NEW YORK — Derek Jeter didn’t want the night to end.
The retiring captain gave New York one more win with a big hit, then took two trips out to shortstop, waving to the adoring crowd each time following his final home game at Yankee Stadium.
Soon after his game-winning single in the ninth inning sent the Yankees over Baltimore 6-5 Thursday, Jeter said that he played his last game at the position. He said he would only serve as designated hitter in his final three games in Boston this weekend.
“I want to take something special from Yankee Stadium,” Jeter said in a news conference shown on the center field video board, with many fans still in their seats. “The view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take.”
As if on cue, Jeter began his last game in pinstripes with a double and ended it with another amazing moment in a career full of them.
“You can’t even dream this stuff up,” manager Joe Girardi said.
He was embraced by his teammates near second base as his Core Four buddies — Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada — came onto the field along with former manager Joe Torre.
“Sort of an out-of-body experience,” Jeter said.
Jeter pointed and waved to the crowd as he walked out to the position he manned for 20-seasons. In an image seen before nearly every one of his 1,391 games at Yankee Stadium, Jeter faced the outfield and crouched down for a moment of reflection.
He then answered a few questions, said hello to his family who moved to the front row near the Yankees dugout for the final two innings, and greeted the teammates he won five World Series championships with.
Once more he took a slow walk across the diamond, covering his face with a towel several times and waving to the crowd as they chanted his name and “Thank you, Jeter!”
All across the majors, players saluted the 40-year-old star.
“Wow,” Boston slugger David Ortiz said, breaking into a grin and shaking his head after the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay. “That’s him. Perfect. It was unbelievable.”
Moments after Detroit beat Minnesota to move a step closer to winning the AL Central, the Tigers’ clubhouse at Comerica Park came to a near-standstill in the aftermath of Jeter’s winning hit. Many players simply stood in silence and watched the postgame scene unfolding in New York on TV.
“You could see it coming when the inning started,” reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer said. “We were sitting in the lunchroom. It was like, ‘Jeter’s hitting third. He’s going to walk it off.’ We knew it.”
Jeter hit a double off the top of the left-center field wall in the first inning.
“Did you expect any less?” Pettitte said.
With a packed house cheering his every move from the moment he ran out to stretch, and some tickets going for $10,000 each, Jeter’s farewell in the Bronx began on time after a dreary day.
The retiring 40-year-old New York shortstop waved to fans in the box seats as he came to the on-deck circle in the first inning. After a standing ovation that lasted nearly a minute, he launched a long drive that just missed being a home run.
Sitting in a suite, Jeter’s dad stood and cheered as the ball banged off the wall for an RBI double.
The drive off Kevin Gausman, who was 4 when Jeter made his debut in 1995, was the 3,462nd hit of No. 2’s career, good for sixth on the career list. Jeter wound up scoring on a grounder as the crowd roared once again.
“It didn’t surprise me,” Pettitte said on the Yankees’ telecast.
The final player to wear a single-digit number for the Yankees was coincidentally playing his final home game on the 46th anniversary of Mickey Mantle’s last game in the Bronx, played across the street at the old stadium.
The Yankees showed several tribute videos to Jeter on the center field video board and Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” played just before gametime. Many other former teammates gave video tributes between innings.
The captain led the team out of the dugout — as usual — and the cheering began in earnest — rarely letting up when Jeter was on the field. He took several deep breaths when he settled in at shortstop and waved to the crowd before the first pitch.
Not everything was perfect for the player with a charmed 20-season career and five World Series championships.
The Bleacher Creatures roll call was interrupted just as they got to a thunderous chant of “De-rek Je-ter!” That’s when Baltimore’s Nick Markakis led off the game with a home run, but Jeter still waved to the crew out in right-center field. Alejandro de Aza nearly silenced the crowd by connecting again.
But as they have throughout the Yankees’ final homestand, nearly 50,000 fans stood in unison, with their camera lights shining and began cheering as a recording of longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard’s introduction of Jeter played ahead of his first at-bat.
“I’ve been a Yankee fan since I was in second grade. I’m originally from New York. I was there for all of the World Series from the ‘90s through 2001 and then I moved to Denver,” said Jim Deak, 46, who flew in from Colorado. “He’s the greatest Yankee I’ve ever witnessed.”
Jeter grounded to shortstop to end the second. In the field, he made a nifty grab to start a double play — with help from replay review. He ranged behind second base to field Adam Jones’ bouncer and flipped to Stephen Drew to start the turn.