Jeter, Tanaka fuel Yanks' finale win over White Sox
Captain notches four hits, two RBIs; righty rebounds from first defeat
CHICAGO -- The bottle of chilled bubbly rested in the clubhouse locker assigned to Derek Jeter, accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek note from a few members of the Yankees roster, waiting to be discovered once the team finished shaking hands in the middle of the infield.
Jeter had privately joked that if he was somehow able to get four hits in a game, he'd start spraying champagne around the room to celebrate. The captain found some magic in his bat on Sunday, and as his teammates savored a 7-1 victory over the White Sox, they dared him to follow through.
"I'm going to start saying all kinds of stuff now," Jeter said, laughing.
On an afternoon when the White Sox paid tribute to Jeter's career with a pleasant pregame ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field, the retiring star repaid the gesture by ripping four hits, including a triple, and driving in two runs while scoring one.
The performance, which Jeter called probably his best game of the season, supported Masahiro Tanaka's strong effort as the Yankees concluded their week-long visit to Chicago by securing a split of the four-game series with the Pale Hose.
"He was a big part of our offense," manager Joe Girardi said. "Everyone contributed today, and it was nice to see a real good start from Tanaka."
The note in Jeter's locker was tucked next to a bottle of Ariel Brut and was signed by Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Kelly Johnson, ending with this dare: "Your move." Gardner explained that McCann predicted Jeter's four-hit game, a remark that Jeter had dismissed.
"He said, 'If I get four hits, I'm going to be spraying champagne all over the clubhouse,'" Gardner said. "He threw four hits out there today, so we made sure we got him a bottle. He probably already gave it back."
Jeter's memorable afternoon helped as Tanaka bounced back from his first Major League loss and held the White Sox to a run and five hits over 6 2/3 innings, improving to 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA. He has recorded quality starts in all 10 of his big league outings.
"I feel good every time he takes the mound. He finds a way to get it done," Girardi said.
Tanaka said that he was "disappointed" by his previous outing against the Cubs, which -- including his statistics from Japan -- snapped an unbeaten regular-season streak that dated back to the 2012 campaign. The Yankees have won eight of his 10 starts.
"I think obviously with the loss against the Cubs, I really did want to go out there and get us a win," Tanaka said through an interpreter.
Tanaka walked two and struck out six while hitting a batter. The White Sox scored their only run off him in the sixth, as Tyler Flowers doubled and scored on a Conor Gillaspie single.
"I thought we should have hit him a little bit better than we did today. He was good," White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham said. "[He] keeps guys off-balance and throws pitches for strikes, and he spots up pretty well. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, so that will usually win a game. He did it."
Adam Warren recorded four outs in relief, Brian Roberts added a solo home run off Scott Carroll in the eighth and Matt Daley wrapped up the ninth to help the Yanks leave with a split of a rare six-game, two-stadium, one-hotel visit to Chicago.
"Obviously, it's a good win," Tanaka said. "It's a good win, actually, for the team."
Fueled by Jeter's first four-hit game since Aug. 20, 2012, which also came against the White Sox in Chicago, the Yankees roughed up Andre Rienzo for five runs (four earned) and seven hits over five innings.
"We've got a lot of guys that have been hoping to have a little bit better results here in the last few weeks," Jeter said. "We stay optimistic, we continue to work at it."
Gardner ripped a two-run single, Jeter knocked a run-scoring single and Jacoby Ellsbury lifted a sacrifice fly in a four-run second inning, giving Tanaka a quick boost on his way to a season-high 118-pitch outing.
"You just want to get Tanaka a couple runs," Gardner said. "You feel like he'll be in control if you can get him the lead."
The Yankees added a run in the fourth when Jeter legged out his first triple since 2011, then slid home safely when Rienzo bounced a curveball for a wild pitch.
"I can still run, man," Jeter said.
Jeter also knocked a run-scoring single off Javy Guerra in the sixth, then struck out swinging in the eighth. As he walked slowly back to the dugout, Jeter heard yet another standing ovation, this one acknowledging his final regular-season at-bat in Chicago.
"The way the fans have treated me these two series here, it's been tremendous," Jeter said. "It's something I'll always remember."