CHICAGO (AP) — It started with a pregame video and ran all the way through the final out and a high-five line for the New York Yankees. This was the Derek Jeter show, and it was quite a performance for the shortstop’s farewell tour.
Jeter had four hits and Masahiro Tanaka rebounded nicely from his first major league loss, leading the Yankees to a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
“I just want to try to help us win. That’s it,” Jeter said. “Our job is, if there’s a guy on second base and I’ve got to hit a ground ball to second to move him over, I’ll do it. I don’t think about personal statistics. I think about trying to help us win.”
He certainly played a key role as the Yankees closed out an extended stay in Chicago with a pair of wins against the White Sox.
Brett Gardner had a big two-run single in New York’s four-run second inning, and Brian Roberts added a solo homer in the eighth in his return to the lineup after missing a game with a sore right knee.
“Everyone contributed today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Tanaka (7-1) pitched into the seventh inning as New York improved to 3-3 on its unusual nine-game trip to Chicago and St. Louis. The Yankees split two games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and then had another split in their four-game set on Chicago’s South Side.
Conor Gillaspie had two hits and drove in a run for the White Sox, who had won eight consecutive home games against New York before Saturday’s 4-3 loss in 10 innings. Gillaspie is batting .364 (20 for 55) in his past 15 games.
Andre Rienzo (4-1) struck out seven in five innings, but allowed four earned runs and seven hits.
“It seemed all day he was working from behind,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He wasn’t getting ahead. He just wasn’t as sharp as he’s been in previous outings – and it cost him.”
Jeter once again heard loud cheers throughout the day in what likely was his final game in Chicago. The 13-time All-Star plans to retire after the season.
“It’s one of my favorite cities, and the way the fans have treated me these two series here, it’s been tremendous,” Jeter said. “It’s something I’ll always remember.”
The White Sox showed a video highlighting Jeter’s background before the game and presented the 39-year-old shortstop with three gifts: a baseball-themed bench made by former White Sox and Yankees player Ron Kittle, enclosed infield clay from the shortstop area at U.S. Cellular Field and a $5,000 donation to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
Jeter waved to the sellout crowd of 39,142 after he received the gifts from White Sox slugger Paul Konerko, who also plans to retire after the season. He also acknowledged the home dugout, where the White Sox applauded the pregame ceremony from the top step.
Once the game started, it was all business for the captain.
Jeter drove in Roberts with his second single in the second. He tripled past diving center fielder Adam Eaton in the fourth and scored on Rienzo’s wild pitch, and then added another run-scoring single in the sixth.
“Man. He’s good,” Rienzo said. “The first one is cutter, the second one is inside, and the third is cutter, too. He’s a winner. I hope I would win, but it’s OK.”
The crowd gave Jeter a standing ovation when he batted for the last time in the eighth, and then applauded again when he struck out swinging to end the inning. It was Jeter’s first four-hit game since a 9-6 loss at the White Sox on Aug. 20, 2012.
New York’s 10-hit attack was more than enough for Tanaka, who allowed one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. The Japanese right-hander struck out six and walked two in his 10th major league start.
Tanaka was coming off a 6-1 loss to the lowly Cubs on Tuesday that ended his unbeaten streak at 42 regular-season starts.
“I wanted the ball to go down and that’s why I made some tweaks to my mechanics,” Tanaka said through a translator.
Tanaka had been 34-0 in Japan and North America the last two seasons, though he did drop Game 6 of the Japan Series last year before earning the save in Game 7.
NOTES: It was Jeter’s first triple since New York’s 22-9 victory over Oakland on Aug. 25, 2011. … Yankees RHP Michael Pineda is scheduled to pitch two innings in an extended spring training game on Tuesday. Pineda was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 6 with a shoulder muscle injury. … Yankees slugger Carlos Beltran will attempt some dry swings in New York on Monday. Beltran is out with a bone spur in his right elbow that could require surgery.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap