Yankees Top 19 Games since 2000: No. 14, Raul Ibanez's magical night
Ibanez hit the game-tying and walk-off home runs to win ALDS Game 3
To kick off 2019, we're unveiling our count of the Yankees' 19 best games since 2000. Historic feats, classic comebacks and postseason glory all find their way onto the list with an obvious No. 1 coming Jan. 20.
Let's continue with No. 14, Raul Ibanez's magical two-homer night against the Orioles.
On October 10, 2012, Raul Ibanez forever etched his name into Yankees lore.
The aging slugger lined a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in ALDS Game 3 against the Orioles before winning the game with another homer in his next at-bat.
Funny enough, a game remembered for a pair of home runs was a good, old-fashioned pitcher's duel. It wasn't quite on the level of Smoltz vs. Morris, but Hiroki Kuroda and Miguel Gonzalez were on top of their games that Wednesday in the Bronx.
The ALDS was tied at one game apiece with the final three games taking place at Yankee Stadium after the implimentation of the Wild Card Game. The Yankees took Game 1 in Baltimore before dropping the rematch.
Baltimore struck first with a solo home run by Ryan Flaherty in the top of the third. However, in the bottom of the frame, Derek Jeter knotted things up with a triple, thanks, in part, to a misplay by Adam Jones.
Kuroda got revenge against Flaherty, inducing a groundout with the bases loaded in the fourth, though he'd allow a solo home run to Manny Machado in the fifth. From there, the Yankees seemingly couldn't answer. They were held to singles in the fifth and sixth before they went down in order vs. Gonzalez and Darren O'Day in the next two innings.
Luckily for the Yankees, Kuroda remained strong. He pitched an out into the ninth inning and likely would have walked away the winner most evenings.
The Orioles brought on closer Jim Johnson to finish off the Yankees. Ichiro lined out before it was Alex Rodriguez's turn in the order. A-Rod was battling injuries and looked hapless at the plate in the series, so Joe Girardi made a shocking decision to pinch hit Ibanez in his place.
Girardi's decision took two pitches to pay off. After a first-pitch ball, Ibanez rocketed Johnson's offering into the right-field seats and sent the Stadium into eurphoria.
The next eight Yankees would go down in order while Rafael Soriano and David Robertson combined for three scoreless frames. Due to Ibanez's weakness against left-handed pitching, the Orioles utilized southpaw Brian Matusz in his next at-bat. Ibanez greeted the lefty with a first-pitch moonshot to right to end game.
With that blast, Ibanez became the first player in MLB postseason history to hit a tying homer in the ninth inning then hit a walk-off homer in his next at-bat.
More importantly, Ibanez's performance proved pivotal to the series. The Yankees drop Game 4 in 13 innings, but Ibanez would hit a go-ahead double to back CC Sabathia's effort to win the finale. In the ALCS, the slugger would tie up Game 1 with a homer, though the Yankees would lose the game and the series.