This time it didn't work out.
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Chavez's line drive to third baseman Manny Machado ended a night of frustration for the Yankees' offense.
On Wednesday night, Girardi sent up Raul Ibañez to bat for Rodriguez in the ninth inning, and Ibañez hit a tying home run off Johnson. Ibañez also hit the winning home run in the 12th.
Girardi had no such magic Thursday night, though. With the Orioles starting righthander Jason Hammel Friday, it's not even a guarantee that Rodriguez will be in the starting lineup for the deciding game.
Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, including a crucial one in the eighth when the Yankees had a golden chance to take the lead. Rodriguez is 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series.
"I always tell you I look at -- go home and study the pitcher," Girardi said when asked if he plans to sit A-Rod in Game 5. "I know our guys, and I'll make decisions [Friday]. We play a little earlier [5:07 p.m.], so I'll have to study a little bit sooner, but I'll make decisions."
Rodriguez said he "absolutely" expects to start Friday.
Of being removed for a pinch hitter for the second straight night, Rodriguez said: "Same thing. Chavez had a good at-bat. He hit the ball hard to Machado at third. Just trying to string good at-bats together to win the game."
A-Rod had the key at-bat in the game. If he had come through, the Yankees would have taken a lead to the ninth inning with a chance to advance to the ALCS.
The Yankees had runners on second and third with one out in a 1-1 game when Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in sidewinder Darren O'Day to face A-Rod. He struck him out and got Nick Swisher to fly out to right to end the inning.
"I'm thinking, 'Get one run in at least,' " Rodriguez said. " 'Get a ball into the outfield and give us a one-run lead.' "
Girardi could have sent up Ibañez or Chavez at that point to bat for Rodriguez. He said he didn't because he thought Showalter would have walked the pinch hitter intentionally.