Derek Jeter ended a home run drought of 161 at-bats in his final regular-season game against the Los Angeles Angels, and the Yankees kept Hector Santiago winless in seven starts with a 9-2 victory on Wednesday night.
Vidal Nuno (1-0) allowed a run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out three and retired 14 of his last 15 batters. The left-hander's only other victory in seven big league starts was May 13 of last season, when he pitched five scoreless innings of three-hit ball at Cleveland in a 7-0 decision.
Unless both clubs meet in the playoffs, this was Jeter's swan song against the Angels, who dropped two of three in the Bronx 1 1-2 weeks ago. Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick carried a 12-foot-long pinstriped paddleboard with Jeter's No. 2 and the Yankee logo to the middle of the diamond and presented it to him following a milestone-studded video tribute as the sellout crowd of 44,083 roared its approval.
Former Yankee Raul Ibanez pinch-hit in the seventh for John McDonald and snapped an 0 for 18 drought with a single that loaded the bases, after Dellin Betances inherited a 6-1 lead from Nuno. But Collin Cowgill stranded three runners for the second time in the game, lining out to center field.
Jeter got a standing ovation before his final at-bat during the Yankees' three-run eighth. He hit a fielder's choice comebacker to reliever Cory Rasmus for a force at the plate after a two-run single by John Ryan Murphy, and Carlos Beltran added a sacrifice fly.
Santiago (0-6) was charged with six runs, five hits and three walks in 2 1-3 innings, throwing 30 of his 58 pitches during the Yankees' five-run first. Four of the runs were unearned, the result of errors by Santiago and right fielder Cowgill. The left-hander, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, also lost a 4-3 decision on April 26 at Yankee Stadium.
Santiago found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam after 13 pitches — and by the time the first inning ended, New York had staked Nuno to a 5-0 lead. Cowgill bumped into Trout on Jeter's routine flyball as he camped under it, and the ball glanced off Trout's glove to give the Yankees runners at the corners.
Cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira followed a walk to Beltran with a two-run double inside third base, and Yangervis Solarte hit a sacrifice fly. Brett Gardner made it all the way to second when Santiago fielded his dribbler and threw past first baseman Pujols. A wild pitch followed, and Gardner scored on Brian Roberts' single.
Jeter made it 6-0 in the second with a two-out drive to left-center for his 257th career homer and first since July 28, 2013, against Tampa Bay's Matt Moore at New York. In Monday's series opener, the Yankees' captain doubled to end a drought of 55 at-bats without an extra-base hit.
Eleven of Jeter's last 12 home runs have been solo shots, including one against Santiago when he pitched for the White Sox in August 2012.