BY ANTHONY MCCARRON
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Sunday, September 14th 2008, 10:23 PM
Derek Jeter said he'd never heard cheers during an at-bat in which he hit into a double play, so maybe that says something about the record Jeter tied during Sunday's victory over the Rays. Heck, even Jeter, who doesn't get overly jazzed about milestones, seemed touched.
Jeter had three more hits - he was 9-for-11 in the series - and matched Lou Gehrig's mark for career hits at Yankee Stadium with 1,269. Before he came to the plate in the seventh with a chance to break the record, fans showered him with encouragement as he warmed up in the on-deck circle. When he went to hit, everyone in the crowd of 54,279 stood and hollered, and they kept it up even though he bounced into a 5-4-3 twin kill.
"That felt pretty good," Jeter said. "They've seen all of them (his hits). I've been fortunate enough to play my whole career here. They've seen me grow up. They've always been great and I think they appreciate people when they play hard. I'm happy.
"It feels good. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. They always say records are made to be broken, but this one, with the Stadium closing in a week, at least I know I'm tied for it."
Said Rays manager Joe Maddon: "Jeter is chasing the ghost and he's chasing it very well."
The tying hit was an opposite-field home run that capped a nine-pitch at-bat against Rays phenom David Price, the 2007 No. 1 pick who was making his major league debut. As Jeter neared home, Price stepped off the mound and Jason Giambi stepped out of the box as fans gave Jeter a standing ovation.
They convinced him to come out for a curtain call and he went to the top step and waved his helmet.
"It's pretty special," Jeter said. "You think of the history of this organization and mention names, Lou Gehrig is right up at the top. To be tied with him for anything is something I'll always remember."
Jeter got the milestone ball from a family of four who caught it. In exchange, he gave them an autographed bat and ball and the Yankees gave them four tickets to the Stadium finale. Jeter took copies of the lineup cards home with him, too, and might have made a new rival in Price.
"He used to be my favorite player. I don't know about anymore," Price joked. "That was fun. That was the first of many battles I hope me and him have."