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Ibanez, Ibanez: HRs twice for Yanks vs O's

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Ibanez, Ibanez: HRs twice for Yanks vs O's

NEW YORK (AP) Told he was batting second in the ninth inning, Raul Ibanez turned to Yankees teammate Eduardo Nunez.

``I asked who was hitting, and it was Alex, so I assumed something was going on,'' Ibanez said. ``I didn't know what was happening, and then I just tried to put it behind me and get a good pitch to hit.''

Turned out to be one of the nights of his life.

Ibanez pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez and went on to become the first player in major league history to homer twice in a postseason game he didn't start. His tying drive in the ninth inning and a winning shot in the 12th gave New York a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday and a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five AL division series.

Quite a month for the bald, well-spoken 40-year-old, who left the division-clinching celebration early last week when his wife gave birth to son Luca.

``I'm a very blessed man. I have a healthy baby boy and my wife is healthy, my children are healthy,'' Ibanez said. ``And then getting an opportunity to play for this great team, great franchise, and being in that situation and having it work out that way is a great blessing.''

When spring training started last February, Ibanez still was searching for a team. He signed for $1.1 million and wound up earning another $2.05 million for reaching 425 plate appearances. He hit .240 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs, but the numbers alone don't tell the story.

Including the playoffs, Ibanez has four home runs that tied the score for the Yankees and eight that put New York ahead. He also homered twice after entering as a pinch hitter on Sept. 22 in a 10-9, 14-inning win over Oakland. And with New York fighting for the AL East title, he hit a tying pinch homer against Boston in the ninth on Oct. 2 and then singled in the winning run in the 12th.

And now he has his own edition of Yankees Classics.

``I just had a gut feeling,'' manager Joe Girardi said.

Ibanez tied the game at 2 when he drove a 94 mph fastball from Jim Johnson over right-center field scoreboard with one out in the ninth.

It was the fifth time the Yankees hit a tying home run in the ninth inning or later of an extra-inning game that New York went on to win. The others were Tino Martinez in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, Scott Brosius the following night, Rodriguez in Game 2 of the 2009 division series and A-Rod in Game 2 of that year's AL championship series. (Elston Howard in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1964 hit tying homers in games the Yankees went on to lose.)

In the 12th, Ibanez sent a 91 mph pitch from Brian Matusz into the right field second deck.

``I think the tendency late in the game when the game is tied is, I think as players, we try to do a little too much,'' Ibanez said. ``I was trying to fight that feeling, trying not to do too much.''

Ibanez's teammates had trouble digesting the inconceivable.

``It seemed like it was something out of a cartoon,'' Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda said through a translator. ``It was unbelievable.''

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Nick Markakis makes All-Star debut after 12 1/2 seasons

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@EddieInTheYard Twitter

Nick Markakis makes All-Star debut after 12 1/2 seasons

Beloved former Oriole Nick Markakis is finally being recognized as an All-Star this week in Washington, D.C. at the 89th Midsummer Classic. 

The 34-year-old right fielder waited 12 1/2 Major League Baseball seasons for his name to be called. 

Markakis, who is on his way to having the best season of his career, is batting .323 and leading the NL with 120 hits. He received the most votes of any NL outfielder in fan voting.

A 22-year-old Markakis first arrived in the Orioles clubhouse in 2006 when the average age of the rest of the Orioles’ starting lineup was 32. The now 34-year-old finds himself as one of the oldest on a Braves team that is 10 games above .500 at the halfway point of the season and only 1/2 game back from the first-place Phillies.  

MLB announced Tuesday night's starting lineups, which features Markakis batting 7th and playing right field for the National League. 

Catch Markakis and the rest of the field in Tuesday night's All-Star Game at 8 p.m. on FOX. 

For all Orioles-related content, follow along on Twitter

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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USA TODAY Sports

Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.