Last night was a very exciting night in baseball overall. Both the A’s and Giants had their backs against the wall for the second straight day, and both came through to push a Game 5. There was a similarly exciting game in New York as the Yankees walked off over the Orioles to give them a 2-1 advantage. Meanwhile, the Cardinals blew the Nationals out, obliterating them and Nats’ starter Edwin Jackson 8-0.
The Detroit-Oakland game looked like the Tigers had it all the way. They had a favorable pitching matchup with the experienced Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74) and rookie A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06). The pitching matchup played in well, as Scherzer dominated the A’s offense– striking out 8 and allowing no earned runs in 5.1 innings. Griffin, meanwhile, allowed an RBI single to Austin Jackson in the third and a fourth inning bomb by Prince Fielder. The A’s would get one back in the sixth, but the Tigers would get that back and it was 3-1 Tigers entering the ninth. All-Star closer Jose Valverde entered the game and was promptly bombed by the A’s, allowing a single and back-to-back doubles to start the inning, tying the game at 3-3. He would get the next two outs, but he couldn’t get Coco Crisp, as the switch-hitter knocked a grounder to right, scoring Seth Smith and pushing it to a Game 5.
There were more walk-off dramatics in New York as the Yankees and Orioles played an essential Game 3, tied 1-1. Despite this game being a taught pitching matchup between Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25) and Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32), the Orioles had the long-ball working early on. Ryan Flaherty’s third inning shot and Manny Machado’s fifth inning bomb gave the Orioles an early lead. However, the Yankees had scored in the third inning and would do so again in the ninth on a solo home run by Raul Ibanez, tying things up at 2-2. It took the teams until the 12th to score again, and it was Ibanez leading off. He continued his fantastic postseason and blasted his second homer of the game, a walk-off shot to give the Yanks a 2-1 series advantage.
Despite a pair of great games in the American League, the National League’s game were merely a couple of blowouts. The first of these was the matchup between the Cardinals and Nationals, tied 1-1 at game time. A seemingly good pitching matchup of Chris Carpenter (10-2, 2.88 career in playoffs) and Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03 in 2012) turned sour very quickly. After taking a run in the first, the Cardinals grabbed three more in the second on a three-run blast by rookie shortstop Pete Kozma. Craig Stammen would be the Nationals pitcher when the Cards scored next, but he was battered all the same, allowing a run to give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. They took an additional run in the sixth and two in the seventh on a Jon Jay single to put them up 8-0 and give the Cardinals a 2-1 series advantage.
Good pitching played at least some role in all of the first three games, but the Giants and Reds both allowed quite a bit of offense in this game. Both teams scored in the first, before the Giants got the lead in the second on a two-run homer by light-hitting Gregor Blanco. The long ball was certainly working as the Reds cut into that lead with a Ryan Ludwick home run in the third. However, the Giants nabbed a couple more in the fifth on RBI’s by Joaquin Arias and Pablo Sandoval. Brandon Phillips’ RBI single in the sixth would make it 5-3, but the Giants weren’t done as an RBI double by former Red Sox Marco Scutaro and a two-run homer by Pablo Sandoval made it 8-3. That game would push it to a Game 5 with the series tied at 2-2.