TORONTO - As Derek Jeter came up to bat with two outs in the ninth, Toronto Blue Jays fans rose to their feet and started to cheer.
Although the game-tying runner was on third base, Toronto fans still gave the retiring New York Yankees captain a standing ovation on Sunday as he faced off with Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen with the 4-3 game in the balance.
"The way the fans have treated me everywhere I've gone this year is something that I never expected," said Jeter. "It's what I'll definitely take out of this last year when it's over with. I've gotten a lot of respect from the fans and that's who you play the games for — the baseball fans.
"Even if they're not necessarily Yankees fans they've treated me with warm ovations and you appreciate that as a player."
Jeter flared out to Toronto second baseman Steve Tolleson, stranding pinch runner Ichiro Suzuki on third and sealing the Blue Jays' win.
"He's an unbelievable competitor, he's as clutch as they come," Janssen said of Jeter. "Being a competitor myself I embraced the opportunity to battle it out. He's had a heck of a career and I'm glad the Toronto people appreciated him like they did because he's one of a kind."
Jeter was glad he had one last chance at the plate in Toronto, especially with the game on the line.
"Those are the fun situations. You want to be in those situations," said Jeter. "I don't think I've had much success off of Janssen, but you're trying to get a hit like always. I always like those positions."
Jeter was honoured in a pre-game ceremony with Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle and right-fielder Jose Bautista presenting him with a three-night stay in the royal suite of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Alberta. The vacation includes a helicopter tour of the Canadian Rockies, a private cooking lesson with the hotel's executive chef and a private mixology class.
"That's a pretty awesome gift to get, I'll definitely use that one," said Jeter, who has received farewell gifts from every Major League team as he completes his last series at each ballpark.
The Blue Jays also donated $10,000 to Jeter's Turn2 Foundation, which encourages drug and alcohol-free lifestyles for youth.
A montage of some of Jeter's best plays and his many awards and accolades was shown on the Rogers Centre's Jumbotron during the ceremony. The short video highlighted the surefire Hall of Famer's many accomplishments, including his 14 all-star awards, five World Series championships and 2000 World Series MVP.
Fans in attendance gave Jeter a standing ovation throughout the ceremony, loudly applauding as he accepted the gifts.
Toronto also honoured Jeter throughout the game with specially made bases with plates on the side that show the Yankees and Blue Jays logos, as well as a crest with his No. 2 on a pinstripe background.
After the game Jeter said that he would miss regularly visiting Toronto, even if the Blue Jays had been a thorn in his side.
"I just like the city. There's a lot of nice restaurants, I like walking around. I've just always enjoyed coming to this city," said Jeter. "Their team has played us especially tough here, so baseball wise I don't know if I'll miss it that much but I'll definitely miss this city."
The admiration for Jeter was apparent throughout the game, with the sold-out crowd of 45,678 cheering his every plate appearance.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had Jeter in the lineup as New York's designated hitter, trying to save the 40-year-old shortstop wear and tear as the team chases a wild card berth.
The reduced workload seemed to help Jeter, as he went 1-for-5 on Sunday, compared to his 0-for-4 performance in the Yankees' 2-0 loss on Saturday.
Jeter hit a single in his first at bat, following Brett Gardner's solo shot to right field on just the second pitch of the game. Martin Prado then hit into a double play, with Mark Teixiera striking out to end the first inning.
In the third inning Jeter ground out to second baseman Munenori Kawasaki.
With New York leading 3-0, Jeter flied out to Toronto's Melky Cabrera in left field for the second out of the fifth inning. He ground out to pitcher J.A. Happ in the top of the seventh, ending the inning with the Yankees maintaining a 3-2 lead.
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