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Ibanez wills Yankees to Game 3 victory over Orioles

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 11:40 p.m.

NEW YORK — Raul Ibanez lined a ninth-inning home run while pinch hitting for slumping Alex Rodriguez, then hit a leadoff homer in the 12th, giving the New York Yankees a stunning 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their AL Division Series.

Batting for baseball's highest-paid player, Ibanez homered to right-center with one out in the ninth inning off major league saves leader Jim Johnson to tie it at 2. He then hit the first pitch from Brian Matusz leading off the 12th.

Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Chris Tillman or Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.

Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games and had been 76-0 when leading after seven, before the Yankees stung them.

“It was a great experience. We do it as a team. We stay after it,” Ibanez said. “I'm blessed to come up and have the opportunity like that. We do it together. It's about a team and about winning.”

Ibanez got that chance after Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the decision to bat for Rodriguez — the first time A-Rod had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.

The brash, young Orioles appeared poised to move within a game of their first AL Championship Series since 1997.

But Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch into the seats, setting off a raucous celebration in what had been a demoralized Yankee Stadium crowd.

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