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Jeter Takes Heat Off Struggling Offense With Mental Blunder In Field

Derek Jeter (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Derek Jeter jogged nonchalantly down the left field line with the ball in his glove, thinking the play was over.

For a star with a resume full of memorable moments, he then nearly made a blunder worthy of a blooper reel.

Jeter’s rare mental mistake helped give Kyle Seager his second triple Monday night to go along with a homer and a double in the Seattle Mariners’ 10-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

“I almost gave it to a fan,” Jeter said. “I thought for sure the ball was foul because I was in foul territory.”

The play that confused the Yankees captain came in the fourth inning, when Seager hit a blooper down the line that bounced off the glove of sliding left fielder Brett Gardner. Jeter was also giving chase and had a chance to make the catch off the deflection, but couldn’t come up with it.

With his back to third base umpire Brian Gorman, Jeter did not see the fair signal. When he corralled the ball in foul ground, he took several more steps toward the corner. He looked surprised when he turned, and his throw to third was too late.

“It was a weird play,” Seager said. “I basically just kept running.”

Yankees starter David Phelps (1-3) hollered “throw the ball!” as Seager headed to third. After the play was over, Jeter could be seen on television saying “I thought it was foul” as he walked back to the infield.

“I don’t fault him one bit. My emotions got the best of me,” Phelps said. “I was trying to scream at him to get his attention, hoping he didn’t throw the ball into the stands.”

Jeter’s mental error helped the Mariners clobber New York, but a Yankees offense that has only averaged two runs in the last four games was just as much to blame.

“We’re not a club right now that’s hitting the ball out of the ballpark, so you have to put a lot of base hits together,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “And we’re not hitting a lot of doubles either, so you have to put a lot of base hits together.”

Gardner suggested it was too early to be concerned.

“We’ve had spurts where we’ve played good baseball, and then recently we haven’t scored as many runs as we would have liked,” he said.

It was the Yankees’ third loss in four games, and it’s only going to get harder. A three-game series against AL-best Oakland is on tap.

“You can’t get frustrated with a 162-game schedule,” Jeter said. “You’ve got to stay optimistic.”

Phelps needed all the help he could get to stay close with Felix Hernandez, and the Yankees right-hander did through six innings.

But Brad Miller had a two-run single in the seventh that chased Phelps after the Yankees lost a challenge on a sacrifice bunt. Michael Saunders added another single for two RBIs off Matt Thornton to break open a tie game.

The Yankees missed Hernandez (8-1) in April because of the rainout and they certainly wished they had not faced the Mariners’ ace Monday. King Felix has been on quite a roll.

The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has not lost in nine starts dating to April 21. He was touched for two runs in the fourth when he kicked out his foot and redirected Ichiro Suzuki’s grounder up the middle for a two-run single.

“Oh, my God,” Hernandez said. “I should have not kicked that.”

Hernandez gave up eight hits and two runs in seven innings. He struck out eight without allowing a walk. Hernandez last won five starts in a row in 2009. He improved to 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA at the current Yankee Stadium.

Seattle, which won games in the Bronx on April 29 and May 1, took all three games in New York for the first time since sweeping three in 2002. The Mariners have won three straight overall.

Seager became the first major leaguer to hit two triples and at least one homer and one double since Hal Breeden for Montreal in 1973, STATS said. The last AL player to do it was Hoot Evers for Detroit in 1950.

“That’s definitely a special one,” Seager said. “That’s definitely one I’ll remember, for sure.”

Seager scored three runs and drove in three.

Seager homered with two outs off Alfredo Aceves in the ninth three batters after Michael Saunders hit a home run.

Robinson Cano was again relentlessly booed by Yankees fans, this time in a makeup of a game washed out April 30. In the lineup after sitting four straight with a bruised left hand, he went 1 for 3 with two walks. The former New York second baseman drew a mocking cheer when he was caught too far off first by Phelps.

NOTES: Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome’s Jockey, Victor Espinoza, and Alan Sherman, the son of 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman and his top assistant, threw out ceremonial first pitches.

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