In the top of the seventh inning, Jeter was at the plate when a pitch from the Rays' Chad Qualls appeared to strike him on the left arm. Slow motion replays, however, showed that the ball hit the end of Jeter's bat.
Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale, over the objections of the Rays, ruled the pitch hit Jeter and awarded the Yankee captain first base. Center fielder Curtis Granderson followed with his 18th homer of the season to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon argued unsuccessfully that the ball hit Jeter's bat, eventually drawing an ejection from Barksdale.
Jeter, who stood doubled over while receiving attention from a trainer, confessed that the ball hit the end of his bat and he sold the call to Barksdale with a good acting job.
''He told me to go to first base. I'm not going to tell him I'm not going to first, you know,'' Jeter said.
''It's part of the game. My job is to get on base. Fortunately for us it paid off at the time, but I'm sure it would have been a bigger story if we would have won that game.''
Maddon disliked the call but didn't fault Jeter.
''If our guys had did it, I would have applauded that. It's a great peformance on his part,'' the Tampa Bay manager said. ''Several players are very good at that. And again, I'm not denigrating it. If our guy does it, I'm very happy with that if we end up getting the call. ... Fortunately it didn't cost us.''
The Rays responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh and won the game 4-3 to retake first place in the American League East division.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.