NEW YORK - The Yankees have taken a 1-0 lead in the third inning today on Derek Jeter’s double play bouncer.
Not the most dramatic way for Jeter to celebrate his last opening day at Yankee Stadium, but it’s still early.
Ubaldo Jimenez fielded Jeter’s comebacker and chose to start a 1-6-3 double play rather than throw home for the easy out on Yangervis Solarte, who led off with a walk and took third on Brett Gardner’s single.
Jimenez overcame two walks in the second inning by striking out former Oriole Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson.
The Orioles threatened in the top of the first after Nick Markakis doubled with one out - his second extra-base hit in two games - but Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda retired the next two Orioles. Nelson Cruz singled with one out in the second, but he kept running on Steve Lombardozzi’s fly ball to right-center field and was doubled off first base.
Cruz already had rounded second as Jacoby Ellsbury made the catch.
Jeter received a huge ovation during introductions, then struck out in the first inning.
Plenty of New York writers showed up for manager Buck Showalters pregame press conference to get his thoughts on Jeter’s retirement and career. Showalter was Jeter’s first manager. Easy story angle.
“We’re all excited that he’s retiring. We are,” Showalter said.
“The thing I’m most proud of, having known him, is the way he carried himself. When you’re the focal point of an organization, regardless of whether it’s the Yankees or somebody else for that long, being someone that the fans and the game of baseball can trust on and off the field. He always thought about the weight his words carried and how it affected his teammates and his organization. That happened long before, with his teammates and his organization. So when you’re think about something that’s is the signature of Derek, it’s the substance.”
More observations from Showalter:
* “He’s not throwing the ball between his legs, around his back, trying to figure out a way to show up on Web Gems.”
* “He wasn’t a guy that was afraid to work on his weaknesses.”
* “He understands the responsibility of his tenure here.”
* “I’d a lot rather him not be playing today.”
* “Yeah, I take it in. Are you kidding me? I don’t dwell on it. I’ll scream at him if jumps out of the way of a ball that’s a strike, arms up.”
* “He’ll be the first to tell you the Yankees made it very easy for him to stay here. He didn’t do it for free.”
Showalter will only focus on the Yankees and their glorious history for so long before redirecting the conversation toward his own team and ballpark.
“Somebody was asking me about Yankee Stadium and opening day,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good history in Camden Yards, too. We’re pretty proud of our people and our statues. We’ve got some statues, too.”
Update: The Orioles tied the game 1-1 in the fourth on Matt Wieters’ two-out single to center field.
Adam Jones singled with one out and took second on Chris Davis’ fly ball to left that was caught in foul territory. Nice hustle and it set up the tying run.