Andy Pettitte (7-6) settled down after another shaky first inning to win consecutive starts for the first time since April. Lyle Overbay hit a go-ahead, two-run single in a four-run fifth against Ervin Santana (5-6) as New York overcame a 3-0 deficit and split the four-game series.
New York cut short the star shortstop’s rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues after just four games following injuries Wednesday night to Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner, who hit for Jeter in the eighth. Jeter found out about 11 p.m. in Scranton, Pa., went back to his hotel, waited for his equipment and caught a ride to New York. He arrived about 2:30 a.m., fell asleep 90 minutes later.
And then woke up about 6:30 a.m. — only partly because of the early schedule he had been on during his rehabilitation routine.
“Couldn’t fall back asleep,” he said. “I was nervous going into the game. It’s almost like it’s opening day for me, even though we’re in — what are we in, July now? I lost track of the months.”
Jeter batted second in his first big league game since Oct. 13. He said after the initial injury he would return by opening day, then fractured the ankle again in April during his rehab and missed the first 91 games of the season.
Jeter turned on a 95 mph fastball in the first — “I had my mind made up yesterday that I was going to swing at the first pitch” — and sent a three-hopper up the third-base line that fell from Miguel Tejada’s throwing hand. The crowd of 40,381 screamed “De-rek Je-ter! De-rek Je-ter!”
Jeter’s ankle got more tests when he raced to third on Robinson Cano’s single up the middle and came home without a throw on Vernon Wells’ sacrifice fly to right.