Yankees Top 19 Games since 2000: No. 9, Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit
Jeter cements his legend with a game for the ages to reach the notable milestone
To kick off 2019, we're unveiling our count of the Yankees' 19 best games since 2000. Historic feats, classic comebacks and postseason glory all find their way onto the list with an obvious No. 1 coming Jan. 20.
Let's continue with No. 9, the day Derek Jeter reached 3,000 hits.
Some of the greatest players in baseball history have played for the Yankees, but before Derek Jeter, none had reached 3,000 hits in pinstripes. All that changed on July 9, 2011, when Derek Jeter hit the milestone in a game against the Rays.
Jeter was sitting on 2,997 hits as the Yankees hosted the Rays for a four-game series. He doubled in the series opener off Jeff Niemann to put him within two hits with three games left to play. Unfortunately for Jeter and the fans, Friday night's game was postponed due to rain. That left Jeter two days to hit the milestone in front of the home crowd before the Yankees headed to Toronto.
Leading off for the Yankees, Jeter got one hit out of the way to open the game with a single to left field off David Price. The crowd erupted as they knew Jeter had a good chance of picking up his 3,000th hit that day.
Brett Gardner led off the third inning with a ground out to second base, which brought Jeter up for a second time. With all eyes on him, the veteran shortstop worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Price before launching a ball deep to left field, which ultimately landed in the second deck of the left-center field bleachers. His teammates, members of the Rays and fans celebrated the Captain's historic achievement.
Jeter became the second player in MLB history to homer for his 3,000th hit, joining Wade Boggs. Alex Rodriguez eventually became the third player -- and second Yankee after Jeter -- to accomplish the feat in 2015.
Jeter was able to relax the rest of the game after getting his 3,000th hit out of the way. With the Yankees trailing 3-2, Jeter led off the fifth inning with a double. Curtis Granderson followed that up with a single to drive in Jeter. Robinson Cano knocked in Granderson with a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead.
Jeter came up again in the sixth inning and singled to right field. He was 4-for-4 on the day and had a chance to pick up a fifth hit. Ben Zobrist drove in Johnny Damon for the Rays in the seventh inning to tie the game.
With the game now knotted, Jeter had a chance to be a hero in the eighth inning as he was due up third. Eduardo Nuñez led off the inning with a double, and Gardner sacrificed to advance Nuñez to third base.
Jeter followed that with his fifth hit of the day, a single to center field to drive in Nuñez, which proved to be the game's winning run. David Robertson picked up the win, and Mariano Rivera got the save as the Yankees came out on top, 5-4.
The perfect day for Jeter only added to his legend and the sense that he had a knack of pulling off feats like this throughout his career.