The sellout crowd of 47,292 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday made it clear they were there mostly to see Derek Jeter one more time, standing and chanting his name for each of his at-bats.
The retiring captain didn't disappoint, even if his physically-breaking-down-by-the-second team did in a 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays and former Patchogue-Medford star Marcus Stroman.
Jeter went 2-for-5 with an RBI double in his third consecutive game with two hits. Since snapping an 0-for-28 streak on Wednesday, he is 7-for-15. His batting average is up to .254 and he has 3,457 career hits.
"He's turned it around again," Joe Girardi said. "You're seeing it again. The guy never stops fighting and never [stops] believing in himself. Obviously, it's an attitude that is infectious. It's an attitude that you want in your players."
Unfortunately for the Yankees, their 40-year-old captain might end up being the last man standing when the regular season ends next Sunday in Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the lineup, and the rest of his season is imperiled by the right hamstring strain he suffered Friday.
Mark Teixeira left Saturday's game in the fifth inning with a recurrence of soreness in his right wrist, continuing what has been an injury-plagued season. He will see his hand surgeon Sunday. He talked bravely about getting a third cortisone shot and trying to play as long as the Yankees are mathematically alive, but only eight games remain.
"Just not a good day," said Teixeira, who struck out in both at-bats against Stroman. "Joe just didn't like what he saw, so he wanted to get me out of there."
Carlos Beltran was unavailable because of continued soreness in his right elbow. Beltran's disappointing season likely is over; he sounds as if he has decided to have surgery to remove a painful bone spur. "I just can't get any more frustrated about it," he said. "I've just got to deal with it."
On Tuesday, the Yankees lost hot-hitting Martin Prado to an emergency appendectomy. They are running out of days and players. "There's not much left if we don't win out and other teams lose," Girardi said glumly.
Here are the Yankees who have appeared in more than 100 games for them this year: Ellsbury (149), Brett Gardner (142), Jeter (138), Ichiro Suzuki (136), Brian McCann (133), Teixeira (119) and Beltran (109).
In the third, Jeter singled off the glove of diving second baseman Steve Tolleson -- the son of former infielder Wayne Tolleson, who wore No. 2 with the Yankees from 1986-90 and has attended the last two games.
On Friday, Tolleson had a Yankees road No. 2 jersey in his locker. Seems some of the Blue Jays had ordered Jeter jerseys to arrive this weekend in hopes of getting them autographed.
Jeter moved to second on a wild pitch and scored the tying run -- matching Edwin Encarnacion's RBI double in the first -- when McCann beat the shift by grounding a single through the vacated shortstop hole.
Jeter slid home with the 1,920th run of his career, giving him sole possession of ninth place on the all-time list. He had been tied with Alex Rodriguez, who will get a chance to leapfrog his old friend if he returns from his suspension next season.
The Yankees went ahead 2-1 in the fourth on Francisco Cervelli's two-out RBI single. But after the Blue Jays loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, Chris Capuano (2-4) allowed a two-run double by Danny Valencia and a sacrifice fly by John Mayberry Jr. on consecutive pitches.
Stroman (11-6) allowed two runs and struck out seven in six innings as the Blue Jays snapped a six-game losing streak. The Yankees had won three in a row.
Stroman, 23, gave up eight hits, walked none and threw 107 pitches, 74 for strikes. He performed better than in his first career start at Yankee Stadium, when he gave up two runs in 32/3 innings in a 3-1 loss on June 17.
With the Yankees trailing 6-2, Jeter rocketed an RBI double into the leftfield corner in the bottom of the ninth. The fans who stayed went home happy about that, at least.
Said Gardner, "He'll probably have two more hits every game on this homestand."