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JETER'S HRS PILING UP WITH GAMES

The record-holder for playoff games played moves into third in postseason home runs.

Given the opportunity, Derek Jeter has made the most of it.

Or, for now anyway, the third most.

With a third-inning shot to rightfield on Saturday, Jeter moved past Yankees legends Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle to take over third place on the all-time postseason home run list with 19.

Only Manny Ramirez, with 29, and Bernie Williams, 22, have more than Jeter. All three have benefited from baseball's postseason format, which has been expanded to include three rounds, and best-of-seven league championship play.

Jeter, for example, has played in a major-league-most 128 postseason games over 13 seasons, hitting 10 homers in division series, six in ALCS play and three in the World Series. Ramirez has played in 108 in 11 seasons (hitting 12 in division series play, 13 in league championship series and four in the World Series), and Williams in 121 over 12 seasons (hitting eight in ALDS play, nine in ALCS play and five in the Series).

Mantle played in only 65 postseason games - all in the World Series. Jackson played in 77 postseason games and hit two in division series play (1981), six in the ALCS and 10 in the World Series.

Jeter ranks at the top of the postseason charts in hits (160) and runs (91) and has hit in 42 of his past 50 postseason games, including 17 multihit games.

Jeter's accomplishments are enough that even his opponents have to give credit.

"What is there not to like about Derek?" Angels manager Mike Scioscia said recently. "You know, besides being very, very talented, which is obvious, there's an internal mechanism in him that you just don't see in very many players.

"He's a winner. This guy never takes a pitch off anywhere. I think that you're seeing a Hall of Famer. We're getting to see him up close, sometimes a little too close. We're playing against him this much. But, I don't know if you can, if you're going to start a franchise, you can't go wrong if you would have picked Derek Jeter as your No. 1 player 15 years ago. He's an incredible player."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

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