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Jeter falls short of batting title as Yanks ready for playoffs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter showed little emotion after falling short in his quest to win the AL batting crown.

It was on to more important things -- the playoffs.

"Everyone would love to win a batting title," Jeter said Sunday after going 1-for-5 in the New York Yankees' 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays and failing to overtake Minnesota's Joe Mauer.

"We've got bigger and better things starting on Tuesday, so that's our main focus."

New York, which clinched the AL East title on Sept. 20, faces the wild-card Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs beginning Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Chien-Ming Wang will pitch for the Yankees in Game 1 against Nate Robertson.

Jeter singled in his first at-bat and moved .0005 behind Mauer. But the Yankees' captain took a called third strike in the second inning, hit an RBI groundout in the fourth, grounded out again in the sixth and struck out in the eighth.

After Jeter went to shortstop for the ninth, acting manager Bernie Williams sent Andy Cannizaro out to replace him, and Jeter walked off to a standing ovation.

"It was Joe's idea to have him pull out after everybody had their warmup pitches and warmup throws," Williams said. "Just to let the fans acknowledge him as he deserves."

Following his tradition of letting veterans manage on the final day if nothing is at stake, Joe Torre put Williams in charge.

"I've always been a fan of Bernie's," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "One thing here is they always take care of all great players. It was appropriate he got the hit, too."

The importance of winning the batting title wasn't lost on Williams, who was the last Yankees player to win the crown in 1998, when he hit .339.

"I was getting up-to-the-minute news from the coaches," Williams said. "We were pretty much aware of the situation and trying to give Derek and Robinson (Cano) the best opportunities that we could."

Cano, who was third in the league in hitting, went 2-for-4 to finish at .342.

Williams pinch-hit himself at the urging of Torre to a standing ovation in the bottom of the ninth and doubled.

"That was as bizarre as I've ever seen in baseball," Williams said with a smile. "I was so glad I was able to get on base."

Jeter had a different take on Williams' managerial debut.

"He lost! He lost," Jeter said, ribbing his teammate. "It was kind of selfish pinch-hitting himself there."

With the game tied 5-5 in the ninth, Adam Lind hit a two-run, two-out homer off Kyle Farnsworth (3-6).

Josh Towers (2-10) gave up two hits and a run in four innings for the victory. Scott Downs got three outs for his first save. Toronto finished second in the AL East at 87-75, ending a run of eight straight second-place finishes by Boston.

New York won its ninth consecutive division title and finished tied with the New York Mets for the best record in the major leagues at 97-65. It is the first time New York teams topped both leagues since 1956, when the Yankees won the AL at 97-57 and the Brooklyn Dodgers led the NL at 93-61.

Jeter entered the final day of the season with a chance to win the batting crown for the second time in his career. In 2003, Jeter started the last day one percentage point behind Boston's Bill Mueller and went 0-for-3. He finished at .324, two points behind Mueller and one back of Manny Ramirez.

"I've been in this position before," Jeter said. "It doesn't take away from what I've done this season."

Jaret Wright wasn't sharp in his final tuneup before the postseason, giving up four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Jorge Posada's 23rd homer, a two-run shot in the fourth off Jeremy Accardo, tied the game 4-all.

Notes

  • New York LHP Randy Johnson was optimistic after a bullpen session that he will start Game 3 of the playoffs Friday night. Johnson threw 41 pitches Sunday under the watchful eye of Torre, pitching coach Ron Guidry and bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan. "It was surprisingly good," Johnson said. "Everybody was more pleased than I was, so I guess that's a good thing. My only concern is a stiff back."
  • Mike Mussina acted as Williams' pitching coach and Alex Rodriguez was the hitting coach for the game.
  • The Blue Jays finished better than third place for the first time since winning the 1993 World Series.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Catcher Jason Phillips congratulates Scott Downs after finishing the season second in the AL East.  (AP)
Catcher Jason Phillips congratulates Scott Downs after finishing the season second in the AL East. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

