Well, if a little egg on my face is the price for what happened last night, throw the egg.
Hiroki Kuroda pitched into the top of the 9th inning last night, in Game 3 of the American League Division Seires, but the Yankees trailed the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 going into the bottom of the 9th.
It was beginning to look like do-or-die tomorrow (now today), with Phil Hughes having the whole season on his shoulders:
* Thanks to Ichiro Suzuki leaving Derek Jeter stranded on 3rd base in the 3rd, after Russell Martin had doubled and Jeter had tripled for the Yankees' 1st run.
* Thanks to Eric Chavez leaving Martin stranded on 1st with a strikeout to end the 5th.
* Thanks to the Yankees wasting a leadoff single from Jeter in the 6th, followed by an Ichiro forceout and strikeouts by A-Rod and Robinson Cano.
* And, of course, thanks to A-Rod going 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts overall. He is now 1-for-12 in this series, with 7 strikeouts.
And so, with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, Joe Girardi played an almost Torresque hunch, ignoring his Binder, and pulled A-Rod for a pinch-hitter.
A-Rod said no one had pinch-hit for him since grade school.
The pinch-hitter was Raul Ibanez. Forty years old, and rejected by the Phillies, because he can't field and they play in a League that is too stupid to accept the designated hitter.
Boom. Home run. Tie ballgame.
The Yankee bullpen, saved some work by Kuroda's gutsy start, held the O's through the top of the 12th.
Bottom of the 12th. Ibanez leads off.
No player had ever hit 2 home runs in a postseason game that he did not start.
But you know the old saying. No, not, "You know, Suzyn, you just can't predict baseball." I mean, "In baseball, you never know when you're going to see something you've never seen before."
Boom. No doubt about it. Second deck in right field.
Here is a list of postseason walkoff homers for the Yankees: Name, date, series, game of series, opponent, inning, balls, strikes, final score.
|Tommy Henrich||Oct. 5, 1949||WS||1||Dodgers||9th||1||0||1-0|
|Mickey Mantle||Oct. 10, 1964||WS||3||Cardinals||9th||1||0||2-1|
|Chris Chambliss||Oct. 14, 1976||ALCS||5||Royals||9th||1||0||7-6|
|Jim Leyritz||Oct. 4, 1995||ALDS||2||Mariners||15th||2||1||7-5|
|Bernie Williams||Oct. 9, 1996||ALCS||1||Orioles||11th||1||0||5-4|
|Bernie Williams||Oct. 13, 1999||ALCS||1||Red Sox||10th||1||0||4-3|
|Chad Curtis||Oct. 26, 1999||WS||3||Braves||10th||1||0||6-5|
|Alfonso Soriano||Oct. 21, 2001||ALCS||4||Mariners||9th||2||1||3-1|
|Derek Jeter||Oct. 31, 2001||WS||4||D'backs||10th||1||2||4-3|
|Aaron Boone||Oct. 16, 2003||ALCS||7||Red Sox||11th||1||0||6-5|
|Mark Teixeira||Oct. 9, 2009||ALDS||2||Twins||11th||1||0||4-3|
|Raul Ibanez||Oct. 10, 2012||ALDS||3||Orioles||12th||1||0||3-2|
That's 11 guys, hitting 12 such home runs -- our old friend Bernie hit 2.
So, last night, the old man does it. Yankees 3, Orioles 2. I thought John Sterling was going to pop a vocal chord.
Big Daddy Graham, the Philadelphia/Jersey Shore-based comic who hosts a show on all-sports radio station WIP, said on Facebook, remember Ibanez as a Phillie, "Are you kidding me?!"
Game 4 is tonight, at 7:30. Hughes starts against Joe Saunders. Be ready to clinch.
8 wins to go.