NEW YORK (AP) — 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 Baltimore closer Jim Johnson to tie it at 2. He then hit the first pitch from Brian Matusz leading off the 12th.
The best-of-five series was tied at 1 game apiece, with all remaining games in the Bronx.
Flaherty and Machado, the bottom two hitters in Baltimore’s batting order, hit solo shots off Hiroki Kuroda.
Flaherty homered with one out in the third inning and the 20-year-old Machado connected leading off the fifth, becoming the second-youngest player to homer in a postseason game. In between, Derek Jeter tied the score with an RBI triple in the third, a drive just past bubble-blowing center fielder Adam Jones.
Taken by the Orioles from the Chicago Cubs in December’s winter meetings draft of unprotected players, Flaherty connected on an 82 mph slider from Kuroda for Baltimore’s first postseason home run since 1997. It was just the second at-bat of the series for Flaherty, who platoons with Robert Andino at second base.
Machado’s home run, also off a slider, landed in Baltimore’s bullpen in left-center. Atlanta’s Andruw Jones, who was 19 years, 180 days when he homered twice against the Yankees in the 1996 World Series opener, is the only player younger than Machado (20 years, 96 days) with a postseason home run.
Jeter drove in New York’s run with a drive deep to right-center. Adam Jones, a blowing a big, pink bubble as he tried to track it down, didn’t anticipate it tailing to right as much as it did. The ball dropped just beyond the All-Star’s outstretched glove as he crashed into the wall.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi resisted calls to drop Alex Rodriguez down in the batting order, leaving him in the No. 3 slot. A-Rod was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts through six innings, dropping to 1 for 12 (.083) with no RBIs and seven strikeouts in the series. He kicked dirt in frustration when he struck out in the sixth on a checked swing.
Gonzalez, in his first playoffs start, allowed five hits, struck out six and walked none, holding the Yankees in check with a well-spotted fastball and flustering them with changeups. The 28-year-old rookie, released by Boston in December, started the season in the minor leagues and made his first major league start on July 6. He went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA.
Kuroda, making his first postseason start in three years, gave up five hits in the first six innings, walked none and struck out two and hit two batters. The 37-year-old veteran of 11 seasons in Japan, is completing his fifth year in the big leagues and first with the Yankees. He was 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA and won his final two regular-season starts after struggling for much of the second half.
In Game 4 on Thursday night, Phil Hughes (16-13) starts for the Yankees. The Orioles are going with lefty Joe Saunders (9-13).
Nate McLouth led off the game with a single to right but J.J. Hardy flied out and McLouth was caught stealing at second by Martin. McLouth reached the base in time but Jeter slapped him on the back of his left leg, pushing McLouth off the base. Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued unsuccessfully with second base umpire Mike Everitt.
Nick Swisher, who had been 0 for 6 with five strikeouts against Gonzalez, singled up the middle with one out in the second to become New York’s first baserunner. Mark Teixeira, who had been 4 for 8 in the opening two games, bounced into a 3-6-3 double play.
Russell Martin hit a one-hop double off the left-field wall leading off the bottom of third. Martin advanced when Eric Chavez grounded sharply to first as Mark Reynolds made a diving stop. After Jeter’s first triple since August 2011, Ichiro Suzuki flied out to center.
Baltimore loaded the bases in the fourth when Chris Davis walked leading off, Jones singled and Reynolds was hit by a pitch on the left forearm with two outs, but Flaherty hit a comebacker.
NOTES: Injured Yankees closer Mariano Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)