In the kind of moment when great Yankees are supposed to stand up at Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez sat down.

Joe Girardi let Rodriguez bat No. 3 against the Orioles, all right, he did, watched him go 0-for-3, watched him strike out twice.

Then Girardi sent 40-year-old Raul Ibanez up to hit for Rodriguez with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees down a run to the Orioles. And Ibanez hit one over the right-field wall to tie the game. A-Rod was one of the first to greet Ibanez when he got back to the dugout. Good teammate. Great $30 million cheerleader in that moment - Ibanez's great, loud moment - at the Stadium.

Ibanez stood up, A-Rod sat down.

That ending to A-Rod's night was as much the story of Game 3 as the way it really ended, in the bottom of the 12th, when Ibanez did it again, when he hit the first pitch he saw from Brian Matusz over the right field wall, won Game 3 for the Yankees, 3-2. Made this a home run night to go with anything the Yankees have ever seen, on either side of 161st St.

"Joe and I had a discussion," Alex Rodriguez said in the middle of the Yankee clubhouse when it was over.

Rodriguez was asked about being pinch-hit for in this kind of moment at Yankee Stadium and he said this about his manager: "I love Joe."