(NEW YORK) — What happens when you pinch-hit for the man who is fifth on the all-time home run list? Apparently you win.
With his team down by one in the bottom-of-the-ninth, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez. Ibanez rewarded his manager by not only smashing the game tying home run in that at bat, but also hitting a walk-off home run in the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees now have a 2-1 ALDS series lead over the O’s.
“Definitely not trying to do to much,” Ibanez said of his at-bat leading to his game-winning slam. “Just trying to put a short swing on it. Just trying to get on base for my team.”
“I actually questioned if I should swing at the first pitch as I was walking up there. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to swing at the first pitch,” he continued, or “whether I was going to try to work him for a walk, but [Brian Matusz] throws a lot of strikes.”
Rodriguez, who had been struggling at the plate in the series, talked about being pulled.
“We preach about team, team, team.” Rodriguez said. “That’s all we care about, to somehow collect victories to win a championship around here. When he told me I said Joe [Girardi] you got to do exactly what you got to do.”
Game 4 is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern in New York.
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