As Derek Jeter limped out of the batter's box, hope of that illustrious 3,000th hit being celebrated at Yankee Stadium dimmed considerably.
The shortstop's evening came to an abrupt end after he tried to run out a fly ball to rightfield in the fifth inning of the Yankees' 1-0 loss to the Indians Monday night. After making contact, Jeter jogged gingerly down the line, stepped on the base and went straight into the tunnel with trainers.
The Captain never would leave a game voluntarily unless something was wrong. The crowd of 43,551 knew it, and so did his teammates.
"He just walked off the field and you could tell he was done,'' manager Joe Girardi said.
An MRI performed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital revealed a Grade 1 (least severe) strain of the right calf. Girardi said his "gut feeling" is Jeter will not play Tuesday night when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Rangers.
The shortstop went 1-for-3, leaving him six hits short of 3,000. He was replaced by Eduardo Nuñez.
Before the game, Girardi said he planned to keep Jeter in the lineup for the rest of the homestand in hopes he would reach the milestone at the Stadium.
"I'd prefer him to play it out, especially if we get close,'' Girardi said. "If he's three hits away, that could happen in one day. Four hits could happen in one day, so you'd prefer to keep him out there.''
But with the Yankees set to begin a six-game trip, starting Friday against the Cubs, Jeter may end up making history at Wrigley Field -- depending on the extent of his injury.
"There wasn't a question of is he going to stay in the game or not. It was get him out of the game," said Mark Teixeira (0-for-2, two walks). "It's unfortunate because the fans here were really looking forward to him getting 3,000 at home. We were all, too."
The righthander allowed only one earned run, in the fourth, when Michael Brantley tripled off the glove of a diving Nick Swisher and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's single. Despite giving up only five hits and striking out eight in 72/3 innings, Burnett was tagged with the loss.
"That play right there was the reason we lost,'' said Swisher (0-for-4).
It was the Yankees' first 1-0 defeat in three seasons at the new Stadium and the fifth time they've been shut out this year.
After allowing hits by the first two batters in the first inning, Carlos Carrasco (6-3) cruised. He allowed only three hits in the next six innings and struck out seven total.
The Yankees had chances to break through against the Cleveland bullpen but squandered each opportunity. In the eighth, Curtis Granderson grounded out to second against Tony Sipp. Teixeira lofted the ball to deep centerfield but Brantley made the catch at the bullpen wall. Vinnie Pestano entered and walked Alex Rodriguez but got Robinson Cano to line to third to end the inning. In the ninth, Chris Perez struck out Swisher, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner.
The Yankees -- who stranded eight and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position -- failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the first. After Jeter and Granderson began the inning with back-to-back singles, Teixeira walked. Rodriguez flew out to Brantley, but rather than try to score from third, Jeter hesitated. Strangely, Brantley also hesitated to throw -- which would have given Jeter time to score.