Playing for the first time this season, the shortstop homered on his first at-bat, setting the tone for the victory.
NEW YORK — Derek Jeter was feeling nostalgic.
He homered for a big hit. He took part in Hideki Matsui's retirement ceremony. Then he watched Alfonso Soriano running up the first base line with his arms held out wide, flashing that electric grin.
"A lot of great memories here with Sori," he said, "and it was almost like old times."
The newly reacquainted duo created another memory Sunday.
Jeter connected on the first pitch he saw to give the Yankees a jolt in his return from the disabled list and Soriano made the captain a winner with a game-ending single that lifted New York over the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Playing with Jeter for the first time since being re-acquired by New York from the Cubs on Friday, Soriano homered among his first four hits with the Yankees and drove in three runs.
"I remember from 2001 to 2003, nothing changed," Soriano said. "We get old but, more important, he loves the game, I love the game."
The 37-year-old Soriano and the 39-year-old Jeter were teammate from 1999 until Soriano was traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez after the 2003 season, but they hadn't played together this season because Jeter was still out with a strained quadriceps. The Yankees lost Soriano's first two games and he was 0 for 8.
But Jeter was activated from the DL for the second time this month and homered against Matt Moore in the first, sending a drive to right-center that ended the Yankees' nine-game homerless drought. He went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
"He's a movie, that's what he is," manager Joe Girardi said.
Soriano gave it a happy ending.
Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk from Jake McGee (2-3) in the ninth. McGee then switched belts on his uniform before facing Jeter, threw a wild pitch and received a visit from manager Joe Maddon.
The decision: walk Jeter intentionally.
"I don't want to name the manufacturer right now, don't want to cause any kind of disgrace or concern there, but I don't think I've ever seen that," Maddon said of McGee's belt, which broke at a crucial moment in the game.
After Robinson Cano struck out, Soriano hit a sharp bouncer up the middle for the win. He was mobbed by his teammates and doused with a liquid during a postgame interview.
Mariano Rivera (2-2), the Yankees' fourth reliever, got three groundball outs in the ninth.
Rookie Wil Myers homered twice and drove in four runs against beleaguered Yankees starter Phil Hughes and Kelly Johnson had an RBI double, but the AL East leaders lost for only the fourth time in 25 games.
Ichiro Suzuki had four hits and drove in a run on fellow Japanese star Matsui's bobblehead day. Matsui signed his retirement papers in an on-field ceremony before the game in front of the third sellout at Yankee Stadium this season, with Jeter standing alongside him.
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|Central Conn St||73|
|Central Penn College||72||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||59||FINAL|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St||34||FINAL|