MINNEAPOLIS -- Derek Jeter was a huge hit from the very start in his final All-Star Game.
OK, so maybe National League starter Adam Wainwright threw something juicy for Jeter to hit.
Batting leadoff for the American League on Tuesday night at Target Field, Jeter soaked in an ovation that lasted more than a minute, then seized the moment by hitting a double. He soon crossed the plate for the game's first run.
"I was going to give him a couple pipe shots," Wainwright said in an interview during the AL's 5-3 win. "He deserved it."
After the remarks stirred controversy on social media, the right-hander said he mis-spoke.
"What I meant to say was I'm intentionally trying to throw a strike to get him out. It's what I do most of the time, almost all the time," he said. "'Piping one' is the wrong window for that. It really is. If I'm going to get taken to the slaughterhouse for saying a stupid phrase, then I deserve it. What can you do?"
For his part, Jeter said he didn't think he was being given a gift and thought Wainwright was throwing hard.
"He grooved them?" he asked. "I don't know, man. ... If he grooved it, thank you. You still have to hit it."
The double was one of Jeter's classic, opposite-field line drives to right. He singled to right field in his next at-bat, too, raising his All-Star batting average to a robust .481 -- 13 hits in 27 at-bats. That's second-best all-time for players with 20 or more at-bats, behind Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer.
The 40-year-old New York Yankees shortstop was ceremonially removed from his familiar position in the field after three innings of action, receiving one more round of revering cheers as his mom, dad, sister and nephew watched from the stands.
He showed off in the field, too.
In the top of the first, he made a slick, diving stop on Andrew McCutchen's sharp ground ball up the middle. Jeter got to his feet and fired an on-target throw to first base, but the fleet-footed McCutchen was too fast, just beating it out for a leadoff single.
McCutchen smiled and pointed at Jeter, who grinned back at the reigning NL MVP.
The Yankees captain also had a few words for his teammates. AL manager John Farrell of Boston asked Jeter to speak to the players in the clubhouse before the game.
"Just said a couple things," Jeter said.
This was the 14th time Jeter was picked as an All-Star. He's set to retire after this season. When Jeter stepped to the plate in the first inning, the crowd gave him a 63-second ovation, prompting him to wave, nod and tip his helmet several times.
Wainwright, who spoke the day before about how proud he would be to pitch to Jeter on this memorable occasion, backed up toward second base and left his glove on the mound so he could clap along with everyone else at the ballpark.
"For him to do that meant a lot to me," Jeter said.
With a wide smile, Jeter shouted a few words toward the St. Louis ace, good-naturedly encouraging him to get the inning going.
"Just saying, 'Dude, I'm not going anywhere until this ovation is starting to die down,'" Wainwright said. "So he was telling me to go, and I just thought he deserved it."