Yankees: 7 clutch playoff moments that deserve more praise
By Adam Weinrib
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.