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Ibanez homers twice, Yanks sting O's in 12th

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Ibanez homers twice, Yanks sting O's in 12th

NEW YORK (AP) The highest-paid player in baseball could only sit and watch when Raul Ibanez pinch hit for him and tied the game with a bottom-of-the-ninth home run.

Alex Rodriguez had another good view from the dugout three innings later when Ibanez homered to win it.

Saved by manager Joe Girardi's gutsy move - and Ibanez's big swings - the New York Yankees rallied for a stunning 3-2 win in the 12th over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five AL division series.

``You're going to be asked a lot of questions if it doesn't work,'' Girardi said.

The slumping Rodriguez, among the greatest power hitters in history, offered no complaint, telling Girardi: ``Joe, you gotta do exactly what you gotta do.''

``Maybe 10 years ago I would have reacted in a much different way,'' A-Rod said.

Ibanez then stepped up and hit a tying, solo shot to right-center with one out in the ninth off major league saves leader Jim Johnson to make it 2-all.

Yankees fans had been howling this week for Girardi to drop Rodriguez out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order. But Girardi was reluctant to move his fading slugger down in the lineup.

Until he took him all the way out.

``You have to make some decisions sometimes that are tough decisions. I just had a gut feeling,'' Girardi said.

Rodriguez has 647 career home runs - he's chasing the all-time record of 762 by Barry Bonds - and is making $29 million this year. But was just 1 for 12 with no RBIs and seven strikeouts in this series when Girardi pulled him.

``It kind of caught me off-guard, hitting for a guy who's half-a-billionaire,'' Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said.

It was the first time Rodriguez had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.

And it worked.

Rodriguez immediately turned to injured Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, raised one arm, then both arms and traded high-fives with his star teammate. When Ibanez returned to the bench, Rodriguez was the first player to greet him.

``He said great job. A-Rod is a great teammate and great team player,'' Ibanez said. ``He's the first one on the top step congratulating you. It's about winning. It's about the Yankees and continuing.''

Ibanez remained in the game and connected on the first pitch from Brian Matusz in the 12th.

Ibanez became the first player to homer twice in a postseason game in which he didn't start, STATS said.

Phil Hughes will try to clinch it for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4. Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.

Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games, and had been 76-0 when leading after seven, before the Yankees stung them.

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

The brash, young Orioles appeared poised to move within a win of their first trip to the AL championship series since 1997 before the Yankees' comeback.

Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch into the seats in the ninth, setting off a raucous celebration in what had been a demoralized Yankee Stadium crowd.

After their 10-game July lead was cut to zero in early September, the Yankees repelled every Orioles charge. The teams were tied 10 times in the final month but New York ended up atop the division.

New York won the opener in Baltimore scoring five runs in the ninth off Johnson. The Orioles won Game 2 and rode Miguel Gonzalez's pretty performance to a 2-1 lead in the ninth.

But the Yankees limited Baltimore to one hit after 20-year-old Manny Machado homered in the fifth. Ryan Flaherty homered earlier for the Orioles.

Robert Andino was doubled off second after leading off the Baltimore ninth with a single and advancing on a sacrifice.

Boone Logan got one out in relief of Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up two solo homers in 8 1-3 innings. Closer Rafael Soriano pitched 1 1-3 innings and David Robertson went two, finishing off his outing by bumping into and tagging Andino to end the top of the 12th.

Derek Jeter tied the score with an RBI triple in the third for the Yankees. Jeter, limping after fouling a ball off his foot, came out after eight innings. He says we will be able to play Thursday.

NOTES: Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm