Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jeter Ties Gehrig As Yankee Hit Leader; Pujols, Wainwright Lead Cards

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 9, 2009 American League Derek Jeter Jeter didn't score any runs or drive in any in the Yankees' 4-2 win over Tampa Bay, but he did go 3-for-4 at the plate to tie Lou Gehrig with 2,721 hits as a Yankee, the most ever by any player in a Yankee uniform. Jeter, who was mired in an 0-for-12 slump entering the game, improvised for his first hit of a night, a leadoff bunt single, deftly placed down the third base line. After grounding out in the 3rd inning, Jeter got his second hit of the night in the 5th, a smash double to center field and then came to the plate with 2 out and nobody on in the 7th inning, with his chance to tie the 72-year-old team record. The result was classic Jeter, an opposite-field line drive down the first base line for hit 2,721, tying one of baseball's immortals and putting his own stamp on the record books. Jorge Posada won the game for the Yankees with a three-run homer in the next inning, putting the Yankees ahead to stay, at 4-2. Jeter came to the plate later in the inning with a chance to break the mark, but was walked in a 7-pitch at-bat off of reliever Grant Balfour. Jeter began his career as a Yankee in 1995, when hie played in just 15 games and had 12 hits in 48 at-bats. 14 years hence, he has achieved a status of which most players can only dream. Jeter will undeniably surpass Gehrig's mark and head for the next milestone - that of 3000 hits. As of Tuesday night, Jeter ranked tied for 53rd (with Gehrig) for hits in a career. He is 2nd, behind Ken Griffey Jr. (2751), among active players and should pass Griffey early next season. At 35, Jeter still has a good 3-4 years remaining in which he can still play shortstop and bat high in the Yankee lineup. He need 14 more hits this season to record another year with 200 or more, which will be the 7th time he's done that. Where will it end for the greatest Yankee shortstop of all time? Certainly, barring injuries, past 3000 hits and probably into the top 10 all time. He is less than 600 hits behind Eddie Collins, who ranks #10 with 3315. Beyond that, the sky's the limit. Incidentally, Jeter stole second in the first inning, for his 300th swipe. He is second the Yankee list behind Rickey Henderson in that department. Henderson stole 326 bases while playing for the Yankees. National League St. Louis cut its magic number down to 12, as Adam Wainwright (right) hurled 7 innings of 5-hit, shutout ball and Albert Pujols (left) smacked a pair of homers and added a single in five at-bats, driving in three runs and scoring twice in a 5-1 Cardinal win over the Brewers. Wainwright improved to 18-7, lowering his ERA to 2.57. He now stands alone atop the major league win list and will be strongly considered - along with teammate Chris Carpenter - for the Cy Young award. Pujols leads the majors with 47 homers, six better than Arizona's Mark Reynolds, and is one RBI Prince Fielder in the RBI race, with 124. The Cardinals hold the largest lead in any of the divisional races with an 11 1/2 game bulge over the Cubs. NOTES: The Rockies are cementing their wild card lead, now at 4 games ahead of the Giants, as they won their sixth straight, topping the Reds, 4-3. Colorado has also cut into the Dodgers' lead in the NL West. They trail by just 2 1/2 games.

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