“There is disappointment that we didn’t win the game. There is disappointment that our captain and our leader went down for the rest of the year,” manager Joe Girardi said after the 6-4 loss.
Jeter was injured as he fielded a ground ball off the bat of Jhonny Peralta, his left leg collapsing as he gathered the ball up. Those left in the crowd fell silent as Jeter sprawled face down on the infield dirt.
“I knew it was bad when he didn’t get right up,” said Andy Pettitte, New York’s starter.
Jeter was helped off the field and x-rays showed a fracture that should heal in three months and is not career threatening. It is uncertain if he will need surgery.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Jeter showed no reaction when he got the news.
“The job is to find a way over every obstacle,” Cashman said.
The Yankees will activate Eduardo Nunez for Game 2 on Saturday and Jayson Nix could replace Jeter at shortstop. Alex Rodriguez will not be considered, Girardi and Cashman said.
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead before Jeter was injured. Miguel Cabrera drew a walk off rookie David Phelps and scored from second on a one-out double by Delmon Young to the gap in right. Right fielder Nick Swisher was in the vicinity, but could not make a tumbling catch.
Young scored on a single by Andy Dirks. Young had three hits and three RBIs. Drew Smyly pitched the final two innings to get the win.
“We took a right cross in the ninth inning, but we survived it,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said
The Yankees trailed 4-0 going into the ninth inning against Tigers closer Jose Valverde. They had left 11 runners on base to that point, eight in scoring position, against Doug Fister, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit.
Disappointed fans were streaming for the exits.
Russell Martin singled. Then Ichiro Suzuki hit his first postseason homer, a line drive over the wall in right field.
Valverde struck out Robinson Cano for the second out. But Mark Teixeira worked a walk after falling behind 0 and 2.
That gave Ibanez a chance and he drove a splitter out to right-center. It was Ibanez’s third home run of the postseason. He belted two against the Orioles in Game 3 of the Division Series, one in the ninth inning to tie the score and a second in the 12th.
Ibanez is the first player in history to hit three home runs in the ninth inning or later in a single postseason.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “People keep asking me what I’m doing. I’m just trying to find a pitch I can hit.”
Ibanez also drove in two runs in the penultimate game of the regular season against the Red Sox on Oct. 2 to help the Yankees maintain their lead against the Orioles.
Prior to the ninth inning, the Yankees had scored nine runs in their previous 51 innings.
Valverde has allowed seven runs in his last two games and could get replaced as closer.
“We are certainly going to talk about it,” Leyland said.
Pettitte was working on a four-hit shutout going into the sixth inning. The 40-year-old lefthander had not allowed a runner past first base.
That changed when Austin Jackson lined a ball down the line at first that took a sharp turn into foul territory and never popped out. The result was a 200-foot triple.
The Yankees intentionally walked Cabrera, the Triple Crown winner, with one out. Prince Fielder foiled that strategy with an RBI single to center.
Young followed with a blooper to right field that Swisher played on a hop, eschewing a dive. Cabrera, running hard all the way, scored from second without a throw.
Pettitte ended the inning without further damage. He was relieved in the seventh inning, having allowed two runs on seven hits over 6⅔
Seven of the first 13 batters reached base safely for the Yankees against Fister. But they did not score.
Jeter, Teixeira, and Ibanez walked in the first inning to load the bases. Alex Rodriguez, back in the lineup after being benched on Friday, swung at the first pitch he saw and hit a hard groundball to the left side. Peralta made a nice stop in the hole and threw to second to force Ibanez on a close play.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the second inning as Martin, Jeter, and Suzuki had singles. Cano hit the ball hard up the middle, off Fister’s right wrist. It deflected to shortstop and Peralta threw out Cano in a close play.
Cano slammed his helmet on the ground after being called out. He was 0 for 6 and is 2 for 28 in the postseason.
Teixeira led off the third inning with a single up the middle. But Fister’s wrist did not hamper him. He got Ibanez to pop to shortstop and Rodriguez to ground into a double play.
The Yankees threatened again in the sixth inning. Teixeira reached on an error by Omar Infante at second base. Ibanez then doubled down the line in right.
Rodriguez had another chance and struck out on three pitches, the third on a curveball that bounced.
The crowd booed Rodriguez, who is 2 for 19 in the postseason without an RBI. He was pinch hit for in the eighth inning.
With Jeter out, Rodriguez is one player who can lift the Yankees up. That is if he is still capable of doing that.
“We need this guy to be Alex, that’s the bottom line,” Girardi said before the game. “If we want to make some noise, we need this guy to be Alex.”
Leyland said several times after the game how proud of he was of his team. But even he was affected by the news about Jeter.
“When you think of the postseason, you think of Derek Jeter,” he said. “I am the opposing manager, but fortunately over the years there is tremendous mutual respect.”Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.