Give this to Derek Jeter, the man is consistent. Even when he hits inside-the-park home runs, he does it against the same team.
Jeter led off the third inning of last night's 10-4 win over Kansas City with an inside-the-park homer, his first since nearly 14 years ago at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals.
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"Just a long time ago, so you probably won't see another one for a while," he said.
Jeter hit Bruce Chen's first pitch to him - an 81-mph sinker - to deep right-center. He ran hard out of the box, but as he approached second base, it appeared that centerfielder David DeJesus had a bead on it, and Jeter slowed down a little.
But after DeJesus initially caught the ball, his glove hit the wall, which jarred the ball loose. Leftfielder Scott Podsednik picked it up and fired home, but it sailed past catcher Jason Kendall, and the sliding Jeter likely would have beaten a tag anyway.
"Right before I touched third, I saw [third-base coach Rob] Thomson waving me around," said Jeter, who was 2-for-5 with two runs. "Because the play's behind me, I really don't have any idea . . . But I sort of slowed down right before second 'cause I thought he caught it."
DeJesus suffered a severely sprained right thumb, according to Kansas City manager Ned Yost, when he slammed the hand into one of the padded portions of the wall that are on either side of the windows in front of the Yankees' bullpen. He was replaced by the just-activated Rick Ankiel and is expected to miss the remainder of the series.
Jeter last achieved the feat on Aug. 2, 1996, against reliever Jeff Montgomery. Batting eighth in the lineup, Jeter launched a 10th-inning shot that gave the Yankees a temporary 3-0 lead. Mariano Rivera, though, blew the save in the bottom of the frame as the Royals earned a 4-3 walk-off win.
"It's a little harder to get around the bases, but yeah, it's still fun," Jeter said.
Though Jeter joked about his quickness on the basepaths, both his hits were aided by speed. He led off the first with an infield single and scored along with Mark Teixeira on Alex Rodriguez's ground-rule double.
After starting July in a 9-for-50 slump, Jeter has multi-hit games in three of his last four contests.
Jeter said his teammates got a kick out of the home run, though he jokingly couldn't imagine why.
"I got around pretty quick," he said. "That wasn't that bad, right?"