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National Post Sports

'You can’t even dream this stuff up': Derek Jeter had a hard time stepping into the batter’s box in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the fans over the past two weeks and all the final moments at home in a 20-season career, the always cool captain of the Yankees was about to break down.

“I almost started crying driving here today,” Jeter said Thursday night after New York’s 6-5 win over Baltimore. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job of controlling my emotions throughout the course of my career. … Today I wasn’t able to do it.”

What he was able to do was give New York one more amazing moment in a career full of them, driving in the winning run in the ninth with — what else? — an opposite-field single to right field.

Even though he was playing the first game of his career at Yankee Stadium with the team eliminated from the playoff race, Jeter leaped high with both arms raised after touching first base and was embraced by his teammates.

The 14-time All-Star then lingered on the field, seemingly not wanting to give up the only job he ever hoped to have — shortstop for the New York Yankees. (Photos: Elsa/Getty Images, Al Bello/Getty Images, Bill Kostroun/The Associated Pres, Julie Jacobson/The Associated Press)

For a Hall of Fame-bound star who authored so many of the most famous moments in recent baseball history, who shined so bright under an October spotlight, Derek Jeter also was defined by his everyday excellence throughout the summer.

His steady hands at shortstop. The feisty at-bat to spark a rally with an opposite-field single. The multimillion dollar icon who wouldn’t hesitate to bunt.

And then, of course, there were the highlights nobody will forget.

(Photos by: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images;AP Photo/Kalamazoo Gazette; AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File; AP Photo/Ed Betz, File; AP File)

Jose Bautista has tormented the Yankees this season. On Saturday, the Yankee Stadium fans returned fire, but the Blue Jays slugger got the last laugh.

And Marcus Stroman had a pleasant Saturday night too after boosting the Blue Jays to a 6-3 win in a solid start against his hometown team. The rookie earned his 11th win.

As the Jays snapped a season-high six-game losing streak, Bautista reached base five times, hit a homer and scored four runs. The seventh-inning homer inspired some hecklers and Bautista later admitted he blew kisses in return from his post in right field.

When he caught a fly ball for the final out in the seventh, he faked a toss into the seats, then kept the ball, prompting a torrent of boos.

When he came back out for the next inning, the taunting continued. Bautista tossed a warmup ball to the fans, but someone fired a ball back onto the field, and although it didn’t come close to hitting him, he figured it was time to ignore the hecklers and let his performance stand on its own.

(Photos by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Unable to play in the U.S. Open a year ago because of a doping suspension, Marin Cilic is now the tournament’s champion.

Croatia’s Cilic won his first Grand Slam title by beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday at Flushing Meadows, using 17 aces — including four in one game — and the same powerful groundstrokes that helped him eliminate Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

“This is [from] all the hard work in these last several years — and especially this last year,” Cilic said during the on-court ceremony, when he kissed his silver trophy and collected a check for US$3-million. (Photos: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images, Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.They tracked down would-be winners and somehow got them back, prolonging points that involved 10 or 20 strokes or more, extended by Djokovic’s slides and splits or Murray’s gifted anticipation. After one 30-shot masterpiece on his way to victory, Djokovic raised his right fist, bellowed, “Come on!” and windmilled his arms to rile up the crowd.Eventually, the physically demanding action proved too much for a fading Murray, and Djokovic pulled away to win 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 and reach the tournament’s semi-finals for the eighth consecutive year.“I knew coming into tonight’s match that it’s going to be tough, that he’s going to go for his shots, and the more aggressive one would win it,” the No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Djokovic said. “I’m glad I managed to stay fit in the end and pull it through.”It took a while for him to push out front in a 3-hour, 32-minute match that ended after 1 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.

They tracked down would-be winners and somehow got them back, prolonging points that involved 10 or 20 strokes or more, extended by Djokovic’s slides and splits or Murray’s gifted anticipation. After one 30-shot masterpiece on his way to victory, Djokovic raised his right fist, bellowed, “Come on!” and windmilled his arms to rile up the crowd.

Eventually, the physically demanding action proved too much for a fading Murray, and Djokovic pulled away to win 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 and reach the tournament’s semi-finals for the eighth consecutive year.

“I knew coming into tonight’s match that it’s going to be tough, that he’s going to go for his shots, and the more aggressive one would win it,” the No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Djokovic said. “I’m glad I managed to stay fit in the end and pull it through.”

It took a while for him to push out front in a 3-hour, 32-minute match that ended after 1 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays wanted to give Derek Jeter a distinctly Canadian retirement present. So they decided to put him up in a “castle” in the Rockies.During a ceremony before Sunday’s game — Jeter’s final visit to the Rogers Centre with the New York Yankees — the Jays announced the gift they’d been keeping a secret from all inquisitors: three nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs — “where the scenery takes centre stage and Mother Nature is the architect for adventures.” They billed it as “a Canadian castle of the Rockies experience.” (Photo: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

The Toronto Blue Jays wanted to give Derek Jeter a distinctly Canadian retirement present. So they decided to put him up in a “castle” in the Rockies.

During a ceremony before Sunday’s game — Jeter’s final visit to the Rogers Centre with the New York Yankees — the Jays announced the gift they’d been keeping a secret from all inquisitors: three nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs — “where the scenery takes centre stage and Mother Nature is the architect for adventures.” They billed it as “a Canadian castle of the Rockies experience.” (Photo: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Kevin Ward Jr. was remembered as a “small-town boy” who loved his sport during Thursday’s funeral for the 20-year-old dirt-track racer whose car was hit by one driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School auditorium for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of someone who began racing at a young age.

“Even if he had rough day, he always had a smile,” a tearful Dylan Swiernick said of his best friend and car-obsessed buddy. “We were just two small-town boys trying to make it in the big world. He was always working on something. It was unbelievable how smart he was.”

After the service, as Ward’s casket was taken to the hearse for the short trip to the cemetery, mourners let loose helium balloons in orange, white and black, his racing colours. (Photos: Mike Groll/The Associated Press, Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings were this close to tying the New York Rangers late in the third period of Game 4.Henrik Lundqvist, who faced 41 shots, including a lopsided third period in which the Kings outshot the home side 15-1, was both brilliant and incredibly lucky — yes, there’s that word again — in erecting a wall that just barely held, allowing the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory that let them live to see another day in the Stanley Cup final.Read the story here. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings were this close to tying the New York Rangers late in the third period of Game 4.

Henrik Lundqvist, who faced 41 shots, including a lopsided third period in which the Kings outshot the home side 15-1, was both brilliant and incredibly lucky — yes, there’s that word again — in erecting a wall that just barely held, allowing the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory that let them live to see another day in the Stanley Cup final.

Read the story here. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Former Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, front left, joins Yogi Berra, who is honoured by the U.S. Navy for his service 70 years ago in the D-Day Invasion during a ceremony, Friday, June 6, 2014,  at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, N.J. Berra was also presented with a quilt and a medal by Cmdr. Jim Wallace. (Photos: Rich Schultz/The Associated Press)

One game into the New York-Los Angeles Stanley Cup final, we’ve already had plenty of celebrity sightings. Here are Will Ferrell and Larry David at Game 1 between the Rangers and Kings at the Staples Center. The Kings won 3-2 in overtime. (Photos by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)