Derek Jeter ended his streaks of 62 games and 259 at-bats without a home run by hitting two of them in the New York Yankees’ 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers.
The Yankees’ 36-year-old captain, who was the team’s only regular without a home run this season, led off the fifth inning yesterday with a line drive that just cleared the fence in right-center field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
It was Jeter’s first home run since Aug. 24 of last season, when he equaled a career low with 10 home runs. The Yankees shortstop added another solo shot in the seventh inning to snap a 4-4 tie.
“All I can ask for is to feel comfortable,” Jeter told reporters, according to Major League Baseball’s website. “If you feel comfortable, the hits will come.”
Jeter finished with four hits yesterday, raising his batting average to .276 from .256. The home run drought was the second longest of his 17-year MLB career, having gone 311 at-bats without a homer in 1997.
Jeter, whose 2,960 hits rank 30th in baseball history, said he’s returning to form after trying to eliminate the stride in his batting stance earlier this season.
“I tried the no-stride thing, and it didn’t work out,” Jeter said. “It’s pretty difficult to hit when you’re sitting around trying to think of too many things. Now it’s gotten to the point where I’m just trying to hit and not think.”
The Yankees had five home runs overall, with Francisco Cervelli, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira each adding one as New York took the decider of the three-game series. Cervelli’s grand slam in the Yankees’ six-run eighth inning was his first homer of the season.