Ibanez hits 2 homers as Yankees win in 12th 22

Raul Ibanez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez and two home runs, the tying and go ahead runs, as the Yankees beat the Orioles 3-2 in 12 innings to win Game 3 of the ALDS Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees were trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Alex Rodriguez, who was already 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game, was due up, but manager Joe Girardi decided to pinch hit for A-Rod with Ibanez. Girardi pushed the right button as Ibanez hit a home run deep to left field off of Orioles closer Jim Johnson to tie the game at 2-2.

The game still tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the 12th, Ibanez homered off Brian Matusz to win the game.

It took a lot of guts by Girardi to pinch hit for A-Rod considering the media would have jumped all over him if the move backfired. It turned out to be the right move though. A-Rod is 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the playoffs so far and the Yankees desperately needed something to happen.

But a lot of credit goes to Ibanez himself. He was slightly above average overall this season, but he was downright terrible for most of the year. Still, he finished hot and that has apparently translated into the playoffs. Tonight’s 2-for-2 performance to both tie and win the game will go down as one of the great playoff performances of all time.

None of it would have been possible if not for Hiroki Kuroda either. Kuroda looked shaky in the third and fourth innings, but when all was said and done he had a very strong 8.1 inning, two run performance. It was much needed for a struggling offense.

The 3.2 innings from Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, and David Robertson were also big. Especially D-Rob’s two scoreless. He has now pitched in all three ALDS games and been very effective each time out.

Up 2-games-to-1, he Yankees now only have to win once in the next two days. Game 4 is Thursday night with Phil Hughes going for the Yankees. Joe Saunders is likely starting for the Orioles, but that hasn’t been officially announced yet. If the series goes to five games expect a rematch between CC Sabathia and Jason Hammel.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

22 thoughts on “Ibanez hits 2 homers as Yankees win in 12th

  • brianhenesey

    You said Ibanez was horrible and should be kept off the playoff roster. You should no longer speak or write!

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    You have a WAY biased view of ARod and you really need to put aside your obvious man-crush on him and practice some objective journalism. You claim that Ibanez was "was slightly above average overall this season, but he was downright terrible for most of the year." It's impossible to downright terrible for most of the year and be above average but whatever. The guy had an OPS of .761 vs. ARod's .783.

    I for one don't believe that Girardi would have had ANY repercussions with pinch hitting for ARod, regardless of the outcome. Sure the media might have made it a story for the sake of selling papers, but I don't think the vast majority of Yankee fans or writers would have any real issue with the decision itself.

  • Matt_DC

    Gonzalez had amazing stuff for the Orioles – I give more credit to him than blame on the Yankees offense. From home I was getting fooled on that change-up splitter (as Smoltz was calling it). .Kuroda was indeed a bulldog keeping the Yankees in it. I am glad you point out the great job by Logan, Soriano, and Robertson. I don't know Alex's splits against Saunders, but a junk throwing lefty might be what he needs.

  • Greg Corcoran

    So glad they kept Ibanez for the playoffs. What a champion. Easily in the top three playoff moments of my lifetime. Right up there with the Jeter out of position play and the Aaron Boone homerun.

  • seasonedobserver

    Longtime Girardi detractor here. I have to give him his props for a nessessary yet ballsy move. He could have made us live and die on ARods rep. But he took one for the team and stuck his own neck out and made the right play. Kudos

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