Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Yankees defeat Orioles, 3-2, on Raul Ibanez walk-off homer

The Orioles took a slim lead into the ninth inning in Game 3, but Raul Ibanez tied things up with a solo homer and won the game with another walk-off bomb.

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Raul Ibanez makes history, leaves teammates in awe

Ibañez has a spectacular night in the Bronx.


Raul Ibanez hits two homers, enters Yankees lore

Alex Rodriguez was lifted in favor of pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez, and two homers later, the Yankees walked off with a win in Game 3.


Raul Ibañez homers again, Yankees win 3-2 in 12th

Raul Ibañez -- who entered Game 3 as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning and hit a game-tying home run -- hit another home run in the 12th inning, this time to give the Yankees a walk-off victory.

There are all sorts of superlatives in play here. It's quite likely that Ibañez's feat is a postseason first.

We know his blast made the Orioles' record 76-1 this year in games they led after seven innings. That seventh-inning lead went away in the ninth, when Ibañez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez (!) and homered off Orioles closer Jim Johnson.

We know the Orioles had won 16 straight extra-innings games.

We know we're going to be seeing replays of Ibañez's home run for a long, long time.

We don't know if the underdog Orioles can bounce back from such a tough loss. But we'll find out real soon. Because the two clubs are doing it all over again tomorrow. Oh, and here's the big blast:



Jayson Nix nearly ends Game 3 in 11th with homer

In the bottom of the 11th inning, Jayson Nix -- in the game only because Derek Jeter suffered a leg injury early in the game, and finally exited in the ninth -- had a chance to become a True Yankee ... and he almost did it:


Ah, but for another eight or nine feet, immortality.

Instead, the Orioles and Yankees are heading to the 12th. But Nix might have another shot at it.


Nobody scores in 10th, so we're heading to 11th

Boy, that turned around in a hurry.

First you think the Orioles are actually going to win, since Jim Johnson's pitching and he almost never blows a save and one of the guys he gets to face is Alex Rodriguez.

Except he faced Raul Ibañez instead of Alex Rodriguez, and Ibañez tied the game with a solo homer.

That was in the ninth.

In the top of the 10th, the score tied 1-1, Robert Andino singled against Yankees closer Rafael Soriano. Buck Showalter isn't a huge fan of the sacrifice bunt, but he ordered Manny Machado to bunt and he did, pushing Andino into scoring position.

One out, runner on second base. Which looked pretty good until Nate McLouth hit a line drive right at shortstop Jayson Nix -- in the game since the ninth, when Derek Jeter left with a leg injury -- who stepped on second base to double off Andino, who wasn't even on the TV screen.

In the bottom of the 10th, Johnson disposed of the Yankees in order.

So on we go to the 11th, with David Robertson taking over from Soriano on the mound.


Ibañez pinch-hits for A-Rod in 9th, ties game 1-1

So anyway, Joe Girardi just locked up the Manager of the Century Award.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Yankees trailing the Orioles 2-1 in a we-really-want-to-win game, Girardi did something that maybe no manager has ever done before ...

He replaced Alex Rodriguez with a pinch hitter.

The pinch hitter, Raul Ibañez, drove one of Jim Johnson's sinkers over the right-field wall to tie the game.


Rodriguez's postseason struggles have been well-documented. Rodriguez has also struggled against Jim Johnson. So with one out in the ninth, Girardi pulled the trigger. And not many unorthodox moves in recent history have paid off as well as this one.

The Orioles' streak is still alive. Johnson got out of the inning without giving anything else up. The Orioles might still make it 77 for 77 in games they led after seven innings. But if they don't -- if it become 76-1 -- Joe Girardi's going to be the toast of the town for the next 24 hours, at least.


Heading to ninth, O's still cling to 2-1 lead

Miguel Gonzalez did his part, limiting the Yankees to just one run in seven innings.

In the eighth, Darren O'Day did his part, retiring the three Yankees he faced -- Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, and Derek Jeter -- in order.

Now we're on to the ninth, and an insurance run or two seems like too much to ask from these underdog Orioles. Destiny almost seems to demand that they go down meekly in their last ups, leaving Jim Johnson -- who led the major leagues this season with 51 saves -- to protect a one-run lead while pitching against Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano.


