NEW YORK (AP) — All that’s left for Derek Jeter to do is say goodbye.
Right now, though, the captain is still stewing over a lost season.
New York was eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday, wasting a three-run lead in a 9-5 loss to Nelson Cruz and the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles.
“It’s tough. It’s what you play for. It’s a rough feeling,” Jeter said.
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 (81-77) missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992 and ‘93. The only other time New York did not play in the postseason 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.”
When Jeter is lauded by fans Thursday night — weather permitting. There’s rain in the forecast — for a career that included five of New York’s 27 World Series titles, he will be playing his first game in the Bronx that has no implications on his team’s playoff chances. (Jeter was out with an injury last year).
“For the guys that are coming back and the team that plays it’s a feeling you shouldn’t like and you shouldn’t want to get used to,” Jeter said.
Baltimore remained 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels, who beat Oakland 5-4, in the race for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Manager Buck Showalter sees Thursday night festivities as good preparation.
“Not everywhere you play in the postseason is going to be a friendly environment,” he said, “so it is good to have that kind of emotion going on before you get there.”
Cruz had two of his four singles and slugger Adam Jones a safety squeeze in a six-run fourth for Baltimore.
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. Even though Jeter was the designated hitter, the Bleacher Creatures included Jeter in the first-inning roll call. Jeter wasn’t in the dugout to acknowledge them with the customary wave.
Jeter was given an extended ovation after he tapped out to first base in the eighth but he remained seated in the dugout and did not come out for the curtain call. The game ended when Brett Gardner struck out looking with Jeter on deck.
“The game wasn’t over. We were trying to come back,” Jeter said of the eighth. “You can’t help but notice. I catch myself looking around sometimes and I’ve always tried not to do that but I’ve caught myself a couple of times.”
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 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.
Mark Teixeira had an RBI double and two-run homer for New York.
Orioles: Showalter said he exchanged texts with suspended 1B Chris Davis. Serving a 25-game ban following a positive test for an amphetamine, Davis reported to the Orioles complex in Sarasota, Florida, and will play in instructional games. Davis could return late in the postseason.
Yankees: Girardi said Carlos Beltran (elbow) will not play the rest of the season. He will monitor Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) but it seems unlikely he will play in Boston.
Baltimore’s RHP Kevin Gausman (7-7) and New York’s RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-9) are scheduled starters in the series finale.
Norris improved to 9-1 against the division in 14 starts, and Baltimore is 13-1 in those games.
Stars were out to say goodbye to Jeter, though. Former teammates Tino Martinez, Gerald Williams and Cecil Fielder were on hand as was Mo Vaughn, the 1995 AL MVP with Boston. Willie Randolph, a former Yankees co-captain and coach, caught a foul ball behind home plate.
NO CHEAP SEATS
Tickets for Jeter’s final home game on the secondary market are going from $248 in the bleachers up to $10K in section 19, right next to the Yankees dugout.
NO MORE HITS
Louisville Slugger said in a news release it is retiring model number P72, the bat Jeter has used for his entire career. It will be renamed DJ2.