Derek Jeter gets career hit 2,998, Yanks lose

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees connects on career hit number 2,998, a first inning double, against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (July 7, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Derek Jeter moved 180 feet closer to the magical 3,000-hit mark on Thursday night when he doubled  on the first pitch he saw from Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeff Niemann.

Hit No. 2,998 was a line drive to left-centerfield. It was his 12th double of the season, and 480th of his career.

The Yankees lost to Tampa Bay, 5-1. Ben Zobrist led the offensive charge for the Rays, finishing a double shy of the cycle.

Jeter grounded out to third base in both his second and third at bats, and grounded out to shortop in his fourth at bat. He'd finish the night 1-for-5 after grounding out to third to end the game.

Jeter would be just the 28th player in Major League Baseball history -- and the first Yankee -- to reach the 3,000-hit milestone. Jeter's 3,000th hit would tie him with Roberto Clemente for 27th all-time.

The hit was Jeter’s sixth of his career against Niemann. On Sept. 9, 2009, when Jeter needed three hits in one game to tie Lou Gehrig's franchise record of 2,721, he got them, and they all came off Niemann. How about that for some trivia?

The 268 career hits against the Rays is fourth most on Jeter’s all-time hit list

Jeter missed 18 games in June and early July with a strained right calf and returned to the Yankees' lineup on the Fourth of July. Jeter was 0-for-4 in his first game off the disabled list against in Cleveland against the Indians. He collected two hits on July 5 and one yesterday giving the Yankee fans a chance to witness history in the Bronx.

The Yankees play three more games with the Rays this weekend before the All-Star break. Friday's game is at 7 p.m., and both weekend games start at 1 p.m. The Yankees begin the second half of the season with an eight-game road trip in Toronto and Tampa Bay.

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