After breaking an 0-for-14 skid and moving into a tie for ninth place on Major League Baseball's all-time hits list Monday afternoon, Derek Jeter referred to his 2013 season as "unique.''
But its distinctness had been largely undesirable before he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run as the Yankees beat the White Sox, 9-1, at the Stadium.
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Jeter had struggled at the plate since returning from a stint on the disabled list because of a calf strain. He entered the game 3-for-23 since Aug. 26, and his RBI single in the first inning was his first hit since Wednesday.
"I felt comfortable [Sunday], I just didn't have much to show for it,'' said Jeter, who struck out three times in that game. "The more you play, obviously, the more comfortable you get. Today, the results were there.''
Jeter, who is hitting .196 but said he feels fine physically, reached second with a headfirst slide after his first-inning single to left was misplayed. He then tagged up on a fly to rightfield and reached third. Jeter, 39, has missed 125 games this year with ankle, quadriceps and calf issues, but in this game, he showed his running is fine.
"That made me feel pretty good,'' Joe Girardi said. "And the fact that he got to second on the ball he hit, that made me feel better.''
Jeter's infield hit in the fourth tied Eddie Collins for ninth all-time at 3,313, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It's been kind of a unique season,'' Jeter said. "But sometimes you can do your job without getting hits. Sometimes my job is to move guys over, and I've done that the last couple of days. Of course I'd like to get hits every single day, but it doesn't always happen.''
Oddly enough, Jeter might not have tied Collins' mark. According to a New York Times article from 1995, Collins' Hall of Fame plaque says he collected 3,313 hits from 1906-30, but the recordkeeper back then apparently switched one game of Collins' statistics with those of Buck Weaver, so Collins actually had two more. Baseball databases such as baseball-reference.com credit Collins with 3,315 hits, but a spokesman for Elias said MLB recognizes that Jeter has tied Collins for ninth.
Regardless of his success or struggles, whether he's ninth on the hits list or 10th, the main thing for Jeter now, he said, is to win games and play without fear of another injury.
"I don't really have a choice,'' he said. "We only have 20-something games left, so our job is to try and go out and win as many games as possible. And it's kind of hard to play games when you're thinking about not getting injured.''