The 90-minute emotional swing was among the most dramatic in Yankees postseason history.
It started on the upside with Raul Ibañez sending the Stadium crowd and home dugout into hysterics with a tying two-run homer to cap a four-run ninth inning -- and it ended with the air completely drained from the place as the Yankees lost Derek Jeter for the remainder of the postseason, as he was helped off the field in the 12th inning with a fractured left ankle.
The Yankees fell to the Tigers, 6-4, in Game 1 of the ALCS and will have to press on without their captain. Game 2 is Sunday afternoon at the Stadium.
"They know they just lost an important teammate,'' general manager Brian Cashman said in the you-could-hear-a-pin-drop Yankees clubhouse afterward. "I think normally what will take place in a circumstance like that is, hey, we have to do this for him. And they'll do whatever they can to rally around that circumstance.''
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Manager Joe Girardi likened seeing Jeter lying prone on the infield dirt to May 3 in Kansas City, when his team lost another icon, Mariano Rivera, who tore an ACL shagging flies and was lost for the season.
Rivera, though devastated, addressed the team that night.
"It is kind of a flashback to when Mo didn't get up,'' Girardi said. "Just like Mo said [in May], we have to move on. We have to find a way to get it done. I think some people left us for dead when Mo when down, and here we are in the ALCS. And Jeet is going to tell us, 'Let's go.' That's what he's going to tell us.''
The injury occurred with one out in the 12th. Preceding it, Nick Swisher misplayed Delmon Young's scorching liner off David Phelps -- he said he completely lost it in the lights -- and the double drove in Miguel Cabrera, giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
A batter later, Jeter dived for and stopped Jhonny Peralta's ground smash, but then was unable to get up. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue helped Jeter, unable to put any weight on his left foot, off the field. The infield hit by Peralta and an infield single by Andy Dirks made it 6-4.
The prevailing feeling from those watching Jeter stay down?
"When Derek Jeter needs help to get off the field,'' Cashman said, "you know it's bad.''
Jeter faces a three-month recovery but is expected to be ready for spring training.
Andy Pettitte, who started Game 1 and pitched well, allowing two runs and seven hits in 62/3 innings, knows Jeter as well as anyone.
"For him to lay down on that field, I knew something was broke or torn completely,'' Pettitte said. "When I saw him not get up, I knew he was done.''
"When he went down initially, I thought it looked a little odd,'' Gardner said. "When I saw he couldn't get up and he flipped the ball to Robbie Cano . . . You knew it wasn't good.''
Former Red Sox righthander Derek Lowe, now a Yankee, has been a long-time Jeter admirer.
"This guy's unbelievable with what he brings to this team behind closed doors,'' Lowe said. "It's crushing, no doubt about it. It will probably take a little bit of time to kind of have reality sink in. It is what it is. We'll have to find a way. I imagine he'll still be there as far as instilling leadership, the role he's always been in. It's going to test the resolve of his team.''
Mark Teixeira's 2010 postseason ended suddenly when he blew out a hamstring running down the first-base line during ALCS Game 4 against the Rangers.
"We have to have guys step up. That's kind of been the theme all year,'' Teixeira said. "If one team is used to having guys step in to step into someone's place, it's us. It's really disappointing to have Derek out of the lineup. We know how much this game means to him, especially the playoffs . . . Mo had a freak injury early in the season, he's the greatest pitcher of all time, he went down and we moved past it. You feel more sorry for the guys that get hurt, not yourselves. You feel sorry for Derek and Mo when they go down and can't contribute.''
Said Pettitte: "It's terrible. We've got a series we've got to play. We've got to win this series. Somebody will have to step in and fill that spot. This was a tough loss, obviously. Looks like the game's over and then you make that great comeback in the ninth. Obviously, very emotional game, but we've got a game tomorrow at 4 o'clock.''
It was a wild night well before Jeter's injury.
A lineup that struggled to score throughout the Division Series made yet another pitcher look like Felix Hernandez. This time righthander Doug Fister made Yankees bats mostly flail and fail, and it wasn't until erratic Detroit closer Jose Valverde came on in the ninth that the offense woke up.
The Yankees entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-0, but one out after Russell Martin's leadoff single, Ichiro Suzuki (four hits) hit a two-run homer off Valverde. Robinson Cano struck out for the second out -- he is 2-for-28 this postseason, including 0-for-his-last-22, after ending the regular season on a 24-for-39 streak -- but Teixeira walked to give the Yankees one last hope.
And Ibañez -- who had hit a tying homer in the ninth inning of ALDS Game 3 and a winning homer three innings later -- again tied the score, this time with a two-run homer.
But for the Yankees, a theatrical finish wasn't to be. Not this time.
"The job is to find a way over every obstacle that comes our way,'' Cashman said. "We're in an opportunity with one team standing in our way to get to a World Series. And no matter what circumstances are, we have to find a way to move forward. Do I admit this is a big loss? Yes. Is it something we're going to allow us to stop dreaming and achieve our goal? No, we're not going to allow that.''
With Marc Carig
and Anthony Rieber