Miguel Gonzalez has done this to Yankees before

As unlikely as this game might seem, it's not like nobody's ever seen it before.

This season, the Yankees were held to just one run in only five games.

In two of those games, they were playing the Orioles.

In one of those games, Miguel Gonzalez started for the Orioles, just like tonight.

That was just six weeks ago. Facing a lineup that didn't include Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira, Gonzalez gave up the one run in seven innings, while walking just one Yankee and striking out nine. Jayson Nix drew the walk, and Nick Swisher struck out four (!) times.

Despite having thrown only 97 pitches, Gonzalez came out after seven. Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless eighth. And because it wasn't a save situation -- the O's took a 6-0 lead in the top of the ninth -- Jim Johnson didn't pitch the ninth. Instead, Brian Matusz came on and gave up a run when Curtis Granderson homered. Final: O's 6, Yanks 1.

Tonight, Gonzalez has thrown 99 pitches. As brilliantly as he's pitched -- just one run, zero walks, eight strikeouts -- he probably won't come back out for the eighth, because that's not how Buck Showalter plays it.

Oh by the way the Orioles are 76-0 in games they lead after seven innings, and they're leading 2-1 in the middle of the eighth inning.

This might actually happen.


Orioles keep Yankees off the board in 6th

There were a few things of note in the bottom of the sixth inning:

1. Derek Jeter is hobbled. It's not quite Misery-bad, but he's clearly walking with a limp. He led off the sixth with a 35-hopper up the middle -- I'd call it luck, but he's been doing it for almost 20 years -- but he was erased on a force out off the bat of Ichiro. As Jeter came off the field, he was noticeably limping.

2. Ichiro can still run. You knew that, but there aren't many 38-year-olds in baseball who could have beat out the back end of a double play like that. There might be just one 38-year-old, actually, though I guess we don't know for sure until we watch Bartolo Colon do it.

3. Alex Rodriguez is still struggling miserably. And when that happens people talk about it too much. But what's more is that when you struggle, you come out on the wrong end of calls like this:

4. Miguel Gonzalez is something of a badass. The 28-year-old rookie has shut the Yankees down for six innings, striking out six without walking anyone. He blew through the Yankees in the last frame, getting Robinson Cano to wave through a high fastball for the last out.


5 innings down, only 2 to go for O's (sort of)

Five innings down, two to go.

No, this isn't Little League. Or a Triple-A doubleheader.

It's Major League Baseball, where they still play nine innings. So if the Orioles are really going to become the heavy favorites in this Division Series, they'll have to lead the Yankees after nine innings, not seven.

Still ... if you're an Orioles fan, don't you have to figure that two more innings might do it? Somehow, 28-year-old rookie Miguel Gonzalez has held the Yankees to just one run in the first five frames, and the O's have a 2-1 lead thanks to a couple of solo home runs.

As we all know so well, the Orioles are 76-0 this year in games they led after seven innings. Sure, it's the New York Yankees in New York's Yankee Stadium. But why should an Orioles fan think the streak will end tonight, of all nights?

Gonzalez, looking exactly nothing like a rookie, struck out Eric Chavez with a high fastball to end the fifth.

Five innings down, two to go (and two more after that, but shut up with your statistics).


Manny Machado goes yard, Orioles back on top, 2-1

Manny Machado was a highly touted shortstop of Dominican descent, and he was a first-round pick out of a high-school powerhouse in Miami. By law, you had to mention Alex Rodriguez's name in conjunction with his.

That was unfair, of course, as A-Rod is one of the greatest ballplayers to ever live, and that's an enormous burden to put on a teenager. It's somewhat ironic, then, that Machado homered in a game that also features Alex Rodriguez playing like he's encased in carbonite and hanging in Hank Steinbrenner's study. It's like a PBS Nova documentary on the cycle of life.

The home run came off Hiroki Kuroda, and it put the O's up 2-1.

Machado is the second-youngest player to homer in a postseason game, behind Andruw Jones, who also did his business against the Yankees. And now Jones is on the Yankees. Circle of life! Gather around children, this is what happens!


Will Alex Rodriguez ever hit another fastball?

