Bullpen perfection disappeared for the Baltimore Orioles when it mattered most.
These exciting young Birds had been 76-0 this year when leading after seven innings, their relievers carrying them through the hot days of summer and the crisp nights of early fall. They had won 16 consecutive extra-inning games since losing their first two of the year to the New York Yankees in April, the best streak in the big leagues in more than a half-century.
They were two outs from taking control of their AL division series. Jim Johnson had converted a big league high 51 saves.
And then, just when you least expected ...
Raul Ibanez, pinch hitting for no less than Alex Rodriguez, drove a 94 mph fastball over the right-center field scoreboard with one out in the ninth inning to tie the score 2-all.
Three innings later, it was Ibanez again.
The 40-year-old sent a 91 mph Brian Matusz pitch into the right field second deck leading off the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 win Wednesday night and a 2...