NEW YORK (AP) -- Derek Jeter beat the Oakland Athletics every way he could.
With his guile and athleticism in the field and his steady bat at the plate, Jeter was the biggest reason why the New York Yankees rallied from two games down to win three straight games against Oakland to advance the ALCS.
Jeter contributed two more hits Monday night -- breaking Pete Rose's record for most career postseason hits -- drove in a run and made a circus catch as the Yankees beat the A's 5-3.
''I guess that's the reason he's wearing so many rings. That kid's as good as they come,'' Oakland manager Art Howe said. ''Whenever they need a big play, he's there to make it. Whenever they need a big hit, he gets it.''
Jeter said he never doubted that the Yankees would win the best-of-five series after dropping the first two games at home, even though no team had ever accomplished that feat.
Then again, why should he? Jeter has known nothing else but winning in the postseason during his career.
''We weren't really focused on making history,'' Jeter said. ''When we were down, we just focused on winning one game at a time. I think sometimes when teams get down they try to win two games in one night. I think a lot of times people look at the big picture.''
The Yankees have won four World Series in Jeter's six seasons and are seven wins away from giving him a fifth title. He has only lost one series in his postseason career.
Other shortstops might put up flashier numbers, but no one wins as consistently as Jeter.
''From 1996, when I first met the young man, he's had that look in his eye,'' manager Joe Torre said. ''It's a look that you don't teach. ... He's a true leader at a very early age.''
Jeter went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in Game 5,raising his average for the series to .444. His 87 postseason hits are one more than the record previously held by Hit King Pete Rose.
He also shined in the field again. With a runner on first in the eighth, he dived headlong into the photographer's box behind third base to catch Terrence Long's foul pop. The runner advanced, but was stranded, and after the inning Jeter bandaged his elbow cut.
''I thought it was going to be more painful than it was,'' Jeter said. ''As I was falling down I was waiting for it to hurt. It was like I was waiting to hit something, but I fell flat on my back.''
But the biggest play Jeter made came in Game 3 and turned the whole series around.
With the Yankees holding on to a precarious 1-0 lead in the seventh inning and Jeremy Giambi on first, Long lined a double down the right-field line.
While the slow-footed Giambi ran toward home, Shane Spencer overthrew two cutoff men. Out of nowhere came Jeter, who raced across the diamond, grabbed the ball halfway up the first-base line and made a sidearm flip from foul territory to Posada, who scraped the back of Giambi's leg with a tag.
Jeter said the play was routine, but it was anything but.
''One of the biggest plays was Jeter's hustle,'' Jason Giambi said. ''If he was standing around like every other shortstop in the world, it's a tie game.''
That preserved the lead and started the comeback.
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