RAUL IBANEZ AND Coco Crisp etched their names into MLB playoff folklore as the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics grabbed walk-off wins.
After tying the contest with a solo home run in the ninth inning, Ibanez homered off the first pitch of the 12th to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium last night.
Ibanez, pinch hitting for the out-of-sorts Alex Rodriguez, became the first player in post-season history to hit two home runs after starting on the bench.
“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to come up like that,” he said. “We do it together. It’s about the team, and it’s about winning.”
The win gave the Yankees a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five American League division series.
In Oakland, Crisp hit a walk-off single in the ninth inning to clinch a 4-3 Athletics win and force a fifth and final game in the American League division series with the Detroit Tigers.
Oakland trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth inning, but were soon on level terms when Seth Smith tied the game with a two-run double.
Crisp drove in the winning single off Tigers closer Jose Valverde, sending Smith home and earning Oakland their seventh walk-off victory in post-season history.
Elsewhere, the St Louis Cardinals crushed the Washington Nationals 8-0 in the first post-season game in Washington DC since 1933. Chris Carpenter threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings as the Cardinals grabbed a 2-1 lead in the National League division series.
In Cincinnati, the San Francisco Giants continued their revival with an 8-3 victory over the Reds, tying the National League division series at 2-2. The Giants, who lost the first two games in San Francisco, are aiming to become the first National League team to rally from 2-0 down to win a division series.