Jays win in Jeter's final Rogers Centre appearance

Yankees Derek Jeter connects for a single in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Toronto...

Yankees Derek Jeter connects for a single in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:32 PM ET

It was set up for a Roy Hobbs moment.

The ninth inning, two out, a runner at third, the Jays leading 4-3 and who comes to the plate?

Derek Jeter.

Talk about fate.

Unlike Hobbs of The Natural, Jeter didn’t come through against Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen as he lined out softly to second to end the game in what was the final at-bat at Rogers Centre of his legendary career.

“I guess that’s what it’s all about,” said Janssen, who picked up his 20th save of the season. “He’s an unbelievable competitor, he’s as clutch as they come. Being a competitor myself I embrace the opportunity to battle it out I guess. He’s had a heck of a career and I’m glad the Toronto people appreciated him like they did because he’s one of a kind.”

Was all of that going through his mind as Jeter came to the plate?

“A lot of things came through my mind at that situation to be honest with you,” Janssen said. “I had a job to do. I’m taking every opportunity like it’s a tryout and I want to make the most of this opportunity and see where that took me.

“At the same time I could see the little fairy tale story being written but got that out of my head real quick and knew I had to attack him.”

When Jeter came to the plate, manager John Gibbons admitted he too had an uh-oh moment.

“Usually the baseball gods are on his side and it did enter my mind out there when Ellsbury dunked that ball and figured that you know what, Jeter’s going to come up and so many times he’s done something clutch and this could possibly be his last at-bat here unless he ties it there,” Gibbons said. “He’s been known to do so many of those things and when the ball left the bat I thought it was going to be over his (Steve Tolleson) head.

“But I thought the Toronto fans were great to him and he deserved every bit of it.”

Jeter felt the moment too.

“Those are the fun situations,” he said. “You want to be in those situations. Janssen, I don’t think I have had much success against him. You are trying to get a hit like always, I always like those positions. But he was better than me this time.”

Making the day a sweet one for the Jays was the fact they were once again banging the ball over the fence.

In all they rallied from a 3-0 deficit on three solo home runs — back-to-back shots from Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista in the sixth and a leadoff banger from Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh.

Simply put, if the Jays don’t hit home runs they don’t win — at least not many.

“They’re guaranteed runs,” Gibbons said. “I think when you get into trouble is when you start swinging for them. You have a good at-bat, get a pitch that’s elevated a little bit and you elevate the ball yourself because we’ve got so many guys that are so strong anyway. It’s a good home run hitting park and a good home run hitting division. It’s kind of what we do.

“You’ve still got to get your hits but we’ve been missing that.”

With the victory, the Jays could say good-bye to a bad month.

They ended August with a victory but not enough of them as they staggered to a 9-17 record in the month.

Sunday was also the rubber game of the series and with the win it left the Jays series record this month at 2-6-1.

The win went to starter J.A. Happ, 9-8, and deservedly so.

Over seven innings he allowed three runs on nine hits, didn’t walk a batter, struck out six and pitched tough with runners in scoring position to limit the damage and hold his team in the game.

The Jays offence came alive in the sixth.

With two out, Cabrera hammered his 16th homer of the season to right and Bautista followed with his 29th of the campaign to left.

The home run for Bautista was his fifth in five consecutive games, a record for the right fielder and one shy of the club record of six consecutive games set by Jose Cruz Jr. who did the deed in 2001.

Then in the seventh Encarnacion decided to get into the act and isn’t that a relief.

Steady Eddie has been scuffling since he returned to the lineup back on Aug. 15 and had gone 8-for-49 (.163) in the previous 13 games.

He was 0-for-2 on Sunday before he leaned into a 3-2 pitch from Brandon McCarthy and ripped it into the second deck in left for his second homer since his return.

The chicken wing was back.

Later in the inning, Munenori Kawasaki would single home Tolleson with the go-ahead run and Janssen would close it out in the ninth.

Home runs, game winning hits — just like they did in May.

 


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