Baltimore Orioles beat Yankees in 13th and force Game 5
J.J. Hardy hit an RBI double in the 13th inning and the Baltimore Orioles bounced back from a demoralizing loss to outlast the New York Yankees 2-1 Thursday night, forcing a deciding Game 5 in the AL division series.
After splitting 22 games this year, it all comes down this: a winner-take-all for a spot in the AL championship series.
Game 1 winner CC Sabathia is set to pitch the deciding game for the Yankees. Orioles manager Buck Showalter had not announced his starter.
Eric Chavez, pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez, lined out to end the game shortly after midnight.
The Orioles were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position until Hardy doubled off David Phelps with one out to score Manny Machado.
Detroit Tigers ride Justin Verlander back to ALCS
Meanwhile, in Oakland Justin Verlander struck out 11 in a four-hitter to send the Detroit Tigers back to the AL championship series, beating the Oakland Athletics 6-0 in the decisive Game 5 of their division series Thursday night.
After squandering two chances to clinch the series, including blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead in Game 4, Verlander became Detroit's ultimate closer.
The Tigers will face either the New York Yankees or Baltimore Orioles, tied at 2-all heading into their Game 5 on Friday night in New York. Game 1 of the ALCS is scheduled for Saturday.
Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP, was so sharp nobody in the bullpen ever got up to throw. He struck out 22 in his wins on both ends of this nail-biting series.
San Francisco Giants beat Cincinnati Reds 6-4
Also advancing to the Championship series is the San Francisco Giants. Giants catcher Buster Posey hit the third grand slam in team postseason history, and San Francisco completed its startling comeback by holding off the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 Thursday in the decisive Game 5 of the NL division series.
The Giants won the final three games, all in Cincinnati, and advanced to the NL championship series. They will face either St. Louis or Washington.
Ahead 6-0, San Francisco saw the Reds rally throughout the late innings. Cincinnati scored once in the ninth before Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen with two runners on base to end it.
Jason Werth's homer for Nationals forces Game 5 against Cards
And finally, Jason Werth led off the bottom of the ninth inning by driving Lance Lynn's 13th pitch into the left-field stands to give the Nationals a 2-1 victory over the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and force a Game 5 in their NL division series.
As he circled the bases, Werth raised his right index finger in a "No. 1" gesture, while the announced crowd of 44,392 roared with delight.
The best-of-five series will end Friday night in Washington, with the winner advancing to face the San Francisco Giants in the NL championship series.