The All-Star shortstop grounded into a forceout against closer Tim Wakefield as the Boston Red Sox held on for a 5-4 win Sunday night. Wakefield, who was having control problems, was surprised Jeter swung at the 2-0 pitch.
But Jeter, hitless in consecutive games for the first time this season, said, "It was a strike. He threw a knuckleball and left it over the plate."
That left the AL batting leader 0-for-5 for the game and hitless in his last 14 at-bats as his average dropped from .364 to .360.
Saberhagen retired the last 14 batters he faced and stopped his three-game winless streak, Orlando Hernandez (12-7) suffered his first loss in 46 days and Wakefield got his 14th save in 15 opportunities.
"It was ugly, but I'm glad we came out on top," Wakefield said.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the ninth on Chili Davis' leadoff double, a walk to Scott Brosius and an infield hit by Chuck Knoblauch. Then Wakefield retired Jeter as Boston beat New York for the second straight day after losing 13-3 Friday night.
"He's capable of getting people out, but anything can happen with the knuckleball," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Saberhagen gave up five hits in seven innings. He struck out three and, for the ninth time in 15 starts, didn't walk a batter.
"What made it easy for me tonight was winning that game yesterday," Saberhagen said. "If we lost the first two to the Yankees you've got to win the third."
Hernandez was 5-0 in seven starts since losing to Texas on June 16 and was 3-0 in his career against Boston. But on Sunday he gave up five runs on eight hits in five-plus innings.
Hernandez allowed the leadoff runner to reach base in each of his six innings. It finally caught up with him in the sixth when Boston broke a 2-2 tie, scoring three runs on Nomar Garciaparra's run-scoring single and Troy O'Leary's two-run homer.
Saberhagen, who had been 0-2 in his previous three starts, got stronger as the game went on. Williams drove in two runs with a triple in the first after O'Neill's double and a sacrifice fly in the third.
That bases-loaded sacrifice fly drove in Brosius, who had singled and moved up on singles by Knoblauch and O'Neill. Saberhagen didn't allow another hit.
After Williams' sacrifice fly made it 2-0, Boston cut the lead to 2-1 in the third on a double by Damon Buford and a single by Trot Nixon. The Red Sox tied the game in the fourth on Brian Daubach's 13th homer of the year.
Daubach began the sixth with a double and scored on Garciaparra's single. O'Leary, who had been 1-for-11 in his career against Hernandez, then hit his 20th homer.
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