NEW YORK — Raul Ibanez called it the polar opposite of emotions: boundless joy in the ninth inning for the New York Yankees and then devastation in the 12th inning.
The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, Ibanez hitting a dramatic two-run homer with two outs.
Then not only did the Yankees lose the game three innings later when the Tigers scored two runs, they also lost Derek Jeter for the remainder of the season with a fractured left ankle.
“There is disappointment that we didn’t win the game. There is disappointment that our captain and our leader went down for the rest of the year,” manager Joe Girardi said after the 6-4 loss.
Jeter was injured as he fielded a ground ball off the bat of Johnny Peralta, his left leg collapsing as he gathered the ball up. Those left in the crowd fell silent as Jeter sprawled face down on the infield dirt.
“I knew it was bad when he didn’t get right up,” said Andy Pettitte, New York’s starter.
Jeter was helped off the field and x-rays showed a fracture that should heal in three months and is not career threatening. It is uncertain if he will need surgery.
General manager Brian Cashman said Jeter showed no reaction when he got the news.
“The job is to find a way over every obstacle,” Cashman said. “The way to honor Derek more than anything else – these guys know this – is to get the job done in his absence.”
The Yankees will activate Eduardo Nunez for Game 2 on Saturday and Jayson Nix could replace Jeter at shortstop. Alex Rodriguez will not be considered, Girardi and Cashman said.
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead before Jeter was injured. Miguel Cabrera drew a walk off rookie David Phelps and scored from second on a one-out double by Delmon Young to the gap in right.
Right fielder Nick Swisher was in the vicinity but could not make a tumbling catch. He said later he lost the ball in the lights.
Young scored on a single by Andy Dirks. Young had three hits and three RBIs. Drew Smyly pitched the final two innings to get the win.
“We took a right cross in the ninth inning but we survived it,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said
The Yankees trailed 4-0 going into the ninth inning against Tigers closer Jose Valverde. They had left 11 runners on base to that point, eight in scoring position, against Doug Fister, Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit. Disappointed fans were streaming for the exits.
Russell Martin singled. Then Ichiro Suzuki hit his first postseason homer, a line drive over the wall in right field.
Valverde struck out Robinson Cano for the second out. But Mark Teixeira worked a walk after falling behind 0-and-2. That gave Ibanez a chance and he drove a splitter out to right center. It was Ibanez’s third home run of the postseason. He belted two against the Orioles in Game 3 of the Division Series, one in the ninth inning to tie the score and a second in the 12th.
Ibanez is the first player in history to hit three home runs in the ninth inning or later in a single postseason.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “People keep asking me what I’m doing. I’m just trying to find a pitch I can hit.”
Ibanez also drove in two runs in the penultimate game of the regular season against the Red Sox on Oct. 2 to help the Yankees maintain their lead against the Orioles.
Leyland said several times after the game how proud of he was of his team. But even he was affected by the news about Jeter.
“When you think of the postseason, you think of Derek Jeter,” he said. “I am the opposing manager but fortunately over the years there is tremendous mutual respect.”