If you follow or know anything about postseason Major League Baseball then one thing should stick out in the forefront of your mind, anything can happen; once again last night that theory was proven correctly in both American League Division Series despite the fact that they took place almost 3,000 miles apart from one another.
In the Bronx, New York, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles took center stage of the baseball world in their game three match up beginning at approximately 7:37 pm (EST) and didn’t finish up until about 11:08 pm (EST) meanwhile 2,905 miles away in Oakland, California, the Oakland A’s and Detroit Tigers began their game four match up around 9:37 pm (EST, 6:37 pm WST) and were done at about 12:58 pm (EST, 9:58 pm WST); by the conclusion of both thrilling games once again MLB fans (unless they are Orioles or Tigers fans) fell in love with the theory that anything could happen.
In the Bronx, the Yankees were down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out when manager Joe Girardi decided to pinch-hit for a struggling Alex Rodriguez (1-12 with 7 strikeouts in the series). Girardi called upon Raul Ibanez with just two outs remaining in the game for the Yanks to make something happen and Baltimore’s hard-throwing closer Jim Johnson on the hill. With a 1-0 count, Ibanez blasted a Johnson fastball to right center field 403 feet and tied the game at 2-2 but he wasn’t done for the night yet.
In the bottom of the 12th inning on the first pitch of the inning from Orioles reliever Brian Matusz, Ibanez drove a towering. no-doubt shot two the second deck in right field 390 feet away for a walk-off homer that gave the Yankees not only a 3-2 victory but also a 2-1 edge in the series. This was the first time in Rodriguez’s career that he was pinch-hit for during the postseason and also the first time in MLB history that a player hit a pinch-hit game tying homerun and then later an extra inning walk-off homer in the same postseason game.
In Oakland, the A’s entered the bottom of the ninth down 3-1 to the Tigers with Detroit money-man, closer Jose Valverde on the mound but had nothing to fear because they had been in situations such as this all season long. First Josh Reddick led of the inning with a single to right, followed by a Josh Donaldson double to deep left center which gave the A’s two runners in scoring position with no one out in a two-run game.
Seth Smith then immediately doubled to deep right center field scoring both runners and placed himself in scoring position in what was now a tied ball game at three all. Two outs them subsequently followed and the game was left in the hands of Coco Crisp who two games earlier arguably lost the game for Oakland on an error. It was redemption time for Crisp as he singled to right field for the game-winning hit for Oakland as Smith scored from second and the A’s tied their best of five series up with the Tigers at two games a piece.
Game four between the New York and Baltimore will be in the same location (Yankee Stadium) with the same scheduled start time (7:37 pm EST) with Phil Hughes starting for the Yankees against the Orioles Joe Saunders. While the series finale between Oakland and Detroit is scheduled to begin at the same time as last night’s game (9:37 pm EST), in the same location (O.co Coliseum) with the two game one starters returning for both teams, Jarrod Parker for the A’s and Justin Verlander for the Tigers.
Oh what a typical, wild night in October; here’s to baseball!