Some history was made last night. In his return from the DL, Derek Jeter reclaimed his leadoff spot and promptly went 0-for-4. But that's not news: Jeter's gone 0-for-4 plenty of times this year. Plenty. What is news is that the Yankees only managed to squeeze out four hits against Indians pitching. Since that potent lineup had not been held to just four hits in the three weeks since Jeter's calf injury, it was clear that Derek Jeter was personally accountable for every failed plate appearance by every Yankee player.
The statistical oddity became apparent early on, when the Yankees put the first two men on base to start the game. With slugger Mark Teixeira at the plate, Jeter grounded weakly to second base.
"I knew something was up," Teixeira said after the game. "I'm there, with a 1-2 count, I'm sitting breaking ball, and next thing I know Jeet's grounded out without moving the runners over."
The Yankees were held hitless through the first six innings by Cleveland rookie Josh Tomlin, who at one point retired 18 straight batters, all of them Derek Jeter.
"Not sure I've ever seen one player ground out weakly to second that many times in a row," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "His calf is still probably bothering him."
The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the 26 weak grounders to second equal a major league record, set by Derek Jeter on April 13, April 19, April 29, and May 10-21. The record could have been all his, if not for a weak pop to the catcher in foul territory in the ninth.
"Should have had it," lamented Chris Perez, who closed out the game by retiring Jeter three times in just three pitches. "Should have had the record. But I got the ball up."
Manager Joe Girardi chalked up the evening to rust, pointing out that Jeter only played in two rehab games before rejoining the team.
"He's a veteran, he's been through stretches like this before," Girardi told reporters. "He'll work it out. If he got down on himself every time he made all 27 outs, he wouldn't be a Hall of Famer."
Girardi said Jeter would be batting leadoff again tonight.