This tightly-contested AL division series continues Thursday night with Game 4 in the Bronx, with the Yankees holding a 2-1 series lead.
Baltimore seemed poised to take its first lead of the series with a 2-1 edge heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 on Wednesday. But Raul Ibanez 's pinch-hit homer off Johnson with one out tied the contest, setting the stage for Ibanez's homer in the 12th off Brian Matusz that gave the Yankees a 3-2 win."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."
Johnson allowed five runs in the ninth inning in the Orioles' 7-2 loss in Game 1. Manager Buck Showalter insists he still has faith in his closer, who earned a save with a perfect inning in a 3-2 win in Game 2.
"Jimmy is a big hearted, talented guy, that believe me, we'd be at home watching without people like Jim Johnson ," Showalter said. "He's a special guy. We're real proud of him, and you'll see him again tomorrow night, I hope."
Showalter's counterpart, Joe Girardi , was answering as many questions about Ibanez's heroics as he was about the man the lefty-swinging Ibanez replaced at the plate. Rodriguez, who remained at No. 3 in the batting order, is 1 for 12 with seven strikeouts in this series before he was pinch-hit for.
"Sometimes you've got to do what your gut tells you, and my gut told me to make the move," Girardi said. "I still have the utmost respect for Al and I still think he's a great player, he's just going through a little tough time right now."
While Girardi figures to leave Rodriguez in the lineup Thursday against Orioles left-hander Joe Saunders (1-0, 1.59 ERA), the manager is not yet sure that he will be able to pencil in Jeter. The superstar shortstop, who led the majors with 216 hits, exited after eight innings after fouling a ball off his foot.
Jeter, replaced by Jayson Nix , says we will be able to play in Game 4.
"Well, we've seen what he's been able to do in his career and how he's been able to come back," said Girardi about Jeter's status for Thursday. "Just got to keep our fingers crossed."
Rodriguez isn't the only star Yankee faring poorly in the series, with Curtis Granderson 1 for 11 with six strikeouts and Robinson Cano 2 for 12. Ibanez and Russell Martin are the only Yankees to homer.
Baltimore starters have a 1.89 ERA in this series, and Saunders is next in line. He earned the 5-1 victory at Texas in Friday's wild-card playoff game by allowing one run over 5 2-3 innings.
"Joe obviously coming off a real good start in a pressure situation, a game that we had to win, and he'll find himself back in that spot again," Showalter said.
Saunders has not pitched in the Bronx since going 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in two starts in the 2009 AL championship series with the Angels. Jeter (9 for 18) and Rodriguez (7 for 16) have the highest career averages among Yankees regulars against him.
Girardi will give the start to right-hander Phil Hughes , who went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA this season but allowed the second-most homers in baseball with 35.
Hughes went 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts against Baltimore this year, with Mark Reynolds homering twice against him. Three other also Orioles went deep.
"There's not really one guy you can point to and say he may be the toughest at-bat," Hughes said. "They have guys up and down that lineup that can hurt you."
"You trust the track record," Showalter said. "Matt has hit some balls right on the button, Adam put us in a potential position to have a big inning tonight."
Baltimore's bullpen was a big reason why the club had won 16 straight extra-inning games until Wednesday. New York's relievers, meanwhile, have pitched five scoreless innings with no walks in this series.
|September 29, 2012||Oliver Drake||60-Day DL||Right shoulder tendinitis|
|September 23, 2012||Randy Wolf||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, left elbow - out for season|
|September 11, 2012||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee injury|
|September 09, 2012||Nick Markakis||Day-to-Day||Broken left thumb|
|September 02, 2012||Chris Tillman||Day-to-Day||Left game - stiff right elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Matt Wieters||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder contusion|
|New York Yankees|
|September 19, 2012||Dellin Betances||60-Day DL||Right shoulder injury|
|September 19, 2012||Dellin Betances||60-Day DL||Right shoulder injury|
|September 09, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|September 02, 2012||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tendinitis|
|August 27, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 22, 2012||Ivan Nova||15-Day DL||Right shoulder tightness|
NEW YORK (AP) -- These Birds don't rattle easily.
A day after a demoralizing defeat, the Baltimore Orioles won a test of wills and Game 4 of the AL division series, bouncing back to outlast the New York Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings Thursday night on J.J. Hardy's RBI double.
Now, after playing past midnight to even things, the Orioles will get a chance to finally overtake the Yankees in a winner-take-all Game 5 Friday. The teams have already split 22 games this year, and it all comes down this: a matchup for a spot in the AL championship series against Detroit.
"We just kept telling ourselves, this is not the last night of the season," Hardy said.
Game 1 winner CC Sabathia was set to pitch the deciding game for the Yankees against Jason Hammel .
With the innings and hours piling up, the Orioles were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position until Hardy doubled off David Phelps with one out to score Manny Machado , who had doubled.
