Close to 50,000 people offered their thanks to Derek Jeter in the Bronx on Thursday night, but when it was over one person had more reason to express appreciation than perhaps any other.
"I told him, 'Thanks for saving my butt out there; I really appreciate that,' '' closer David Robertson said after he allowed three runs in the top of the ninth for a blown save. "He said, 'No problem,' and went right on to the next person."
And that was that on another remarkable night at the office for Jeter as he bade farewell to Yankee Stadium by driving in the winning run in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles.
Jeter's teammates were as impressed by his latest dramatic turn as you were. "If this was a movie, I would probably get up and walk out and be like, 'No chance,' '' CC Sabathia said. "But it's him. It's Jeet."
No one was more pleased than Robertson, who got the victory despite his ineffective outing. "From pretty much the all-time low to all-time high," he said.
Robertson recalled giving up the tying run to the Rays in the eighth on the day Jeter got his 3,000th hit in 2011. Jeter then drove in the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
"Jokingly, Mo slapped me on the back and said, 'Hey, you're the best set-up man in the league; you set him up again!' '' Robertson said.
After the three-run inning, Robertson said he needed time to "unleash a little anger" out of the view of TV cameras, then came back into the dugout to watch the bottom of the inning.
"It created another Derek Jeter moment," he said. "Much as I wish I wouldn't have created it, I'm glad it happened . . . It worked out. I was really down but now I can walk away and go to sleep tonight."
Told that Jeter has announced he will only DH in Boston this weekend, Robertson said, "After tonight, he can do anything he wants. He can pitch, I don't care. He'd probably do better than I did."
Brett Gardner preceded Jeter in the ninth with a sacrifice bunt to move pinch runner Antoan Richardson to second. Then Jeter hit the first pitch he saw for the game-winner -- to right, naturally.
"If there's one way you would draw it up, I think most people in here would say it's a hit to rightfield," Gardner said. "It was pretty special for all of us to be able to witness all of that firsthand and be a part of it."
Richardson said when he was on second base he figured Jeter would come through. "Just a thrilling moment," he said.
Sabathia later told him he had no choice but to score, because Sabathia already was on the field celebrating.
It was Sabathia who goaded Gardner into dumping the contents of a Gatorade bucket onto Jeter. "I figured it was pretty fitting, especially with the '2' on the side of the cooler. I think he enjoyed it. I'm sure it felt good."
Sabathia said Jeter was so nervous he almost walked out of the locker room without his cleats on. He didn't look nervous at the end.
"You just feel like he's going to walk off, and he did," Sabathia said. "It's crazy."