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Raul Ibañez breaks out for Yankees

Raul Ibanez connects on a game tying two-run

Raul Ibanez connects on a game tying two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 22, 2012) Credit: Getty

It was one veteran outfielder paying homage to another.

“How do you do it?” Ichiro Suzuki, 38, said with a smile to Raul Ibañez, who lockers next to him.

Ibañez smiled back, something the 40-year-old hasn’t been able to do a lot lately.

Entering Saturday, Ibanez was in an 0-for-18 skid and had two hits in his previous 45 at-bats.

But he hit a pinch-hit homer in the fifth, then a game-tying two-run shot in the four-run 13th that tied the score at 9.

“You have to try to put everything behind you,” Ibañez said. “That’s the great thing about baseball. Every day’s a new day, and if you dwell on what’s happened in the past, then you’re not focusing on what you can do today to help the team.”

Ibañez, according to Elias, became the first Yankee to enter a game as a pinch hitter and homer at least twice since Steve Balboni did it May 23, 1990 at Minnesota.

Ibañez also reached in the 12th, stretching what looked to be a routine single to left-center into a double.

“Can’t say enough about what he did,” Joe Girardi said of Ibañez, among the most popular players in the clubhouse. “Everywhere he goes, he’s been teammates’ favorite guy, they love him. And we love him.” 


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