Yankees drop ALCS Game 1, Jeter fractures ankle
As loud as the crowd was for Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth, they were equally as quiet when Derek Jeter had to be helped off the field by trainer Steve Donahue and manager Joe Girardi in the top of the 12th.
The Yankees were handed a 6-4 loss in Game 1 of the ALCS last night on Delmon Young’s double off David Phelps that scored Miguel Cabrera. But that was secondary to Jeter writhing on the ground in pain on the next play. Manager Joe Girardi announced after the game Jeter had fractured his left ankle and was out for the rest of the postseason.
“His ankle fractured, so he’s out,” Girardi said. “They talked about a three-month recovery period. He will not play for us anymore this year.”
General manager Brian Cashman said he was unsure if surgery would be required because he believed there would be further testing. He also said he unsure if it was related to other injuries.
“He is down and will not be a player for us the rest of the season,” Cashman said.
Jeter ranged to his right on a grounder by Jhonny Peralta, but looked awkward in doing so. He fell to the ground with the ball still in his glove and could not get up. Girardi and Donahue instantly ran out and took out Jeter, who could not put any weight on his left foot.
“Jete has always been as tough a player as I’ve been around,” Girardi said. “That’s the guy of guy he is. … You could see the disappointment in his face.
“I didn’t see anything,” Mark Teixeira said. “When I moved to the bag, my back was to the ground. All I saw was he didn’t get up.”
Girardi said Alex Rodriguez, a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop, will not replace Jeter at the position. He hasn’t started there in nine years and Girardi said it had been “too long.” The Yankees are likely to add Eduardo Nunez to the roster.
“It’s kind of a flashback to when [Mariano Rivera] didn’t get up,” Girardi said. “If he’s not getting up, something’s wrong.”
“I just saw him laying there and I thought he was going to get up,” Nick Swisher said. “But he must have planted on it kind of funky.”
There are still games to play and eight more wins to take the World Series. The team soldiered on in the five months without Rivera as Rafael Soriano was flawless in closing out victories.
“We have a lot of good players on this team,” Cashman said. “We’re capable. The way to honor Derek is to fight for him.”
“We’ve had guys step up,” Mark Teixeira added. “That’s kind of been the theme for us.”
Jeter’s injury capped a wild swing of emotions at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees were an inning away from a 4-0 loss after leaving the bases loaded in the first, second and sixth against Doug Fister. But they wound up tying it on Raul Ibanez’s two-run home run off Detroit closer Jose Valverde in a non-save situation. It was Ibanez’s third postseason home run and sixth clutch home run in the last four weeks.
The hit temporarily saved the Yankees from a dreadful night in clutch situations.
Those problems cropped up again in extra innings as they could not get pinch runner Brett Gardner home from third with two outs in the 10th and stranded Ichiro at first in the 11th after he led off with a single.
Winning it in the 11th would have avoided another matchup with Cabrera and Prince Fielder, but the Yankees could not escape with a walk off.
Detroit’s winning rally started when Cabrera walked against David Phelps and advanced to second on Fielder’s soft ground out. Three pitches later, Delmon Young lined a double that right fielder Nick Swisher missed and awkwardly tumbled to the ground while trying to catch.
The Tigers added another run following Peralta’s infield single as Phelps couldn’t handle Andy Dirks’s ground ball, scoring Don Kelly.
The Yankees went quietly in the bottom of the 12th as Eric Chavez and Swisher struck out swinging on Drew Smyly breaking balls. The final out was recorded when Gardner grounded out to second base.
“We have to move on and I don’t say that in a cold way,” Girardi said. “We’re trying to win a series here.”
“The job is to find a way,” Cashman said. “We’re in an opportunity with one team standing in our way to get to the World Series, no matter what the circumstances are, whether it’s rain, injuries or what have you. We have to find a way to move forward.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.