Derek Jeter doesn't even want to miss one inning of the New York Yankees' playoff push.
The shortstop pulled up lame after lunging for first base on his double-play groundout to end the eighth inning of New York's 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. Manager Joe Girardi had to talk him into coming out of the game, but Jeter said he would be back in the lineup when they try to hold onto first place in the AL East again Thursday.
"It's really not a thing," Jeter told reporters, refusing to confirm any details about the injury. "They just said, 'Put ice on it (and) come back tomorrow.'"
A day after Jacoby Ellsbury's game-ending single dropped New York into a tie with Baltimore atop the division, the Yankees got all their runs on homers to remain there. Curtis Granderson hit two home runs and Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees.
The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night, preserving the tie and dropping the Rays three games back in the division.
"It's playoff baseball," Girardi said. "You're playing in the playoffs right now. That's the way it is for us."
Jeter had two hits to raise his batting average to .325, which is third in the AL. With one out and runners on first and third in the eighth, he hit a grounder to second base and ran down the first-base line to try to beat the relay throw from the shortstop.
Stretching for the base — too late to beat the throw — Jeter began limping on his left leg as he continued down the first-base line into right field. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue rushed out to help him and Jeter tried to wave them off, but the manager overruled him.
"I said, 'We're going to sit you out," Girardi told reporters, adding that Jeter had aggravated a previous injury. "It's not that serious. It's something we have to be aware of. But hopefully he's OK."
Girardi described the injury as a bone bruise, but Jeter called it a sprained ankle before becoming even more vague.
"Lower leg," he said.
David Phelps (4-4) gave up one run on five hits and a walk in 5 2-3 innings, striking out five. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 37th save, but not before allowing a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the ninth, followed by a fly ball that left fielder Chris Dickerson caught at the base of the Green Monster.
Mauro Gomez grounded out meekly to second base for the second out, then Soriano misplayed Mike Aviles' chopper to extend the game. But Ellsbury followed with another chopper and Soriano gloved it, throwing to first for the final out.
"He hit the ball good. It just wound up in (Soriano's) glove," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who was ejected for arguing a called third strike to Cody Ross in the eighth and wasn't around to see the team lose for the 12th time in 14 games.
Saltalamacchia had a double, a triple, a homer and a walk for Boston. Aaron Cook (3-10) allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out two in five-plus innings.
The matchup of longtime division foes lacked much of the intensity that had characterized their rivalry in the past decade, gaining life only at the end after Valentine was ejected — along with Ross and third base coach Jerry Royster. The game was officially announced as a sellout, the 787th in a row at Fenway Park, but there were thousands of no-shows and many of those who did attend were Yankees fans.
They saw Granderson lead off the fourth inning with a homer and, after Alex Rodriguez singled, Cano followed with his career-high 30th home run to make it 3-0. Granderson homered again in the seventh inning after Jeter singled to make it 5-1.
In all, the Yankees have hit 34 homers in 14 games against the Red Sox this season.
The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh after back-to-back doubles by Saltalamacchia and Daniel Nava left runners on second and third. One run scored on Gomez's groundout and another came in on Aviles' pinch-hit RBI double.
Notes: Jeter scored his 1,860th run, passing Mel Ott for 12th on the career list. ... Casey McGehee replaced Jeter at shortstop. ... Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione was honored for 30 years with the team in a pregame ceremony. ... The Red Sox activated RHP Scott Atchison (right elbow strain) from the 60-day disabled list and transferred LHP Franklin Morales (left shoulder inflammation) to the 60-day DL. ... Phelps had not won in four starts since Aug. 13. It's just the third time in nine starts that he has retired more than 15 batters. ... Cook has won just once in 12 starts since June.