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.
Batting for baseball’s highest-paid player, Ibanez homered to right-center with one out in the ninth inning off Baltimore closer 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 tonight in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Chris Tillman or Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.
With Rodriguez 1 for 12 with no RBI and seven strikeouts, Yankees manager Joe Girardi sent up Ibanez, who lined a 94 mph pitch into the right-field seats.
It was the first time Rodriguez had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.
Orioles rookie Miguel Gonzalez had given up one run and five hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and a walk. Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado, the bottom two hitters in Baltimore’s batting order, hit solo home runs off Hiroki Kuroda.
Coming in, the Orioles were 76-0 this year when leading after seven innings. They had also won 16 extra-inning games.
Flaherty homered with one out in the third and the 20-year-old Machado connected leading off the fifth, becoming the second-youngest player to homer in a postseason game. In between, Derek Jeter tied the score with an RBI triple in the third, a drive just past a bubble-blowing center fielder Adam Jones. Jeter, limping because of a sore ankle, came out after eight innings.
Jayson Nixon, who replaced Jeter, flied out to the left-field warning track against Matusz in the 11th.
Machado’s home run, also off a slider, landed in Baltimore’s bullpen in left-center.
Atlanta’s Andruw Jones, who was 19 years, 180 days when he homered in 1996, is the only player younger than Machado (20 years, 96 days) with a postseason home run.
Jeter tied the score with a drive deep to right-center. Jones, a blowing a big, pink bubble as he tried to track it down, didn’t anticipate it tailing to right as much as it did. The ball dropped just beyond the All-Star’s outstretched glove as he crashed into the wall.