NEW YORK — Another logic-defying moment for Raul Ibanez and the New York Yankees eventually gave way to a 12-inning defeat to the Detroit Tigers and the loss of captain Derek Jeter, who was carried off the field with a broken ankle Saturday night.
The Tigers withstood the Yankees’ four-run ninth-inning rally, including Ibanez’s latest game-tying home run and answered with two runs in the 12th, with help from the second odd defensive play of the game by Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher. It added up to a 6-4 win for the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees, who raucously celebrated in the ninth, departed with not only a devastating loss but with the unsettling sight of watching Jeter’s left leg buckle as he dived to snag an infield single by Jhonny Peralta. Jeter, who has battled a bone bruise on his left ankle and an injury to his left foot that kept him from playing the field one game in the ALDS, lay on the ground for a few moments, in obvious pain, before getting carried off the field.
Manager Joe Girardi said, “His ankle fractured. So he’s out. He’s out. They talked about a three-month recovery period. Won’t jeopardize his career, but he will not be playing for us any more this year.”
The Tigers had taken a 5-4 lead on Delmon Young’s third hit and third RBI of the game, this one against losing pitcher David Phelps. Swisher inexplicably missed the ball hit in the right-center gap, sticking his glove out awkwardly.
Earlier in the game, Swisher had let Young’s blooper fall in to score another run when it appeared he might have a chance to catch the ball.
Andy Dirks made it 6-4 with an RBI infield single.
Drew Smyly pitched two scoreless innings to earn a wild win for the Tigers, who had appeared to wrap things up much more easily after eight innings.
But Ibanez again shocked the baseball world with one more tying home run in the ninth, his fourth in the past several weeks, capping a rally from a 4-0 deficit against Jose Valverde.
Ichiro Suzuki, who had four hits, hit a two-run shot to pull the Yankees within 4-2, on his first career postseason home run.
After a night full of wasted opportunities, the Yankees created one that seemed impossible to imagine and routine all at once.
Ibanez drilled an 0-1 pitch out to right for a two-run, game-tying homer with two outs.
The ball landed a few rows into the stands, as the Yankee fans remaining, after many had left, roared, their mouths as open as the Yankees’ own players who could not believe what they had just seen.
But this time the Yankees were not able to finish the job, as they had in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles and the stretch run of the regular season when Ibanez saved them against the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox in key games.
He had one more chance in the bottom of the 11th, but Smyly got him on a pop-up with a runner on first to end the inning. The Yankees also stranded a runner on third with two outs in the 10th as Jeter flied out to right.
The Tigers had appeared completely in command after eight innings.
Doug Fister survived a shaky start, aided by Peralta’s defense while Delmon Young homered and had two RBI as the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the ninth.
The Yankees had wasted a strong start by Andy Pettitte and stranded 11 runners through eight, leaving the bases loaded three times without scoring.
Their postseason offense remained anemic and Alex Rodriguez’s return to the lineup was marked by an 0-for-3 day that ended when Eric Chavez pinch-hit for him in the eighth.
But the 40-year-old veteran who signed for $1.1 million once again saved the roster full of disappointing All-Stars.
Fister finished with 6 1/3 scoreless innings after escaping several jams and a shot to his wrist that could have ended his start after two innings.
Pettitte (0-1) gave the Yankees a vintage postseason performance, throwing 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, and looking ticked off when manager Joe Girardi pulled him in the seventh.
The bullpen didn’t pick him up though as Derek Lowe gave up an eighth-inning homer to Young and Boone Logan allowed a RBI single to Garcia later in the inning for a 4-0 Detroit lead.
The Tigers had taken a 2-0 lead in the sixth on RBI singles by Prince Fielder and Young.
Fister struggled early, loading the bases with two outs in the first two innings.
After allowing three singles in the second, Fister nearly gave up his fourth as the slumping Robinson Cano drilled a liner off the pitcher’s wrist. But Peralta picked the ball up off the carom and fired to first, where umpire Rob Drake called Cano out. The second baseman flung his helmet to the ground, and replays indeed indicated he was safe.
Smyly warmed up for the Tigers, but Fister insisted on remaining in the game despite the shot off his wrist.
Back in the lineup after a humbling three games, Rodriguez was put on the spot immediately.
Fister started the game by loading the bases with three walks in the first, sandwiched around two outs.
That brought up Rodriguez, batting sixth, and he drilled a hard grounder into the hole at short on the first pitch. But Peralta made the first of his two gems, diving to snare it and throwing to second just in time for an inning-ending force-out.
Rodriguez, No. 5 on baseball’s all-time home run list, was 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the ALDS and did not play in the deciding game. He was also pinch-hit for late in the previous two games, but manager Joe Girardi said he needed to get him back in the lineup.
NOTES: Hiroki Kuroda will start Game 2 for the Yankees on three days’ rest, the first time he has pitched on short rest in his career. Girardi said the decision “wasn’t too hard” to go with the righty, who had a 2.72 ERA at home and 4.23 ERA away during the season. … Phil Hughes will start Game 3 for the Yankees, with ace CC Sabathia tabbed for Game 4. Girardi said he considered starting Sabathia on three days’ rest in Game 3 but opted to possibly use him on short rest if there’s a Game 7, because the lefty was coming off two long starts in the ALDS. … Jeter’s single in the second made him the first player to have 200 postseason hits. … Anibal Sanchez, who gave up two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings but took the loss in his only ALDS start, will start Game 2 for Detroit.