Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays wrapped up a three-game series at Tropicana Field against the New York Yankees with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory. The second win of the series puts the Rays back in first place in the AL East by half a game.
Dan Johnson, a guy you want in the lineup on September 15, having hit homers on that date three of the last four years, proved to be the difference in the game with his second two-run dinger of the night.
But when this game is remembered, it will not be for that, nor for Rays' closer Rafael Soriano's league-leading 43rd save, but rather for an Oscar-caliber acting job by Derek Jeter.
Jeter faked being hit in the seventh inning by a Chad Qualls pitch that actually struck the end of the bat. Holding his left arm tightly against his side, he grimaced as he was examined by New York's trainers, then trotted off to first, having fooled the home plate umpire into awarding him the base.
Jeter later scored on a two run homer by Curtis Granderson, to briefly give the Yankees the lead, 3-2, before Johnson's shot gave the Rays the upper hand in the bottom of the frame.
TV replays showed the ball striking the butt of the bat, and the sound of ball against wood was clearly audible throughout the Trop, but the umps disregarded that, and did not even ask to see the area where Jeter claimed he was struck.
After the game, Jeter admitted the ruse, saying "It's part of the game."
Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected from the game for arguing the call, was magnanimous during the postgame press conference.
"It's a great performance on his part," Maddon said. "Several players are very good at that."
How the umpires feel, however, about being shown up in such a manner remains to be seen.
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