On the bench, Mariano Rivera whispered to Alex Rodriguez that Raul Ibanez would hit a game-tying, pinch-hit homer in A-Rod's spot in the ninth inning. Then it happened.

"It feels great … a lot of emotion," said Rivera, who had been out of uniform for most of the year since suffering a season-ending knee injury May 3. "What a great game. Thank God we have Raul on our side."

Until the first of Ibanez's two dramatic homers, Rivera's presence at the Stadium was one of the few things the sellout crowd could roar about. Rivera jogged out for the pregame introductions to a thunderous ovation. He received another one upon throwing out the game's ceremonial first pitch.

"Support the guys. That's all I can do," Rivera said of his time on the bench. He'll return to the dugout tonight.

Rivera previously has said he intends to return as the Yankees' closer in 2013. He praised the job Rafael Soriano has done in his absence, with 42 saves in 46 chances. Soriano tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings before David Robertson entered and threw two scoreless innings to earn the win.

Robertson, who has appeared in all three games, helped give the Yanks a scare in the 12th when he got in the way of Mark Reynolds' towering, two-out pop-up with none on base, which dropped for a hit. Robertson said the ball blew from behind the plate to near the mound. "I was about to call it. … I kind of panicked there."

First baseman Mark Teixiera rushed in and failed to make the catch. He initially was charged with an error, but it was later scored a hit. "I should have gotten out of the way," Robertson said.