Down by a run in an all-even AL division series, Joe Girardi approached Alex Rodriguez and told baseball's highest-paid player he was going to pinch hit for him.
Bold move, benching one of the game's great sluggers.
''I just had a gut feeling,'' the Yankees manager said. ''I just went to him and I said, `You're scuffling a little bit right now, we have got a low-ball hitter and we've got a shorter porch in right field then left field obviously - Raul (Ibanez) has been a good pinch hitter for us, and I'm just going to take a shot.'''
The audacious decision worked.
Ibanez homered in the ninth, then again in the 12th, rallying New York to a stunning 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series.
The slumping Rodriguez offered no complaint, telling Girardi: ''Joe, you gotta do exactly what you gotta do.''
Injured saves leader Mariano Rivera went to Rodriguez in the dugout after seeing Ibanez head for the on-deck circle.