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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Orioles 2 (12)

By Andrew Marchand



WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees, after their epic 3-2 win, can clinch this series with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday.

RAUL SO COOL: In what will be a legendary decision in Yankees history, Joe Girardi, after sticking with Alex Rodriguez in the 3-hole, decided to pinch hit for him against Jim Johnson with one out in the ninth and the Yankees down a run.

Girardi turned to Raul Ibanez, who turned on a fastball and sent it into the right-field seats. It was a gusty call by Girardi, and it paid off big time.

Then in the 12th, Ibanez nailed a no-doubt-about-it game-winning homer off the first pitch he saw from Brian Matusz.

Ibanez, 40, has been very clutch for the Yankees. In the second-to-last game of the regular season, he nailed a two-run homer to tie a game in the ninth against the Red Sox. He then had the 12th-inning game-winning single. It allowed the Yankees to remain ahead of the Orioles to secure the American League East and home field versus the Birds. He and his wife also just had their fifth child a week ago.

HERE COMES WILLIS: Derek Jeter limped noticeably all night, especially on a sixth-inning leadoff single. It wasn't exactly Willis Reed in 1970, but "The Captain" is definitely hurt. In the ninth, Jeter was forced to leave the game, replaced in the field by Jayson Nix.

In the first inning, Jeter fouled a ball off his foot. In September, he had to serve as designated hitter for four games because of a bone bruise in his leg.

Will he be available for Game 4? Guess here is, he will.

We already have a news story up and will have more details from the postgame.

MAN SLAM: With the game locked at 1-all, A-Rod's protege, Manny Machado, went yard to lead off the fifth to make it 2-1 Orioles. Machado is from Miami and grew up idolizing A-Rod. He is now outdoing him in this series.

LIGHTNING ROD: In the first, Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning. In the fourth, he led off with a strikeout. The fans booed him pretty good after that one. In the sixth with a man on, A-Rod struck out on a check swing. The fans booed a little louder. He never got another at-bat but looked thrilled when Ibanez's home run went over the wall to tie the game. It had to be a bittersweet moment.

It was the fourth straight postseason game in which A-Rod had two strikeouts or more, which matches Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer in the Yankees' record books, according to ESPN researcher Katie Sharp. Here is more on A-Rod's day. Rodriguez, 37, has five years and $114 million, excluding bonuses, left on his contract.

NEW YORK NIX: Replacing Jeter, Nix caught a liner and tagged second to end a threat in the 10th. In the 11th, Nix came about a foot short of hitting a game-winning home run.

GONZO PERFORMANCE: Rookie Miguel Gonzalez was great in the Bronx once again. Gonzalez went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out eight and walked none. During the regular season, Gonzalez went 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA at Yankee Stadium.

LOSING HIRO: Hiroki Kuroda pitched a great game, lasting until one out in the ninth.

BUBBLE BURSTING: In the third, Russell Martin nailed a one-out double into the corner. An out later, Jeter hit what looked to be a fly ball that was catchable. But the ball kept carrying and carrying, and center fielder Adam Jones drifted around, looking like a tourist who got off at the wrong subway stop. On his route, Jones decided to blow a bubble with his gum but did not make the catch. Jeter ended up with an RBI triple to tie the game at 1.

SHUTTING THE DOOR: In the fourth, Kuroda loaded the bases with two outs. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Kuroda forced a weak bouncer to the mound for the final out.

MO APPEARS: Who said Mariano Rivera wouldn't make it back for the postseason? Rivera walked out to the mound to "Enter Sandman" and threw out the first pitch. The Yankees wish he could have thrown the last one.

WHAT IS NEXT: Game 4 in the Bronx. The Yankees will send Phil Hughes to the mound. Buck Showalter has yet to name a starter.

QUESTIONS OF THE NIGHT: What are your emotions after that one? Do you start A-Rod in Game 4? Will Jeter play, in your opinion? (You don't have to answer the last one.)