It's probably safe to say that too much has been made of Alex Rodriguez's struggles against the Orioles in this series. After all, it's not even three full games yet. He's perfectly capable of hitting a big home run later in this game, and then another tomorrow night.

Except then you see something like this ...

and a data point like this ...


and you can't help but wonder, just a little. And you wonder a little more when you the graphic on your television screen that says A-Rod's now gone 72 straight postseason at-bats without a home run.

And you wonder. That's all. You wonder.


Hiroki Kuroda lives dangerously, escapes

In the bottom of the fourth, Hiroki Kuroda walked Chris Davis to lead off the inning. Since Kuroda came into the league in 2008, he has the ninth-lowest walk rate among all starting pitchers, yet he walked the free-swinging Davis on five pitches. That didn't auger well.

Adam Jones gummed things up further for Kuroda, hitting a single that somehow snuck under the glove of Alex Rodriguez, putting runners on first and second with no one out. Lead-off walks always score. It's in the rules.

But Matt Wieters flew out and Jim Thome hit into a force out. After Mark Reynolds was hit with a pitch, the powerful Ryan Flaherty grounded out on a sinker back to Kuroda.

On the other side, Miguel Gonzalez is looking fantastic, allowing three hits without a walk in four innings. His only blemish is giving up a run on a ball that should have been caught.


Adam Jones often doesn't make plays in deep center

Adam Jones has won a Gold Glove (in 2009), but he's not a particularly good center fielder.

And according to Baseball Info Solutions' John Dewan, Jones is particularly not good on balls just like the one that just got past him for a game-tying triple:

Nobody tracks this stuff like BIS tracks this stuff. Jones cost the Orioles a fair number of runs on deep flies during the season, and he just cost them another one.


Yankees make it 1-1 on Adam Jones' misplay in CF

Huh. Maybe if Adam Jones had devoted just a little less energy to blowing a big bubble and a little more energy to running really fast, the Orioles might have a 1-0 lead after three innings of Game 3. But instead, Jones didn't make a play on Derek Jeter's long drive that turned from likely third out to game-tying triple ...


What you can't see in that clip? Jones got a terrible jump, and never seemed to realize just how well the wind-aided drive was carrying until it was too late.

Most center fielders probably would have made that play most of the time, bubble-blowing or not bubble-blowing.

No, that bubble doesn't look real good right now. But Miguel Gonzalez left a fastball up, and Jeter hit that fastball very hard, and Jones just didn't get a good read on the ball off the bat.

The pink bubble is just the thing we're going to remember.


Ryan Flaherty (!) homers, O's up 1-0

See, the thing I've always thought about Ryan Flaherty is ...


... hold on, gimme a second.

The thing about Ryan Flaherty -- and I've always thought this, so it's not like I just opened his Baseball Reference page for the first time -- is that he's from Vanderbilt University, and you know what they say about Vandy hitters.


Alright, I have no idea who Ryan Flaherty is. He had a .258 on-base percentage and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 43/6 in 153 at-bats during the regular season. That's awful! Truly, truly awful. But he was a former supplemental first-rounder, and his minor-league numbers aren't that bad, so he probably has a tool or two.

Like, latent power, maybe?

And now you know who Ryan Flaherty is. The Orioles took a 1-0 lead on that solo shot, and they also did a dandy job of quieting a raucous Yankee Stadium crowd.


Yankees stack Game 3 lineup against O's rookie

Yankees manager Joe Girardi just posted his lineup for Game 3 against the Baltimore Orioles, with 28-year-old rookie right-hander Miguel Gonzalez starting for the O's.

1. Derek Jeter - SS
2. Ichiro Suzuki* - LF
3. Alex Rodriguez - DH
4. Robinson Cano* - 2B
5. Nick Swisher# - RF
6. Mark Teixeira# - 1B
7. Curtis Granderson* - LF
8. Russell Martin - C
9. Eric Chavez* - 3B

Hiroki Kuroda - SP

Gonzalez obviously has a tough chore, pitching against all those switch- and left-handed hitters in Yankee Stadium, with that famously short porch beyond right field.

This is obviously the biggest game of Gonzalez's young career, and you can't help feeling sorry for him, just a little. Unless he pitches brilliantly!

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