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Derek Jeter gets groove on in final all-star game

The New York Yankees shortstop is playing in the final season of his brilliant 20-year career.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter throws to first.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter throws to first.

DEREK JETER WENT two-for-two, helping the American League grab home field advantage in the World Series with a 5-3 win over the National League in the MLB All-Star game Tuesday.

Jeter belted a double on the second pitch from NL starter Adam Wainwright as the New York Yankees shortstop made his final all-star game appearance at Minneapolis’ Target Field.

“This makes me feel great. This is what it is all about,” Jeter said. “You appreciate moments like this. It is something I will remember.”

Jeter also scored a run for the American League, which won the mid-summer classic for the second-straight year. The victory earns whatever American League team that reaches the World Series home field advantage in the MLB championship.

Miguel Cabrera blasted a two-run homer in the first inning, while game MVP Mike Trout doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and scored another for the winners.

“I am speechless. I can’t thank the fans enough for voting me in,” said Trout, who was given the keys to a new car. “It is pretty special just to be a part of this night. These last few days have been a blur.”

Jeter is playing in the final season of his brilliant 20-year career. Even though his numbers this season didn’t warrant a selection, MLB fans chose him to appear in his 14th all-star game based on his legacy and reputation as a team-first player.

He exited the field, in the top of the fourth inning Tuesday, to a standing ovation as the song “New York, New York” echoed through the stadium.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell named Jeter, who played in his first all-star game in 1998, as his leadoff hitter for the AL.

Jeter now has one of the highest career batting averages in the all-star game at .481.

But Jeter’s hits Tuesday didn’t come without some controversy. Wainwright told reporters, after his brief appearance on the mound, that he didn’t want to spoil Jeter’s moment by overshadowing the future hall of famer.

- ‘Grooved it’ -

“I was going to give him a couple of pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “I didn’t know he was going to hit a double, though.”

After the game, Jeter thanked Wainwright for the gift.

“If he grooved it, thank you. Still got a hit,” Jeter said.

“That’s fine. So please tell everyone else to groove one to me.”

Wainwright then backtracked later saying he was joking.

“Sometimes my humour gets taken the wrong way. It was mis-said. I hope people realize I am not intentionally giving up hits out there …. I wanted it to be all for Derek so if anything has taken away from his moment then I sincerely apologize. At no point in my career have I ever gone out and intentionally given up hits.”

Jeter’s celebration Tuesday was similar to the way his former Yankee teammate Mariano Rivera was honoured during last year’s 3-0 AL win.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a pair of RBI doubles to pace the NL, which went one-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The NL has now lost back-to-back all-star games on the heels of a three-game win streak.

This is the third time that the all-star game was held in Minneapolis and the first since the NL rolled to a 6-1 win in 1985 at the Metrodome.

Next year’s classic will be at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.

- © AFP, 2014

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