Raul Ibanez might not get as many at-bats as the marquee sluggers on the Yankees. Still, he has shown a flair for the dramatic that rivals any of his teammates.
Ibanez hit a tiebreaking grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning and New York beat Toronto 6-3 on Monday night after Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista left the game with a wrist injury.
Six of Ibanez's homers this season have either tied the score or given New York the lead, according to STATS LLC. Eight of his 12 long balls have come in the sixth inning or later.
"I don't really think about it that much. Just try to do whatever I can to help out," Ibanez said of his clutch hitting. "Just try to stay in the moment."
The Blue Jays might have lost one of baseball's top sluggers for an extended period. Bautista injured his left wrist on a swing in the eighth and was removed from the game. He hit a long foul ball against David Robertson and immediately grabbed his wrist, dropping into a crouch outside the batter's box.
Bautista walked off the field, gently supporting the wrist with his right hand after being attended to by several Toronto staff members. After the game, the Blue Jays said Bautista did not break a bone, but he has a tendon injury and will have an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity.
"He didn't say exactly when" he hurt the wrist, Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But through the course of completing the swing he felt a little bit of a popping sensation."
The Blue Jays will wait to make a move until they have a better idea how long the two-time defending AL home run champ will be out.
"There will be a follow-up transaction tomorrow," Farrell said. "Certainly, Jose's not going to be ready to go tomorrow."
Ibanez connected on a 3-1 pitch from Jason Frasor for a no-doubt drive into the first row of the second deck in right field to snap a 2-all tie.
One day after the Yankees left the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a 10-8 loss to the Angels, Ibanez helped New York win for the seventh time in nine games. The Yankees were 16 for 88 (.181) this season with the bases full before he homered.
The majors' two best power-hitting teams had padded their homer totals earlier — with Yankee Stadium specials. Both Russell Martin, in the second inning, and Adam Lind, in the fourth, hit line drives into the first row in right field.
"That short porch over there, it's been nice to me," Martin said.
Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit one-out singles in the eighth off Aaron Loup (0-1), recalled from the minors on Friday. Frasor came on and hit Mark Teixeira in the foot with a pitch. Teixeira tried to fake that he jumped out of the way because the ball bounced into the stands and A-Rod would have scored. Rodriguez had advanced to second on a passed ball before Cano's hit and was on third.
Ibanez then hit his 10th career slam. He has been playing more because Brett Gardner has been on the disabled list since April 18 with an elbow injury and on Sunday he had his third setback in his rehabilitation.
"I'm not sure how many extra at-bats he's gotten," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Ibanez, signed in the off-season to primarily be a designated hitter. "But he's gotten a lot more playing time in left field and that's probably helped his numbers, his production."
Robertson (1-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win.
Cody Eppley put two runners on with one out in the ninth. The Blue Jays scored an unearned run when left fielder Dewayne Wise, a defensive replacement, misplayed J.P. Arencibia's single off Rafael Soriano, who finished for his 23rd save.
Fans hoping to see an offensive outburst from homer-happy clubs were foiled by the wild but effective outings of Henderson Alvarez and Phil Hughes.
Alvarez walked a career-high four in six innings. Hughes issued three free passes in seven innings, and each starter went over 100 pitches.
Hughes was hurt by a one-out walk to Bautista in the sixth. The All-Star slugger scored from first on Edwin Encarnacion's double that tied it 2-all.
"Certainly wasn't a bad outing," Hughes said. "If this is the low end for the second half, that will be great."
Cano extended his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games with an RBI double past a diving Bautista in right field in the third after Rodriguez lined a two-base hit to left-centre to make it 2-0.
Rodriguez was moved from third base to designated hitter because he felt stiffness in his neck during batting practice. He went 2 for 4 and scored two runs.
Lind's homer to right in the fourth made it 2-1 and was the 20th of the season off Hughes, but only the first in four games.
Rajai Davis snapped an 0-for-25 slump with a one-out double in the seventh.