Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Raul Ibanez lined a ninth-inning home run while pinch hitting for slumping Alex Rodriguez, then hit a leadoff homer in the 12th, giving the New York Yankees a stunning 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their AL division series.
Raul Ibanez, 27, celebrates with his New York Yankees teammates Wednesday night after hitting the 12th-inning homer that provided a 3-2 victory against Baltimore in Game 3.
The Associated Press
WHO: Baltimore Orioles (Saunders) at New York Yankees (Hughes)
SERIES: Yanks lead, 2-1
Batting for baseball's highest-paid player, Ibanez homered to right-center with one out in the ninth inning off major league saves leader Jim Johnson to tie it at 2. He then hit the first pitch from Brian Matusz leading off the 12th.
Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.
Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games and had been 76-0 when leading after seven before the Yankees stung them.
"It was a great experience. We do it as a team. We stay after it," Ibanez said. "I'm blessed to come up and have the opportunity like that. We do it together. It's about a team and about winning."
Ibanez got that chance after Yankees Manager Joe Girardi made the decision to bat for Rodriguez -- the first time A-Rod had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.
Yankees fans had been calling this week for Girardi to get Rodriguez out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order. But Girardi was reluctant to move his fading slugger down in the lineup.
Until he took him all the way out.
"You have to make some decisions sometimes that are tough decisions. I just had a gut feeling," Girardi said.
Rodriguez has 647 career home runs -- he's chasing the all-time record of 762 by Barry Bonds -- but was just 1 for 12 with no RBI and seven strikeouts in this series when Girardi pulled him.
"He said, 'Do what you've got to do,' " Girardi said, recalling Rodriguez's reaction.
"You're going to be asked a lot of questions if it doesn't work," the manager said.
The brash, young Orioles appeared poised to move within a game of their first trip to the AL Championship Series since 1997.
But Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch into the seats, setting off a raucous celebration in what had been a demoralized Yankee Stadium crowd.
Rodriguez led the cheers, raising an arm in the dugout and high-fiving injured star Mariano Rivera, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"He said great job. A-Rod is a great teammate and great team player," Ibanez said. "He's the first one on the top step congratulating you. It's about winning. It's about the Yankees and continuing."
Now the Yankees have their chance to put away the Orioles for good.
After their 10-game July lead was cut to zero in early September, the Yankees repelled every Orioles charge. The teams were tied 10 times in the final month but New York ended up atop the division.
New York won the opener in Baltimore, scoring five runs in the ninth off Johnson.
The Orioles won Game 2 and rode Miguel Gonzalez's pretty performance to a 2-1 lead in the ninth.
But the Yankees limited Baltimore to one hit after Manny Machado homered in the fifth. Ryan Flaherty -- a Portland native who played for Deering High -- homered earlier for the Orioles.
Robert Andino was doubled off second after leading off the ninth with a single and advancing on a sacrifice.
Boone Logan got one out in relief of Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up two solo homers in 81/3 innings. Closer Rafael Soriano pitched 11/3 innings and David Robertson went two, finishing off his outing by bumping into and tagging Andino to end the top of the 12th.
Derek Jeter tied the score with an RBI triple in the third for the Yankees.
Jeter, limping because of a sore ankle, came out after eight innings.