Oakland keep series alive with dramatic win
Seth Smith hit a game-tying two-run double off closer Jose Valverde in the ninth inning and Coco Crisp capped Oakland’s rally with a two-out RBI single as the A’s staved off elimination for a second successive night with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 4.
“We’ve heard a lot of people say we’re not smart enough to know when to lose a game like most people do,” said Josh Reddick, who started the rally with a single. “We’ve been battling ’til the 27th out all year and we’re not going to stop now.”
The A’s rode a major league-leading 14 walk-off 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.
Reddick led off the ninth with a single just under the glove of diving second baseman Omar Infante. Josh Donaldson followed with a double off the wall in left-centre 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.
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.
The A’s, who have the lowest payroll in baseball, need just one more surprising result to win their second postseason series since 1990. Rookie Jarrod Parker will take the mound in Game 5 on Thursday night against Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young winner and MVP.
The Tigers looked to be in prime position to advance to their second straight ALCS and have a rested Verlander for Game 1 when they took a 3-1 lead into the ninth behind a strong start from Max Scherzer and a homer from Prince Fielder.
Now the A’s are one win away from repeating last week’s three-game sweep of Texas that gave them the AL West title on the final day of the regular season. After losing the first two games in Detroit, the A’s won 2-0 in Game 3 and are looking to become just the eighth team to rally from two games down to win a best-of-five series.
The rest of the MLB playoff series currently look like this:
Game 5 between Cincinnati and San Francisco will be decided tonight and the Giants will be hoping to make history as well, as a win would crown a comeback from two games down. After winning 8-3 in Game 4, the Giants return to the AT&T Park knowing that a win would put them through to the National League Championship game, which begins on October the 14th. The Giants are on a roll and but are out at +105 with the sportsbooks. Back them here!
Their possible opponents, St. Louis Cardinals or the Washington Nationals are in action today and the Cardinals could wrap the series up, sitting 2-1 ahead. They are slight favourites to win tonight at -114 with the Nationals close in at -105.
The Yankees left it late in their 3-2 win over Baltimore last night, but after taking a 2-1 lead in the series they will be looking to wrap things up tonight. They are -145 favourites for the win, with the Orioles unfancied at +125.
The World Series gets underway on October the 24th the Yankees remain slight favourites at +300, just ahead of the Cardinals at +450.
World Series 2012 outright odds:
New York Yankees +300
St. Louis Cardinals +450
Detroit Tigers +500
Cincinnati Reds +550
Oakland Athletics +650
San Francisco Giants +750
Washington Nationals +1000
Baltimore Orioles +2200
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