I don’t know the exact statistics, but this has to be one of the only times in division series history that every single game has gone to a Game 5. In yesterday’s slate of baseball games, the Giants won their Game 5– becoming the first time an NL team has come back from a 0-2 deficit, and the Tigers won their Game 5 in fashion over the upstart A’s. Meanwhile, the Orioles pushed a Game 5 on the Yankees as they won 2-1 after 13 hard innings and the Nationals walked off against St. Louis, promptly forcing a Game 5.
Let’s start with the Giants and Reds. The Reds had gotten off to a 2-0 start on the road, but had gone 0-2 at home and this was the deciding game. We got a pair of aces going in Matt Cain (1-1, 5.06 in playoffs) and Mat Latos (0-1, 6.48 in playoffs) and it sure looked like it early on. Neither team scored until the fifth, but when they did, it was big. The Giants led off with a single, an RBI triple, a run-scoring error, a walk and single to load the bases with one out and a 2-0 lead. Possible MVP Buster Posey came up and drilled a grand slam to make it 6-0 Giants. The Reds ate into that lead though, scoring twice in the bottom of the inning on a Brandon Phillips double. Ryan Ludwick’s sixth inning homer cut into it more, down to a save situation at 6-3. Ludwick’s RBI single in the ninth further cut into it, but not enough to win, and the Reds’ 97-65 season was over.
The Tigers and A’s didn’t have such a tightly contested game with Justin Verlander (2-0, 0.56 in playoffs) going against Jarrod Parker (0-2, 4.26), who’s had the bad luck to go against Verlander twice. While Verlander did his job, the Tigers bats did as well, leading to an offense-heavy night in Oakland. Omar Infante’s leadoff single started the Tigers rally in the third, but he got to second on a wild pitch. Austin Jackson would double him home, then score himself on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. It took them until the seventh to put up another rally, but they sure did– putting runners at the corners with one out. The next five batters (Austin Jackson, Quintin Berry, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young) all reached base on a single, walk, hit by pitch, single, and fielder’s choice to make it 6-0. The Tigers would pretty easily put them away at that point as they are ALCS bound.
Yesterday’s Nationals-Cardinals game continued to illustrate what’s been a fantastic series between them. Both teams scored early on, the Nationals on Adam LaRoche’s second inning home run and the Cardinals on a Carlos Beltran sac fly to knot it up at 1-1 early on. It would stay there for a while as both starting pitchers: Kyle Lohse (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 K) for the Cardinals and Ross Detwiler (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K) for the Nationals were great. It took them until the ninth, but it was sure exciting when Jayson Werth nailed a home run to deep left off of Cards’ reliever Lance Lynn to give the Nats a 2-1 lead and push it to a Game 5.
It’s hard to beat that, but the Orioles and Yankees game was even more exciting. Pitching was in command the whole way through with Phil Hughes (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K) and Joe Saunders (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K). Neither team scored until the fifth inning, when Nate McLouth bombed one to right to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. However, that was quickly erased on an RBI groundout by Robinson Cano in the sixth. It stayed 1-1 for quite a while, right through regulation and well into extra innings– the 13th to be exact. That was when a leadoff double by Manny Machado set up an RBI double for J.J. Hardy to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. They’d hold it through the bottom half and push it to a Game 5 in New York.