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Fearless captain Jeter leads Yankees to victory

by editor2
October 4th, 2006

Fearless captain Jeter leads Yankees to victory
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) – New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter went five-for-five at the plate to help his team win their playoff opener on Tuesday, showing a level of resolve that his manager said epitomised the shortstop’s approach to the game.
“He just seems to relish this atmosphere,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said after watching his shortstop slash two singles, two doubles and his 17th career post-season homer in New York’s 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“He’s been so big for us for 11 years here. I can’t say I’m surprised.”
Jeter, who has played in the post-season in every one of his seasons with the Yankees, also contributed with his glove, starting a difficult double play to help the Yankees escape a one-out jam with runners on first and third in the third inning.
Torre said Jeter’s accustomed playoff heroics were linked to his personality and competitive drive.
“I guess the only way you characterise it for me, he doesn’t go up there thinking negatively,” the manager said.
“Failing doesn’t scare him and I think that’s a big part of what his make-up is all about.”
Bobby Abreu, who bats behind Jeter in the number three spot, took advantage of his captain’s brilliance, driving in four runs to help the Bronx Bombers draw first blood in the best-of-five American League divisional series.
“That guy is amazing,” Abreu, who joined the Yanks in a late season trade with Philadelphia, said of Jeter.
“Watching him play, it’s amazing. That guy, he’s a gamer, he’s a leader and you can learn a lot of things from him.”
Jeter, who finished second in this season’s AL batting race with a .343 average, said staying positive was the key.
“Well, you’re going to fail more than you succeed in baseball. That’s the bottom line,” he said.
“We’ve been in this position a lot. We’ve been in a lot of post-season games. So you can’t be afraid to fail. I mean, you always have to stay positive.
“You’re not always going to come through. There’s been plenty of times that I haven’t.
“But when I’m in that situation, I feel as though I’m going to produce.”
The Yankees, who last won the World Series in 2000, host Game Two on Wednesday.
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