With one out Eduardo Nunez hit a hard grounder down the third base line that caught umpire Jerry Meals on the right knee as he tried to jump out of the way — as he came down, Meals smoothly motioned the ball was fair. It landed near the shortstop.
Whether or not the fans knew the ball deflected off the umpire who made an incorrect call to end a Yankees' loss in Baltimore a week ago, they booed heartily when Nunez ended up only on first base.
"I said to home plate umpire Scott Barry 'That might be the best play he made in his life,'" Gimenez said. "It was much needed after the series we just had."
But the fans then broke out into a sustained standing ovation when Jeter hit an infield single off Johnson's glove at second base to pass Mays.
"It's kind of tough to think about it now, but yeah, it's pretty special," Jeter said. "Right now, there's a pennant race to think about."
Johnson didn't miss next time, though.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Rodriguez hit a sharp grounder. Johnson, shifted toward second base, made a diving stop in the hole and threw out A-Rod to end the threat.
Steve Pearce gave the Yankees the early lead a with an RBI single.
The Rays added a run in the ninth against Joba Chamberlain when Nunez, filling in at shortstop, made an error on Longoria's routine grounder.
NOTES: Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (broken left ankle) threw off the main mound, and worked on his pickoff moves and covering first base. He's set to make his first start since late June on Tuesday against Toronto. He'll be limited to about 70 pitches.
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