October 12, 2012

American League: Orioles even series, Tigers clinch

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - J.J. Hardy hit an RBI double in the 13th inning Thursday night and the Baltimore Orioles extended their American League division series against the New York Yankees to a deciding fifth game with a 2-1 victory.

Ryan Flaherty
click image to enlarge

Ryan Flaherty of Portland follows through on a single for Baltimore in the fourth inning Thursday night.

The Associated Press

Manny Machado led off the inning with a double, moved to third on Nate McLough's grounder to second and scored on Hardy's double to left-center.

The deciding game will be played at 5:07 p.m. Friday at Yankee Stadium.

McLouth homered in the fifth and made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to save a run in the bottom half, and Robinson Cano hit an RBI groundout in the sixth to set up extra innings.

New York had a runner in each of the first eight innings and threatened to take the lead in the eighth. Singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira off Luis Ayala put two on with no outs, and Cano's grounder to second against Brian Matusz advanced the runners.

Side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day relieved and struck out Rodriguez on four pitches -- A-Rod is 2 for 17 (.117) with no RBI and nine strikeouts in the series. Nick Swisher flied weakly to right, falling to 1 for 34 (.029) with runners in scoring position in his postseason career.

Both bullpens pitched scoreless ball, with Baltimore allowing three hits over 71/3 scoreless innings and the Yankees giving up four hits over 51/3 innings.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a 1-2-3 11th, and Matt Wieters led off the 12th with a single to left field. A large piece of the bat went twirling toward the mound and hit Chamberlain's surgically repaired pitching elbow.

Chamberlain threw down his glove and bent over in pain.

He was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue and Manager Joe Girardi. While Chamberlain threw three test pitches, Girardi went back to the dugout.

Chamberlain finished his pitches and walked off the field with Donahue. X-rays were negative. David Phelps came in and retired three straight.

The Orioles wasted a chance in the ninth when pinch-runner Lew Ford was picked off first by Rafael Soriano.

Derek Jeter singled off Pedro Strop with two outs in the 12th, but Suzuki grounded out.

McLouth had homered into the right-center field seats, reaching down for a 91 mph fastball from Phil Hughes. McLouth has six hits in his last six at-bats against Hughes with three doubles, plus two walks.

With Russell Martin on first with one out in the bottom half, McLouth ran down Jayson Nix's drive while crashing into the wall and doubled up the slow-footed catcher trying to retreat to first, with shortstop Hardy making a nice relay.

Joe Saunders, who beat Texas in last week's one-game, wild-card playoff, allowed one runner in each of the first five innings and two in the sixth.

Jeter, playing despite a foot injury that forced him out of Game 3, hit an opposite-field double down the right-field line leading off the sixth and took third on Suzuki's sacrifice. Teixeira walked, and Cano drove in Jeter with a grounder to second.

Tommy Hunter relieved and Rodriguez struck out, prompting another round of boos.

TIGERS 6, ATHLETICS 0: Justin Verlander struck out 11 in a four-hitter at Oakland, to send Detroit back to the AL Championship Series, winning the decisive Game 5 of the division series.

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.

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.

 

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