5. Raul Ibañez Ties Up ALCS Game 1, 2012
Raul Ibañez did so much in the late innings for the Yankees in 2012 that sometimes his two-out, game-tying home run gets lost by the wayside. And that’s insane.
Seemingly always there with a second-deck shot exactly when it was most needed that season, the veteran DH had his final curtain call with two outs in the ninth inning of ALCS Game 1 against the Tigers.
Down 4-0 to start the inning with Jose Valverde on the mound, Ichiro had already wrapped an improbable two-run shot around the pole in right field. With Mark Teixeira on first and two outs, Ibañez — fresh off his two miracle shots that felled Baltimore in Game 3 of the DS — lofted one into deep right that just kept going.
To echo Ernie Johnson’s call from that O’s game: “He did it again.”
Unfortunately, we know why a ridiculous game-tying blast in the Championship Series has largely gone unnoticed. Without the game being tied, we probably would’ve never seen the catastrophic ankle injury that Derek Jeter suffered a few innings later.
It was a bone bruise waiting to become a fracture, and things would’ve spiraled there eventually. We’re not saying Jeter never would’ve succumbed to injury.
But, unfortunately, the two moments are inextricably linked, throwing a dark cloud on Ibañez’s herculean effort. Let’s not let that happen.