ANAHEIM, Calif. - A series that started with Joe Girardi fielding questions about dropping a slumping Derek Jeter in the lineup didn't end that way.
Jeter responded with two hits in Monday's first game and another one Tuesday night.
Honored on the field before Wednesday night's game, Jeter outdid himself, rediscovering, at least for a swing, a power stroke many thought was long gone. He homered in the Yankees' 9-2 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 44,083, many of whom were cheering loudly for the Bombers, at Angel Stadium.
"You at least like to get one," said Jeter, who had been joking with Brian Roberts before Tuesday's game about who between them would get his first homer. "But I'm not catching Babe Ruth or anything. But it's good to get one."
The Yankees (18-15), who start a three-game series Friday in Milwaukee, took two of three from the Angels (16-17).
Jeter, presented with a paddleboard during a brief pregame ceremony, went 2-for-5, including his first home run in 161 at-bats dating to last July 28, a solo shot to left-center against lefthander Hector Santiago.
"Guess I was young for the first 20- something games and I was old the last five," Jeter said Monday, entering the series in a 3-for-28 skid and hitless in 13 straight at-bats. "So I'm going to try and get young again."
Jeter, 39, finished the series 5-for-11.
Afterward, reminded of the comment, Jeter smiled.
"I feel young, yes."
Roberts' homer gave the Yankees a 4-3 victory Tuesday night and Jeter followed last night. Neither saw the other's blast. Jeter said he was in the bathroom when Roberts went deep.
Last night, believe it or not, Roberts felt nature's call.
"I was coming up the stairs and he got to the top step [of the dugout]. He was there looking for me," Roberts said. "I was looking up at him and said, 'I was in the bathroom, sorry.'"
Lefty Vidal Nuño had plenty of eyes on him, with the California native providing nearly 50 family and friends with tickets. After two straight poor starts, he made a strong bid to stay in the rotation, allowing one run and four hits in 61/3 innings.
"Just mixing up speeds and having control of my two-seamer," Nuño said. "I got pretty much first-pitch outs today and that helped me."
As did a five-run eruption from his offense, aided by a critical error in the outfield.
After Santiago, walked leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury. Jeter lifted a fly ball to short right-center. Centerfielder Mike Trout called for the ball but so did rightfielder Collin Cowgill. The two lightly collided as the ball hit Trout's glove -- Cowgill was charged with the error -- giving the Yankees runners at the corners.
After Carlos Beltran walked to load the bases, Mark Teixeira hit a two-rund double down the leftfield line. Yangervis Solarte's sacrifice fly made it 3-0. Brett Gardner then hit a chopper in front of the plate that Santiago fielded but threw wildly to first, allowing Teixeira to score and Gardner to take second. Roberts followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0.
Garder had a two-run single in the eighth, but the talk afterward was, as you'd expect, about Jeter.
"Absolutely," Joe Girardi said of Jeter drawing motivation from the pre-series talk. "He's always been extremely driven and when he's struggling, you know he's going to do everything in his power to get going again and that's what he did."