Although Alex Rodriguez couldn't come through for the Yankees at the plate in the bottom of the ninth against the Orioles in Game 2 of the ALDS, he made a savvy play in the field during the third inning that helped keep his team close enough to have a chance in the final frame.
With the Orioles already leading 2-1 and threatening to add to the lead in the third, A-Rod faked out J.J. Hardy to save a run.
Hardy was on second base when Adam Jones hit a hard grounder between A-Rod and Derek Jeter. At age 38, the five-time Gold Glove shortstop showed he may have lost some of his range, failing to get his glove on the ball.
Despite Baltimore third base coach DeMarlo Hale emphatically waving him home, Hardy slammed on the brakes at third. Why? Noticing that Hardy looked over his shoulder at Jeter while on his to third, A-Rod faked as if he was about to catch the ball despite the fact that the single got by the Yankees' shortstop. The deke appeared to cause Hardy to slow down and stop at third base. Wieters stepped up to the plate next and flied out on the first pitch, stranding Hardy at third.
Legendary Orioles shortstop and current TBS analyst Cal Ripken Jr. pointed out during the replay that it looked like Hardy explained himself by saying that he thought Jeter fielded Jones hit.
Fortunately for the Orioles, they had the last laugh. Closer Jim Johnson redeemed himself for the disaster in Game 1, striking out A-Rod to cap 1-2-3 ninth and give Baltimore a 3-2 win.
The series heads back to New York for Game 3.