NEW YORK — Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees were eliminated from postseason contention, wasting a three-run lead Wednesday in a 9-5 loss to Nelson Cruz and the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles.
Jeter went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter in his next-to-last game home game, ending a seven-game hitting streak and dropping his average to .253.
The Yankees missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992 and ’93. The only other time New York missed the playoffs during in the retiring captain’s 20-season big league career was in 2008.
“It’s disappointing. It’s frustrating,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “This is not where you want to be at this time of year.”
Trying to play through injuries to four-fifths of their starting rotation, the Yankees are 81-77 and still trying to ensure a 22nd straight season with a winning record.
The Yankees were eliminated with four games remaining for the second straight year. They are scheduled to end the home portion of their schedule Thursday night, when Jeter is expected to be lauded by fans for a career that included five of New York’s 27 World Series titles.
As they have throughout the final homestand, fans stood, cheered and chanted “De-rek Je-ter!” for each of the captain’s at-bats during a rare September mid-week afternoon game.
Stars were out to say goodbye to Jeter. Former teammates Tino Martinez, Gerald Williams and Cecil Fielder were on hand as was Mo Vaughn, the 1995 AL MVP with the Boston Red Sox. Willie Randolph, a former Yankees co-captain and coach, caught a foul ball behind home plate.
Bud Norris (15-8) fell behind 3-0 despite getting seven of his first nine outs by strikeout. He allowed a leadoff homer in the second to Stephen Drew then fanned five straight, a string stopped in the third inning with Chase Headley’s long ball.
Norris improved to 9-1 against the division in 14 starts. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings and struck out nine.
Shane Greene (5-4) loaded the bases in the third but got Jones to ground into an inning-ending forceout. The rookie had no such success in the fourth inning, when the Orioles sent 11 men to the plate and scored three times with two outs.
Ryan Flaherty had a bases-loaded two-run double, and David Lough an RBI triple. Greene exited to boos after Jones bunted toward third base with Headley playing deep for a 6-3 lead.
The game ended when Brett Gardner struck out looking with Jeter on deck.
Photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images