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10/03/2012 1:12 AM EDT
Ibanez rallies Yankees to win, New York holds lead
NY YANKEES 4, BOSTON 3 (12 INNINGS)

By HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Raul Ibanez and the New York Yankees are quite
fond of their position - leaving the chasing to the Birds.



Ibanez tied it with a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth
inning, then had an RBI single in the 12th, helping the Yankees
remain a game up on Baltimore in the AL East with one game to go
by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night.



"We stuck together. We stayed after them, and we were able to
pull it out," Ibanez said. "It's crunch time for us, and we all
know that."



With a second comeback spurred by Ibanez in the last 10 days,
the Yankees need a win or Orioles loss on the final day of the
season to secure their 13th division title since 1996. The
Orioles beat Tampa Bay 1-0 earlier.



If the teams end up even after Wednesday's games, they'll play a
tiebreaker Thursday in Baltimore.



"If you win, you win the division. That's the bottom line,"
manager Joe Girardi said. "And we have the chance to have the
best record, and that's the bottom line and that's a good
feeling that you can control that."



The Yankees kept missing chances on a foggy, rainy night. They
were 0-58 when trailing after eight innings this season before
rallying in the ninth.



Curtis Granderson led off the ninth with a single off closer
Andrew Bailey and Ibanez lined a shot to right field to make it
3-all.



Ibanez came up again with two outs in the 12th against Andrew
Miller (3-2) following a walk to Francisco Cervelli in his first
plate appearance of the year and a free pass to Granderson.



The 40-year-old first-year Yankee then hit a grounder out of the
reach of shortstop Jose Iglesias and Cervelli flopped into home
plate with a slide he said he couldn't explain.



"I must've thanked Ibanez 100 times," said Mark Teixeira, who
was 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. "Raul is my
favorite player right now. I guarantee I'm the happiest guy on
the team because it could not have gone worse for me personally,
but we won."



The Yankees ran out to first base to mob Ibanez, who had a tying
two-run homer against Oakland in the 13th inning on Sept. 22. He
was doused with a bucket of ice water during a postgame
interview.



"It was really cold. My back was numb for a while," Ibanez said,
"but it felt good."



Derek Lowe (9-11) pitched two innings for the win.



While the Orioles were pursuing the Yankees in the standings,
Lowe's outing was delayed briefly in the 12th by another kind of
bird. A member of the grounds crew, using a bucket, chased a
bird that landed on the infield and was reluctant to fly off.



Tying a season high with their seventh straight loss, the Red
Sox dropped to 69-92, ensuring they will finish in last place in
the East for the first time since 1992.



"We didn't start the season to finish fifth ... or fourth, or
third, or second ...," manager Bobby Valentine said.



The Yankees had at least one hit in each of the first six
innings before the top three in the batting order went out
successively in the seventh against Junichi Tazawa.



After Ibanez's homer, they loaded the bases against Bailey in
the ninth but Mark Melancon relieved and got Teixeira to pop up
to an outfield playing in and Robinson Cano to ground out.



Ibanez has 19 homers this season, 10 of them tying the game or
putting New York a lead.



Managing as if this were a playoff game, Girardi used much of
his well-rested bullpen. He called on Rafael Soriano for the
ninth, trailing 2-1, and the closer gave up a leadoff homer to
James Loney, rankling many of the 41,564 who stayed through the
rain.



He also pitched the 10th, walking one batter. It was the first
time this season Soriano pitched more than 1 1-3 innings.
Soriano threw 43 pitches, his most since Sept. 25, 2005.



"Hopefully, he feels OK tomorrow if I need him," Girardi said.
"I've said it all along and I'll say it again: trying to win the
division."



Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were back in Boston's lineup
a day after sitting out of a 10-2 loss and immediately made an
impact. Ellsbury, who sat against left-hander CC Sabathia,
singled and scored from first on a double to right-center by
Pedroia, playing with a broken left ring finger. Cody Ross added
a sacrifice fly against David Phelps for a 2-0 lead.



"He had great at-bats all night. He's an amazing character,"
Valentine said.



Eduardo Nunez had an RBI single off Jon Lester after Granderson
reached on an infield hit, advanced to second on a throwing
error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco on the play and then stole
third base.



Teixeira grounded out with runners on first and second to end
the fifth and was booed by the many fans who remained in their
seats.



The Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs in the
seventh against Rich Hill and Ichiro Suzuki came up to chants of
"Ich-iro!" He hit a sharp line drive to center field that was
caught by Ellsbury.



NOTES: Yankees top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos is scheduled
to have reconstructive surgery on his left elbow Thursday. Dr.
James Andrews will perform the Tommy John surgery. The
21-year-old Banuelos is expected to miss the 2013 season. ...
Boston entered the game 24 games out of first place. The
previous time they were that far out was after games of Sept.
22, 1969. ... Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6) faces New York's
Hiroki Kuroda (15-11) in the regular-season finale.

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