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-five AL division series.
“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.
Until he took him all the way out.
Rodriguez has 647 career home runs — he’s chasing the all-time record of 762 by Barry Bonds — and is making $ 29 million US this year. But was just 1 for 12 with no RBIs and seven strikeouts in this series when Girardi pulled him.
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.
Ibanez remained in the game and connected on the first pitch from Brian Matusz in the 12th.
Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games, and had been 76-0 when leading after seven, before the Yankees stung them. All three of Baltimore’s extra-inning losses this season have come against New York.
“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 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.
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 for Jayson Nix. He says we will be able to play Thursday.