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Exhilarating Comeback Maintains Yankees One Game Lead

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Francisco Cervelli #40 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Ichiro Suzuki #31 and Alex Rodriguez #13 after he scored the winning run off of a walk off single by Raul Ibanez #27 in the twelfth inning against the Boston Red Sox on October 2, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 02: Francisco Cervelli #40 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Ichiro Suzuki #31 and Alex Rodriguez #13 after he scored the winning run off of a walk off single by Raul Ibanez #27 in the twelfth inning against the Boston Red Sox on October 2, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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By HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Raul Ibanez tied it with a pinch-hit homer in
the ninth inning, then had an RBI single in the 12th, helping the
Yankees remain a game up on Baltimore in the AL East with one game
to go by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night.

With a second comeback spurred by Ibanez in the last 10 days,
the Yankees need a win or Orioles loss on the final day of the
season to secure their 13th division title since 1996. The Orioles
beat Tampa Bay 1-0 earlier.

If the teams end up even after Wednesday’s games, they’ll play a
tiebreaker Thursday in Baltimore.

The Yankees kept missing chances on a misty night. They were
0-58 when trailing after eight innings this season before rallying
in the ninth.

Curtis Granderson led off with a single off closer Andrew Bailey
and Ibanez lined a shot to right field to make it 3-all.

Ibanez came up again with two outs in the 12th after Francisco
Cervelli walked in his first plate appearance of the year and
Granderson drew a walk from Andrew Miller (3-2).

Ibanez hit a grounder out of the reach of shortstop Jose
Iglesias and Cervelli flopped into home plate. The Yankees ran out
to first base to mob Ibanez, who had a tying two-run homer against
Oakland in the 13th inning on Sept. 22. He was doused with a bucket
of water during a postgame interview.

“We stuck together. We stayed after them, and we were able to
pull it out,” Ibanez said. “I was trying not to do too much, and
it found a hole.”

Derek Lowe (9-11) pitched two innings for the win.

While the Orioles were chasing the Yankees in the standings,
Lowe’s outing was delayed briefly in the 12th by another kind of
bird. A member of the grounds crew, using a bucket, chased a bird
that landed on the infield and was reluctant to fly off.

The Red Sox dropped to 69-92, and the loss ensured they will
finish in last place in the East for the first time since 1992.

The Yankees had at least one hit in each of the first six
innings before the top three in the batting order went out
successively in the seventh against Junichi Tazawa.

They loaded the bases against Bailey in the ninth but Mark
Melancon relieved and got Mark Teixeira to pop up to an outfield
playing in and Robinson Cano to ground out.

Managing as if this were a playoff game, manager Joe Girardi
used much of his well-rested bullpen. He called on Rafael Soriano
for the ninth, trailing 2-1, and the closer gave up a leadoff homer
to James Loney, rankling many of the 41,564 who stayed through the
rain.

He also pitched the 10th, walking one batter. It was the first
time this season he pitched more than 1 1-3 innings.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were back in Boston’s lineup
a day after sitting out of a 10-2 loss and immediately made an
impact. Ellsbury, who sat against left-hander CC Sabathia, singled
and scored from first on a double to right-center by Pedroia,
playing with a broken left ring finger. Cody Ross added a sacrifice
fly against David Phelps for a 2-0 lead.

Eduardo Nunez had an RBI single off Jon Lester after Granderson
reached on an infield hit, advanced to second on a throwing error
by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco on the play and then stole third
base.

Teixeira grounded out with runners on first and second to end
the fifth and was booed by the many fans who remained in their
seats.

The Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs in the
seventh against Rich Hill and Ichiro Suzuki came up to chants of
“Ich-iro!” He hit a sharp line drive to center field that was
caught by Ellsbury.

NOTES: Yankees top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos is scheduled
to have reconstructive surgery on his left elbow Thursday. Dr.
James Andrews will perform the Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old
Banuelos is expected to miss the 2013 season. … Boston entered
the game 24 games out of first place. The previous time they were
that far out was after games of Sept. 22, 1969. … Boston’s
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6) faces New York’s Hiroki Kuroda (15-11) in
the regular-season finale.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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