Before this afternoon’s game, the White Sox gifted Derek Jeter with a specially designed bench made of ball, bats, and bases. They also presented him with a nice commemorative plaque made of dirt from the shortstop area of US Cellular Field and the nearby Comiskey Park (the White Sox previous field), and on it was all the current (and future) Hall of Famers to play at that position, including Yankee great Phil Rizzuto. And they also made a $5,000 donation to the Turn 2 Foundation. So in front of a sold-out crowd in the Windy City, Jeter said farewell in the most Jeter-like way, going 4-for-5, 2 RBIs, 1 run scored, and a really nice triple (his first in almost 3 years). And that was just Jeter’s input in this afternoon’s game.
Masahiro Tanaka took the mound after his first loss in almost 2 years just a few days ago. And he certainly got a great chance to redeem himself because the Yankees were just playing like the Yankees today. In his 118 pitches over 6.2 innings, he allowed 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. He was running a no-hitter for a bit, but even after allowing a couple hits, he was still chugging along like Tanaka. The only run scored off Tanaka was in the 6th inning when a lead-off double scored on a 2-out single.
Adam Warren came in the 7th to get the last out, and pitched through the 8th keeping the Sox from doing much of anything. Daley’s 9th was the same way, preventing the White Sox from any possible threats. There was no real rally attempts, but the south side Chicago crowd didn’t seem to notice as they were torn between cheering for Jeter and watching Tanaka in action. I didn’t realize how many New York fans there were in the Second City.
Of course, there would be no win if not for the Yankees batting, of which Jeter’s contributions certainly led the way for the entire roster. By the way, every single person in the lineup got on base at some point during the game, most composing the 10 Yankee hits. In the 2nd, Solarte singled, Ichiro singled, and Roberts walked to load the bases, so that 2 runs would score on Brett Gardner’s single. Jeter’s single then scored Roberts and Jacoby Ellsbury’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner. And suddenly, the Yankees were up 4-0 going in the 3rd inning.
In the 4th inning, with 2 outs, Jeter hit that great triple I mentioned above and then scored on a wild pitch. (5-0 Yankees) Alfonso Soriano led off the 6th inning with a double and then scored on Jeter’s single. (6-0 Yankees) And to cap off the win today, Brian Roberts adding his own mark with a solo home run to the Yankees bullpen in the 8th inning, making the final score 7-1 Yankees.
And the Yankees head about 4 hours south to St. Louis splitting their time in Chicago 1-1 with the Cubs and 2-2 with the White Sox or 3-3 overall. Not a terrible way to go for a week, not ideal mind you (this is the Yankees and they like to win not split the difference), but not terrible. But hey, a win is a win, especially on a very beautiful sunny spring day, as if it was perfectly crafted for a great day for baseball. Those are great days in my book.