place shaking," Gausman said.


Orioles: Pearce (right wrist) made his first start since Friday.


Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (13-5) gets the ball Friday night in Toronto, a tuneup for his scheduled start in Game 1 of the playoffs next Thursday at Camden Yards. ... Showalter said he'll use a lot of pitchers during the regular-season finale Sunday in Toronto, but his starter is still to be determined. Candidates include RHPs Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez.

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