OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Seth Smith, Coco Crisp and the never-say-die Oakland Athletics forced a Game 5 of their AL division series against the Detroit Tigers with their most memorable comeback yet.
Smith hit a game-tying two-run double off closer Jose Valverde in the ninth inning and Coco Crisp capped Oakland’s most dramatic comeback yet with a two-out RBI single as the A’s staved off elimination for a second straight night with a 4-3 victory in Game 4 Wednesday night.
“There’s a confidence,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve done it so many times so there’s always going to be that confidence until we make that last out.”
The A’s rode 14 walkoff wins in the regular season to an improbable AL West title. Those paled in comparison to No. 15, which set up a win-or-go-home Game 5 against Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
Josh Reddick started the rally with a single just under the glove of diving second baseman Omar Infante. Josh Donaldson followed with a double off the wall in left-center and both runners scored on Smith’s double. Two outs later, Crisp lined a single and Smith scored easily when right fielder Avisail Garcia couldn’t handle the ball.
“It’s amazing,” Crisp said. “The guys in front of me did a fantastic job getting on base.”
That set off a raucous celebration near first base as the A’s poured out of the dugout to mob Crisp, who was the recipient of a whipped cream pie that became a regular occurrence in this remarkable season in Oakland. This marked the second time the A’s erased a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to win a postseason game, the other coming in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series.
Orioles………………..2, 12 inn.
NEW YORK (AP) — The highest-paid player in baseball could only sit and watch when Raul Ibanez pinch hit for him and tied the game with a bottom-of-the-ninth home run.
Alex Rodriguez had another good view from the dugout three innings later when Ibanez homered to win it in the 12th over Baltimore for a 2-1 Yankees lead in their best-of-five AL division series.
It was the first time Rodriguez had ever been pinch-hit for in a postseason game, according to STATS LLC.
And it worked.
Ibanez became the first player to homer twice in a postseason game in which he didn’t start, STATS said.
Phil Hughes will try to clinch it for the Yankees on Thursday night in Game 4. Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Carpenter was every bit the postseason ace he’s been in the past for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Taking the mound for only the fourth time in 2012, missing a rib after surgery to cure numbness on his right side, the 37-year-old Carpenter pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning, rookie Pete Kozma delivered a three-run homer, and the defending champion Cardinals beat Washington to take a 2-1 lead in their NL division series.
“If the baseball world doesn’t know what an amazing competitor he is by now, they haven’t been paying any attention,” Carpenter’s teammate Matt Holliday said. “Every guy on this team has watched him work his way back, watches him in between starts. He’s a stud. Just a guy that you want out there.”
Three relievers finished the shutout for the Cardinals, who can end the best-of-five series in Thursday’s Game 4 at Washington.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Facing elimination again, the San Francisco Giants came out swinging. Got a saving relief appearance from Tim Lincecum, too.
Angel Pagan led off the game with a home run, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval connected later and the Giants beat Cincinnati, evening their NL division series at 2-all.
Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner relegated to the bullpen, also delivered. He entered in the fourth with the Giants ahead 3-2, struck out six while giving up just one run in 4 1-3 innings, and allowed his team to pull away.
The Giants can complete an unprecedented comeback as no team has recovered from a 2-0 deficit by winning three on the road.