Raul Ibanez smashed his way into history on Wednesday, becoming the oldest player in postseason history to hit two home runs in a game, the oldest player with a walk-off homer in postseason history, and the only player in postseason history to hit two homers in a game he did not start.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to lift struggling third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, sending Ibanez in to pinch hit with the Yankees down by a run and two outs away from a 2-games-to-1 deficit in the ALDS. When Ibanez slugged a game-tying homer into the right-field seats, Rodriguez was one of his biggest cheerleaders in the dugout.
Rodriguez greeted Ibanez in the dugout, telling Ibanez, "Great job." Ibanez also had kind words for his teammate. "You know A-Rod's a great teammate and a great team player," Ibanez said. "He's the first one on the top step congratulating you. Like I said, it's about winning. It's about the Yankees and about continuing it."
Stepping up to the plate in the 12th inning, Ibanez noted he was "trying not to do too much." One pitch later, he was rounding the bases as the stadium erupted in bedlam.
"The fans are amazing," Ibanez said after the game. "Their support all year, their cheering – it's a great place to play, and like I said, I'm a blessed man. I get to play for the Yankees, a great group of guys and the greatest organization in sports."