A. Lind
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

J. Posada
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Toronto Blue Jays
Alex Rios, CF-RF4231000
Adam Lind, LF3223201
Lyle Overbay, 1B5011002
John Hattig, 3B4010014
Aaron Hill, DH4011011
Kevin Barker, RF4110022
    Vernon Wells, CF0000000
Jason Phillips, C4000010
Russ Adams, 2B4111020
John McDonald, SS4120010
Totals3671272810 
Batting
2B - Alex Rios (, Bruney), Aaron Hill (, Wright), Kevin Barker (, Lidle)
HR - Adam Lind (, Farnsworth)
SF - Alex Rios ()
RBI - Alex Rios (), Adam Lind 3 (), Lyle Overbay (), Aaron Hill (), Russ Adams ()
2-OUT RBI - Adam Lind 2 (), Aaron Hill ()
SB - Alex Rios (, 2nd base off Farnsworth/Nieves)
CS - Russ Adams (, 2nd base by Lidle/Nieves)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Kevin Barker (, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Dustin McGowan 2.2411420
Jeremy Accardo 1.1433011
Josh Towers (W,-) 4211050
Scott Downs (S,) 1100030
IBB - Giambi by Dustin McGowan
WP - Jeremy Accardo ()
Pitches-Strikes - Dustin McGowan 65-32, Jeremy Accardo 34-21, Josh Towers 54-41, Scott Downs 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dustin McGowan 4-2, Jeremy Accardo 2-1, Josh Towers 5-2
Batters Faced - Dustin McGowan 16, Jeremy Accardo 8, Josh Towers 14, Scott Downs 4
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF2000101
    Melky Cabrera, CF2110010
Derek Jeter, SS5011023
    Andy Cannizaro, SS0000000
Bobby Abreu, RF3110001
    Kevin Thompson, RF2011010
Jorge Posada, C2112100
    Wil Nieves, C2000011
Jason Giambi, DH1010100
    Miguel Cairo, PR-DH2110001
   a- Bernie Williams, PH-DH1010000
Andy Phillips, 3B5011035
Hideki Matsui, LF2000100
    Aaron Guiel, LF1000010
Craig Wilson, 1B4000022
Robinson Cano, 2B4120000
Totals38511541114 
a-doubled for Cairo in the 9th
Batting
2B - Melky Cabrera (, Towers), Jason Giambi (, McGowan), Bernie Williams (, Downs), Robinson Cano (, Accardo)
HR - Jorge Posada (, Accardo)
RBI - Derek Jeter (), Kevin Thompson (), Jorge Posada 2 (), Andy Phillips ()
2-OUT RBI - Jorge Posada 2 (), Andy Phillips ()
SB - Derek Jeter (, 2nd base off McGowan/Phillips), Kevin Thompson (, 3rd base off Towers/Phillips), Jorge Posada (, 2nd base off McGowan/Phillips), Miguel Cairo (, 2nd base off Accardo/Phillips), Robinson Cano (, 2nd base off McGowan/Phillips)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Jeter-C. Wilson, Bruney-Jeter-C. Wilson
E - Craig Wilson (, Misplayed grounder)
New York Yankees
Jaret Wright 5844140
Cory Lidle 1111010
Brian Bruney 1100100
Scott Proctor 1000020
Kyle Farnsworth (L,-) 1222011
Pitches-Strikes - Jaret Wright 68-49, Cory Lidle 10-7, Brian Bruney 16-9, Scott Proctor 13-10, Kyle Farnsworth 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jaret Wright 2-8, Cory Lidle 2-0, Brian Bruney 1-1, Scott Proctor 1-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Jaret Wright 23, Cory Lidle 4, Brian Bruney 4, Scott Proctor 3, Kyle Farnsworth 5
Game Information
Attendance - 54886
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Bruce Froemming, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Brian Runge