Thursday, October 11, 2012

Girardi is a Genius; Bats A-Rod 3rd, Yankees Win

If you listen closely you can still hear John Sterling yelling Rauuuuuuuuuul

When the starting lineups were announced for Wednesday night's Yankees-Baltimore Orioles game, there was a sense of anger across much of Yankees fandom. Alex Rodriguez was indeed still in the 3rd spot in the order despite a 1-9, five strikeout start through the first two games.

But as it turned out, the non-move was a thing of genius. Down 2-1 in the 9th, Joe Girardi sent Raul Ibanez up to pinch-hit for A-Rod (0-3, 2 K's) against Orioles' closer Jim Johnson.  Just as he had done on the next to last day of the season against Boston, Ibanez delivered a game tying home run into the right field seats.

Just as he had won Game 161 in extra innings, Ibanez came through again. Still tied in the 12th, Ibanez swung at the first pitch of the inning from lefty Brian Matusz' and drilled it into the right field seats for a 3-2 win. The Yankees can close out the best of five ALDS when they send Phil Hughes to the mound Thursday night.

The Yankees kept the game close behind stellar pitching from starter Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed solo home runs to Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado, but only three other hits in an 8.1 inning performance. Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, and David Robertson worked the final 3.2 frames to set up Ibanez's game winner.

Miguel Gonzalez was outstanding for the Orioles; he allowed just five hits in seven innings, and struck out eight. The only real trouble he got into was when the Yankees scored their first run in the 3rd inning. Russell Martin reached on a one-out double and came home on Derek Jeter's triple over the head of centerfielder Adam Jones. The remainder of the lineup took weak hacks at the rookie, who had been discovered in the Mexican League and was called up in May to be the long man out of the pen.


Rodriguez was the DH with Eric Chavez taking over at third base.

Jeter had to leave the game in favor of Jayson Nix after he batted in the 8th. He had fouled a ball off his foot early in the game and was badly hobbled for the remainder of the game.

Wearing his Yankees uniform, Mariano Rivera  threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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