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Ibanez plays hero twice, propels Yanks to walk-off win in 12th over O's in Game 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- The highest-paid player in baseball could only sit and watch when Raul Ibanez pinch hit for him and tied the game with a bottom-of-the-ninth home run.

Alex Rodriguez had another good view from the dugout three innings later when Ibanez homered to win it.

Saved by manager Joe Girardi's gutsy move -- and Ibanez's big swings -- the New York Yankees rallied for a stunning 3-2 win in the 12th over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-5 AL Division Series.

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"You're going to be asked a lot of questions if it doesn't work," Girardi said.

The slumping Rodriguez, among the greatest power hitters in history, offered no complaint, telling Girardi: "Joe, you gotta do exactly what you gotta do."

"Maybe 10 years ago I would have reacted in a much different way," A-Rod said.

Ibanez then stepped up and hit a tying, solo shot to right-center with one out in the ninth off major league saves leader Jim Johnson to make it 2-all.

Yankees fans had been howling this week for Girardi to drop 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 -- and is making $29 million this year. But was just 1 for 12 with no RBI and seven strikeouts in this series when Girardi pulled him.

"It kind of caught me off-guard, hitting for a guy who's half-a-billionaire," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said.

It was the first time Rodriguez had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.

And it worked.

Rodriguez immediately turned to injured Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, raised one arm, then both arms and traded high-fives with his star teammate. When Ibanez returned to the bench, Rodriguez was the first player to greet him.

"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."

Ibanez remained in the game and connected on the first pitch from Brian Matusz in the 12th.

Ibanez became the first player to homer twice in a postseason game in which he didn't start, STATS said.

Phil Hughes will try to clinch it for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4. 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."

The brash, young Orioles appeared poised to move within a win of their first trip to the AL Championship Series since 1997 before the Yankees' comeback.

Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch into the seats in the ninth, setting off a raucous celebration in what had been a demoralized Yankee Stadium crowd.

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 20-year-old Manny Machado homered in the fifth. Ryan Flaherty homered earlier for the Orioles.

Robert Andino was doubled off second after leading off the Baltimore 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 8 1-3 innings. Closer Rafael Soriano pitched 1 1/3 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 after fouling a ball off his foot, came out after eight innings. He says we will be able to play Thursday.

Notes

Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Raul Ibanez, who receives a hero's welcome at home plate, says he's 'blessed to come up and have the opportunity like that.' (US Presswire)
Raul Ibanez, who receives a hero's welcome at home plate, says he's 'blessed to come up and have the opportunity like that.' (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
New York

R. Ibanez
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Baltimore

M. Gonzalez
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 0
K 8
 

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Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Nate McLouth, LF5020001 .308
J.J. Hardy, SS5000022 .083
Chris Davis, RF2000100 .400
    Endy Chavez, RF1000010 .000
Adam Jones, CF5010011 .154
Matt Wieters, C5000002 .077
Jim Thome, DH5000011 .000
Mark Reynolds, 1B4010010 .273
Ryan Flaherty, 2B3111003 .250
    Robert Andino, 2B2010001 .429
Manny Machado, 3B3111010 .100
Totals4027217  
Batting
HR - Ryan Flaherty (1, Kuroda), Manny Machado (1, Kuroda)
SH - Manny Machado (1)
RBI - Ryan Flaherty (1), Manny Machado (1)
SB - Nate McLouth (1, 2nd base off Kuroda/Martin)
CS - Nate McLouth (1, 2nd base by Kuroda/Martin)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Reynolds-Hardy
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Miguel Gonzalez 7511080 1.29
Darren O'Day (H,2) 1000010 0.00
Jim Johnson (BS,1) 2111011 13.50
Brian Matusz (L,0-1) 1111011 2.70
Pitches-Strikes - Miguel Gonzalez 99-69, Darren O'Day 12-8, Jim Johnson 22-16, Brian Matusz 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Miguel Gonzalez 6-6, Darren O'Day 1-1, Jim Johnson 1-4
Batters Faced - Miguel Gonzalez 25, Darren O'Day 3, Jim Johnson 7, Brian Matusz 4
New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Derek Jeter, SS4021020 .462
    Jayson Nix, SS1000000 .000
Ichiro Suzuki, LF5000002 .200
Alex Rodriguez, DH3000021 .083
   a- Raul Ibanez, PH-DH2222000 .600
Robinson Cano, 2B4000011 .167
Nick Swisher, RF4010010 .200
Mark Teixeira, 1B4000001 .333
Curtis Granderson, CF4000030 .091
Russell Martin, C4120000 .300
Eric Chavez, 3B4000022 .000
Totals39373011  
a-homered for Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Russell Martin (1, M. Gonzalez)
3B - Derek Jeter (1, M. Gonzalez)
HR - Raul Ibanez 2 (2, Johnson, Matusz)
RBI - Derek Jeter (2), Raul Ibanez 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (1)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Nix
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Hiroki Kuroda 8.1522132 2.16
Boone Logan 0.1000010 0.00
Rafael Soriano 1.1100010 0.00
David Robertson (W,1-0) 2100020 0.00
HBP - Reynolds (by Hiroki Kuroda), Davis (by Hiroki Kuroda)
Pitches-Strikes - Hiroki Kuroda 97-59, Boone Logan 6-3, Rafael Soriano 13-9, David Robertson 24-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hiroki Kuroda 12-9, Rafael Soriano 1-1, David Robertson 3-1
Batters Faced - Hiroki Kuroda 32, Boone Logan 1, Rafael Soriano 4, David Robertson 7
Game Information
Attendance - 50497
Game Time - 3:31
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Mark Carlson