10 Most Memorable New York Yankee Moments from 2012
The New York Yankees finished the 2012 regular season with the best record in the American League at 95-67. They won their second straight American League East Division title and made their fourth consecutive postseason appearance.
For the record, that makes 13 division titles and 17 playoff trips in 18 seasons since 1995.
The season ended badly for the Bronx Bombers, who turned into the Bronx Bummers with their lack of offense in the playoffs—particularly during their four-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
But there were still many great moments for the Yankees in 2012. Here are 10 of them.
10. A Wild Win
The Detroit Tigers couldn’t get the ball from the pitcher to the catcher on April 27 and as a result, the New York Yankees got an unexpected victory.
Tiger reliever Brayan Villarreal uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Derek Jeter to move up two bases on a walk to Curtis Granderson.
Moments later, the Yankees won it when Detroit catcher Alex Avila couldn’t handle another delivery from Villarreal. The passed ball allowed Jeter to score the game-winner from third base for a 7-6 victory.
9. Renaissance Man
Derek Jeter was 38 years old in 2012, but the longtime fixture at shortstop for the New York Yankees played like a guy a decade younger.
Jeter put together one of the best seasons of his 18-year career, hitting .316 in 2012 and leading the major leagues with 216 hits.
That made Jeter the second-oldest player to ever lead all of baseball in hits. The only one older was Pete Rose, who was 40 years old when he posted 140 hits during the strike-shortened 1981 season.
8. Another Division Title in the Bag
The actual moment came during the seventh inning when the scoreboard flashed the result of the Baltimore Orioles’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 3. That result clinched another American League East title for the Bronx Bombers.
The result may have been academic, but blowing out the Red Sox really never gets old.
7. Walk-off Redux
One day after Russell Martin hit a walk-off homer to beat the Oakland Athletics, the New York Yankees took a very different route to achieve the same result.
A single, sacrifice and intentional walk had the winning run on second base. But pinch-runner Melky Mesa—making his big-league debut—made what could have been a huge rookie mistake.
Alex Rodriguez singled to center field, but Mesa missed third base and had to retreat.
Mesa was subsequently retired on a fielder’s choice.
Eduardo Nunez came up and hit what looked like an inning-ending ground ball. But Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss booted the grounder and the Yankees had a 10-9 win in 14 innings.
The win came after New York had to rally for four runs in the bottom of the 13th after the Athletics had hung a four-spot in the top of the frame.
6. Russell Martin Sends ‘em Home Happy
Russell Martin led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run to make a winner of the New York Yankees on Sept. 21.
The blast was Martin’s second walk-off homer of the season and gave New York a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
The win came after Rafael Soriano blew a save in the top of the ninth to spoil eight shutout innings by CC Sabathia.
5. Hiroki Kuroda Shuts Down the Texas Rangers
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The victory was Kuroda’s best of a solid first season in the Bronx for the former Japanese League star, who signed as a free agent before the season after four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kuroda won a career-high 16 games and was the best pitcher on the staff for much of the season, holding the rotation together while CC Sabathia was on the disabled list twice and Andy Pettitte missed three months with a broken ankle.
4. Raul Ibanez Gives Us a Playoff Preview
Raul Ibanez entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on Oct. 2 at Yankee Stadium. Ibanez came in to face Boston Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey with the Yankees trailing by two runs.
A loss would leave the Bombers in a tie with the Baltimore Orioles for the lead in the American League East heading into the final day of the regular season.
Ibanez tied the game with a two-run homer to right field.
He wasn’t done, though. In the 12th, Ibanez made sure the Yankees had at least a share of the division title, dribbling a single into left field to score Francisco Cervelli for a 4-3 win.
3. Lou Gehrig Has Company
The New York Yankees trailed the Atlanta Braves after seven innings, but the Yankees responded with a six-spot in the top of the eighth inning to win it.
The key blow in the rally was struck by Alex Rodriguez. He hammered a grand slam off Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters and New York went on to win 6-4.
The grand slam was the 23rd of Rodriguez’s career, tying him with Lou Gehrig for the most four-run home runs in baseball history.
2. Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback
Nick Swisher's grand slam on April 21 helped key a comeback from a 9-0 deficit at Fenway Park.
The New York Yankees fell behind huge at Fenway Park on April 21. Felix Doubront had shut out New York through five innings and the Boston Red Sox led 9-0.
The Yankee rally started innocently enough when Mark Teixeira touched up Doubront for a solo home run in the sixth to make it 9-1.
But then New York put up seven runs in the top of the seventh. Then came seven more runs in the top of the eighth and just like that, the Bombers walked out of the Fens with an unlikely 15-9 victory.
1. Raul Ibanez Becomes a Yankee Legend
Trailing the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 10, the New York Yankees were on the verge of falling into a 2-1 series hole to the upstart O’s.
Alex Rodriguez had struggled through the first two-plus games of the series. So manager Joe Girardi decided to do the unthinkable—he pinch-hit for a guy with more than 600 career home runs.
All Raul Ibanez did was blast a pitch from Baltimore closer Jim Johnson into the seats in right field to tie the game.
But Ibanez wasn’t done yet.
He made another plate appearance to lead off the bottom of the 12th. This time, he went deep again off reliever Brian Matusz for a walk-off 3-2 win and the lead in the series.