BOSTON — Derek Jeter doesn’t even want to miss one inning of the New York Yankees’ playoff push.
The shortstop pulled up lame after lunging for first base on his double-play groundout to end the eighth inning of New York’s 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. Manager Joe Girardi had to talk him into coming out of the game, but Jeter said he would be back in the lineup when they try to hold onto first place in the AL East again Thursday.
“It’s really not a thing,” Jeter told reporters, refusing to confirm any details about the injury. “They just said, ‘Put ice on it (and) come back tomorrow.’”
A day after Jacoby Ellsbury’s game-ending single dropped New York into a tie with Baltimore atop the division, the Yankees got all their runs on homers to remain there. Curtis Granderson hit two home runs and Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees.
The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night, preserving the tie and dropping the Rays three games back in the division.
“It’s playoff baseball,” Girardi said. “You’re playing in the playoffs right now. That’s the way it is for us.”
Jeter had two hits to raise his batting average to .325, which is third in the AL. With one out and runners on first and third in the eighth, he hit a grounder to second base and ran down the first-base line to try to beat the relay throw from the shortstop.
Stretching for the base — too late to beat the throw — Jeter began limping on his left leg as he continued down the first-base line into right field. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue rushed out to help him and Jeter tried to wave them off, but the manager overruled him.
“I said, ‘We’re going to sit you out,” Girardi told reporters, adding that Jeter had aggravated a previous injury. “It’s not that serious. It’s something we have to be aware of. But hopefully he’s OK.”
Girardi described the injury as a bone bruise, but Jeter called it a sprained ankle before becoming even more vague.
“Lower leg,” he said.
David Phelps (4-4) gave up one run on five hits and a walk in 5 2-3 innings, striking out five. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 37th save, but not before allowing a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the ninth, followed by a fly ball that left fielder Chris Dickerson caught at the base of the Green Monster.
Mauro Gomez grounded out meekly to second base for the second out, then Soriano misplayed Mike Aviles’ chopper to extend the game. But Ellsbury followed with another chopper and Soriano gloved it, throwing to first for the final out.
“He hit the ball good. It just wound up in (Soriano’s) glove,” said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who was ejected for arguing a called third strike to Cody Ross in the eighth and wasn’t around to see the team lose for the 12th time in 14 games.
Saltalamacchia had a double, a triple, a homer and a walk for Boston. Aaron Cook (3-10) allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out two in five-plus innings.
The matchup of longtime division foes lacked much of the intensity that had characterized their rivalry in the past decade, gaining life only at the end after Valentine was ejected — along with Ross and third base coach Jerry Royster. The game was officially announced as a sellout, the 787th in a row at Fenway Park, but there were thousands of no-shows and many of those who did attend were Yankees fans.
They saw Granderson lead off the fourth inning with a homer and, after Alex Rodriguez singled, Cano followed with his career-high 30th home run to make it 3-0. Granderson homered again in the seventh inning after Jeter singled to make it 5-1.
In all, the Yankees have hit 34 homers in 14 games against the Red Sox this season.
The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh after back-to-back doubles by Saltalamacchia and Daniel Nava left runners on second and third. One run scored on Gomez’s groundout and another came in on Aviles’ pinch-hit RBI double.
TIGERS 8, WHITE SOX 6
CHICAGO — Max Scherzer pitched six effective innings to earn his career-high 16th win, Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and the Tigers moved within a game of the AL Central lead.
Scherzer (16-6) allowed a run and four hits, including the first of two homers by Kevin Youkilis. The right-hander struck out seven to increase his major league-leading total to 220 and improved to 10-1 over his last 14 starts.
It was Detroit’s second strong start in as many nights following Doug Fister’s winning performance on Tuesday night. After dropping the opener of the key four-game set on Monday, the Tigers have won two in a row in their last head-to-head meeting with the AL Central leaders.
ORIOLES 3, RAYS 2
BALTIMORE — Manny Machado led off the ninth inning with a single and scored the winning run on a single by Nate McLouth, and the Orioles retained a share of first place in the AL East.
RANGERS 5, INDIANS 2
ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre homered before each left the game with injuries, and Texas beat the slumping Cleveland, which led the AL Central on June 23 but is 15-43 since the All-Star break.
ROYALS 10, TWINS 5
MINNEAPOLIS — Billy Butler had three hits and three RBIs, and Kansas City’s bullpen picked up struggling starter Luke Hochevar with four scoreless innings in a victory over Minnesota.
MARINERS 3, BLUE JAYS 2
TORONTO — Miguel Olivo hit a solo home run and Kevin Millwood won consecutive starts for the first time since May.
Phillies on surge
PHILADELPHIA — Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer and Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings to lead the streaking Philadelphia Phillies to their seventh straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins.
The Phillies pulled within three games of St. Louis for the second wild card with a three-game sweep of the Marlins.
D-BACKS 3, DODGERS 2
PHOENIX — Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra hit consecutive RBI singles to support Trevor Cahill’s seven strong innings, and the Diamondbacks sent the Dodgers to their sixth loss in seven games.
Los Angeles squandered a chance to pull even with St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot. The defeat left Los Angeles a game behind St. Louis. The teams begin a four-game series today at Dodger Stadium.
CUBS 5, ASTROS 1
HOUSTON — Alfonso Soriano finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two runs, and Travis Wood allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Wood (6-11) gave up four hits and struck out six for his second straight win. Wood has allowed only one run in his last two starts, spanning 13 2-3 innings.
NATIONALS 2, METS 0
NEW YORK — John Lannan pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings and Washington lowered its magic number for clinching a playoff berth to six with a win over punchless New York.
REDS 2, PIRATES 1
CINCINNATI — Homer Bailey pitched seven solid innings and Cincinnati came up with just enough offense for a three-game sweep.
PADRES 3, CARDINALS 2
SAN DIEGO — Clayton Richard pitched seven strong innings and rookie Yasmani Grandal singled home the go-ahead run as San Diego handed St. Louis its 11th loss in 15 games.
BREWERS 8, BRAVES 2
MILWAUKEE — Rickie Weeks blasted a three-run home run and Travis Ishikawa hit a bases-clearing double in an eight-run fifth inning for Milwaukee, which moved within three games of St. Louise for the second NL wild card. GIANTS 8, ROCKIES 3
DENVER — Tim Lincecum pitched effectively for six innings to extend his road winning streak to a career-best five straight and Brandon Crawford doubled twice and drove in two runs.