"There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunities to score runs," Hardy said, "so when there are those opportunities, I think we're trying a little bit too hard."
Phelps had relieved in the 12th after Joba Chamberlain was hit by a flying broken bat, forcing him to leave with a bruised right elbow.
Jim Johnson returned from allowing Raul Ibanez 's pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Wednesday to earn his second save in the series with a perfect 13th.
"I don't take for granted at any time what these guys are accomplishing so far," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "They know that. I have so much respect for our guys."
Hours after learning Joe Girardi had kept quiet that his father died last Saturday, the Yankees couldn't rally late. This time, Girardi called upon Eric Chavez to pinch hit for slumping Alex Rodriguez . He lined out to third base to end it.
Baltimore's win pushed all four division series to five games for the first time since the round began in 1995.
The Orioles have been pursuing the Yankees all season, cutting a 10-game deficit in July to zero in early September. Baltimore and New York were tied 10 times atop the East in the final month but the Yankees never completely relinquished the lead and wrapped up the division on the final night of the regular season.
Baltimore advanced to the division series with a win over the West champion Texas Rangers in the wild-card playoff.
"You know, we played an elimination game last week to start our postseason. It's like a Game 7," reliever Darren O'Day said. "I think we all got as much playoff experience as we need, especially considering how many times we've played them this year. And tonight was an elimination game and tomorrow will be another one"
After dropping Game 1, the Orioles rebounded with another one-run win in a season in which they had the best record in the majors in such games at 29-9. But they lost in stunning fashion in 12 innings Wednesday night, when Ibanez homered twice in his two at-bats after pinch-hitting for Rodriguez.
Didn't affect these late-inning savants.
They came right back Thursday for their first win in extras against the Yankees this year. They also lost twice to New York in extra innings in the regular season before going on a run of 16 straight wins after the ninth inning.
It wasn't easy, though. Nate McLouth homered off Phil Hughes to start the fifth, but Baltimore wasted three shots with a runner on third base in the first four innings. They struggled against New York's bullpen.
McLouth also made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to save a run.
Matt Wieters knocked Chamberlain out of the game with a broken-bat single to lead off the 12th inning that struck his surgically repaired right elbow. Fans sat silent as Chamberlain bent over in pain. He was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue and Girardi.
Chamberlain tested the elbow with three pitches before walking off the field. X-rays were negative. He's not sure if he'll be available for Game 5.
"You kind of see how it feels and go from there," Chamberlain said. "It's definitely not as stiff as it was when it first happened."
Many of the Orioles gathered near their bat rack in the dugout for an impromptu cheer before the 13th and Machado then led off with a double.
One out later, Hardy hit a one-bouncer off the wall in left field for his first RBI of the series.
The hit came after another Orioles quirk - the players held Gatorade bottles and wiggled them in the dugout, trying to conjure up a rally.
Showalter professed confidence in the 51-save Johnson before the game. He backed it up by calling on him for his fourth appearance of the series. He lost the opener after giving up five runs in the ninth and sandwiched saves around his trying homer to Ibanez.
Seven Baltimore relievers pitched 7 1-3 innings of four-hit ball.
"There's really good pitching," Girardi said. "You're seeing some really good pitching in these four games."
Baltimore needs it because their top hitters are missing a lot. Mark Reynolds is 3 for 16. Hardy is 3 for 18. Wieters is 2 for 17 and Adam Jones is 2 for 19.
The Yankees held a moment of silence for Girardi's dad, Jerry, who died Saturday at 81 and had a long bout with Alzheimer's. Joe Girardi stood alone in front of the Yankees dugout and wiped his eyes after the national anthem. He blew a kiss to someone in the stands, then fist bumped several coaches and players.
Facing elimination for the second time this postseason, Showalter turned again to Joe Saunders . Acquired by Baltimore on Aug. 26 from Arizona, Saunders pitched 5 2-3 innings of one-run ball in the wild-card win over Texas.
He was just as crafty against New York, engaging with Phil Hughes in a duel of who could get out of the tougher jam.
The Yankees put a runner on in every inning against Saunders but failed to score until the sixth.
Derek Jeter lined an outside pitch to right field for a leadoff double in sixth, showing no ill effects of a bruised left foot that kept him from playing shortstop in the postseason for the first time in his career.
He advanced on Ichiro Suzuki 's sacrifice and scored on Robinson Cano 's grounder to second. Showalter then lifted Saunders for right-hander Tommy Hunter to face Rodriguez. A-Rod struck out to loud boos and tossed his bat.
NOTES: Highlights of Ibanez's two homers in Game 3 received loud cheers each time the clips were showed on the video board. ... Curtis Granderson has struck out nine times in 16 at-bats this postseason. ... Hughes and Saunders combined to walk seven after there were no walks Wednesday in 12 innings. ... Jeter got his 199th postseason hit.