NEW YORK — The New York Yankees lost the AL championship series opener and their captain when Derek Jeter broke his left ankle moments after Detroit’s Delmon Young doubled home the go-ahead run in the 12th inning, giving the Tigers a bizarre, 6-4, win on Saturday.
In a game of wild swings and wild swings of emotion, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the ninth before Raul Ibanez struck again, hitting a tying, two-run homer with two outs that turned a somber crowd into a delirious one.
And then came a little grounder up the middle that devastated the Yankees and their fans, who saw their leader writhing on the ground, screaming in pain.
Jeter rolled when he reached down in an attempt to glove Jhonny Peralta’s grounder up the middle in the 12th, planted his left foot and tumbled, landing on his stomach. Unable to move, he backflipped the ball toward second baseman Robinson Cano.
Jeter was down for about a minute and was helped up, then assisted to the dugout with manager Joe Girardi on his left and trainer Steve Donahue on his right.
“They talked about a three-month recovery period,” Girardi said. “Won’t jeopardize his career, but he will not be playing any more for us this year.”
Jeter, who extended his career record earlier in the game with his 200th postseason hit, has been playing with a sore left foot for weeks. He joined closer Mariano Rivera on the sidelines. Rivera tore a knee ligament in May while shagging fly balls before a game in Kansas City.
“It is kind of a flashback to when Mo didn’t get up,” Girardi said. “Oh, boy, if he is not getting up, something’s wrong. We have seen what he played through in the last month and a half, and the pain he has been in, and how he found a way to get (through) it. So it brought back a flashback for me.”
Eduardo Nunez will fill Jeter’s roster spot, with Jayson Nix likely taking over at shortstop.
Detroit was coasting toward a 4-0 win before the Yankees rocked Tigers closer Jose Valverde in the ninth. Valverde has allowed seven runs in three playoff games and could lose his closer’s role to Octavio Dotel.
“We really want to put our heads together and discuss it first, to be honest with you, and get together as a coaching staff and talk about it,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Ichiro Suzuki started the comeback with a two-run homer with one out, and the 40-year-old Ibanez hit another two-run drive with two outs. Three nights earlier, Ibanez hit a tying home run in the ninth against Baltimore in Game 3 of the division series and another homer in the 12th to win it.