NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees lost the American League championship series opener and their captain when Derek Jeter broke his left ankle moments after Detroit’s Delmon Young doubled home the go-ahead run in the 12th inning, giving the Tigers a 6-4 win Saturday night.
In a game of wild swings and wild swings of emotion, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the ninth before Raul Ibanez struck again, hitting a tying, two-run homer with two outs that turned a somber crowd into a delirious one.
And then came a little grounder up the middle that devastated the Yankees and their fans, who saw their leader writhing on the ground, screaming in pain.
Jeter rolled when he dove in an attempt to glove Jhonny Peralta’s grounder up the middle in the 12th. Unable to move, he flipped the ball toward the mound. His leg was dangling as he was assisted to the dugout by manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue.
“They talked about a three-month recovery period,” Girardi said. “Won’t jeopardize his career, but he will not be playing any more for us this year.”
Jeter, who extended his career record earlier in the game with his 200th postseason hit, has been playing with a sore left foot for weeks. He joined closer Mariano Rivera on the sidelines. Rivera tore a knee ligament in May while shagging fly balls before a game in Kansas City.
“It is kind of a flashback to when Mo didn’t get up,” Girardi said. “Oh, boy, if he is not getting up, something’s wrong. We have seen what he played through in the last month and a half, and the pain he has been in, and how he found a way to get (through) it. So it brought back a flashback for me.”
Detroit was coasting toward a 4-0 win before the Yankees rocked Tigers closer Jose Valverde in the ninth.
Ichiro Suzuki started the comeback with a two-run homer with one out, and the 40-year-old Ibanez hit another two-run drive with two outs.
Three nights earlier, Ibanez hit a tying home run in the ninth against Baltimore in Game 3 of the division series and another homer in the 12th to win it.
Young’s one-out double off David Phelps, which followed a leadoff walk by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, sliced in right and eluded Nick Swisher, who appeared ready to dive but couldn’t get his glove out when he realized the ball was closer to him than he had thought.
Young drove in three runs, hitting an RBI single in a two-run sixth against Andy Pettitte, and a solo homer in the eighth against Derek Lowe.
Tigers rookie Avisail Garcia singled in a run against Boone Logan, and Andy Dirks added an RBI single in the 12th on a comebacker that glanced off Phelps’ pitching hand.
Drew Smyly, who had started warming up in the third when starter Doug Fister took a line drive off his right wrist, got the win by pitching two scoreless innings.
In Game 2 today, New York will start Hiroki Kuroda, who will be pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his big league career. Detroit will send Anibal Sanchez to the mound.
Twenty-five of 42 previous Game 1 winners have gone on to take the American League pennant.