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#14 Greatest HR in Yankee History

October 23, 2012

Ibañez comes home after his epic blast (Getty)

Raúl Ibañez | ALDS Game 3 | vs. Baltimore Orioles | 10/10/2012

Too soon?

Nope.

On February 20, 2012 Ibañez inked a contract with the Yanks for $1.1 million dollars and after game 3 of the American League Championship Series it looked like the best money New York ever spent.  Initially Ibañez was brought in to backup Brett Gardner in left field, but when the speedy Gardner went down in April with an elbow injury, Ibañez saw increased time.

As the Orioles chased the Yanks down in the AL East race, Ibañez showed a penchant for getting the clutch hit.  On September 22nd he tied a game in the 13th against the Athletics with a 2-run home run, helping the Yanks come back from a 4-run deficit in extra innings.  Then, on October 2nd, the second-to-last day of the season, he tied the game in the 9th inning against the Sox with a 2-run blast, then won it in the 12th with a walk-off single to keep the Yanks ahead of the O’s by 1 game with 1 game to go.  But these were mere appetizers.  The main course was still to come.

Miguel Gonzalez, in his 1st career postseason game, was brilliant in game 3, baffling the Yankees over 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits and a single earned run.  Darren O’Day pitched a perfect 8th, leaving the Yanks down 2-1 with only 3 outs remaining.  That’s when magic happened.  On a 1-0 pitch from Jim Johnson, who had a Major League-leading 51 saves during the season, Ibañez cracked a line drive home run to right field that sent the Stadium into delirium.

But his night wasn’t over.

The Yanks went without a hit until the bottom of the 12th when Ibañez, quite simply, became another in a long line of postseason heroes.  On the first pitch he saw from Brian Matusz he launched a game-winning home run into the 2nd deck in right field for an ending Hollywood could not even write.  The pivotal win propelled the Yankees to a 4-3 win en route to a 5-game ALDS victory over their division rivals.

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

| Raúl Ibañez |

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