To set the stage, the series was tied at one game apiece with A-Rod badly struggling (again) in the postseason to the tune of a 1-for-9 effort with one walk and no extra-base hits. Before Game 3, many were calling for Rodriguez to be dropped lower in the lineup or left on the bench altogether. Even Donald Trump, in all his infinite wisdom, decided to weigh in on the matter via Twitter.
Throughout it all, Rodriguez has said the right things, simply repeating that he wants to help the team in any capacity he can. Surely, that positive attitude was put under some stress during Wednesday’s contest.
In the ninth inning, with the Yankees down 2-1 and facing a 2-1 series defecit with one out in the ninth — and facing dominant Orioles closer Jim Johnson — Yankees manager Joe Girardi lifted Rodriguez for pinch hitter Raul Ibanez. However poorly Rodriguez had been playing, that decision was sure to raise a few eyebrows, and it was the kind of call Girardi would undoubtedly be criticized for if it didn’t pay off.
Well, it did pay off. Huge.
Ibanez took a pitch from Johnson and deposited it over the right-field wall and into the bleachers for a game-tying home run in dramatic fashion. Then, three innings later, Ibanez led off the 12th inning with another solo shot, a walk-off home run to give the Yankees a 3-2 win and a 2-1 series advantage — with the rest of the series set for Yankee Stadium, it’s a huge hole for the Orioles to climb out of.
The two home runs marked the first time in playoff baseball history that a player who didn’t start a game hit multiple round-trippers and solidify Ibanez’s reputation as one of the streakiest hitters in baseball.
And the home runs also make Girardi look like a genius.
The mother of Rob and Chris Gronkowski sure knows how to show pride in her sons.
Photo via Twitter/Jordan Rodman
“[Jets head coach Rex Ryan] has faith in me, I believe that. I’m not worried about that, I’m really not.”
–Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez saying something we’re not sure even he believes.
Because that decision worked out so well the first time around.
BREAKING MLB: Yankees sign Raul Ibanez to 10-year $275 million contract
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) October 11, 2012
Raul Ibanez had one heck of a night. Here’s the first of his two clutch bombs.