August 1st. Rangers 11, Angels 10 (ten innings).
This game is a strong contender for game of the year. The Angels pounded Texas ace Yu Darvish early on, and led 7-1 after four innings. But the Rangers rallied, scoring six straight runs off of Los Angeles pitching, eventually tying the game at seven in the ninth after Ian Kinsler homered off of Ernesto Frieri. But the Angels didn't take their blown lead lying down, scoring three runs in the tenth after a solo homer by Chris Iannetta and a two-run homer by Albert Pujols off of Rangers closer Joe Nathan. Of course, Mike Scioscia sent Frieri out to start the tenth, and he immediately allowed a mammoth solo homer to Nelson Cruz to make it a 10-8 game. After Michael Young reached on an error and David Murphy walked, Jason Isringhausen replaced Frieri. Izzy allowed a single to former Angel Mike Napoli to load the bases, and another single to Mitch Moreland to make the game 10-9. Kinsler popped up for the first out before Elvis Andrus singled down the left field line to plate a pair, end the game, and send the Angels into a three week tailspin that essentially ended their season.
September 2nd. Braves 8, Phillies 7.
I promise Philadelphia, I don't hate you. But four months to the day after breaking the Phillies hearts for the first time in 2012, Chipper Jones did it again. Philadelphia led 7-1 after three innings, with a barrage of offense led by Ryan Howard, Erik Kratz, and starting pitcher Cole Hamels. After six, it was 7-3, and the Braves had nothing doing on offense. Then, the ninth inning rolled around...and things got weird. Still down four, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs for Martin Prado, who hit a hot shot to third base that Kevin Frandsen couldn't field, allowing a pair of runs to score. All of a sudden, it was 7-5, and the winning run was at the plate in the form of Jones against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. A hit of any kind would tie the game, but Jones did the same thing he did in May: golfed a fastball into the right field seats to end the game.
September 29th. A's 7, Mariners 4 (ten innings).
Heading into the final weekend of the season, the A's still had a shot to win the AL West. On September 27th, with six games to play, they trailed the Rangers by four games in the division. If Oakland could head into the final series of the year with Texas just a couple games out of the division, they could sweep them and take the crown. The Mariners jumped out to a 4-1 lead after four, and a victory looked like a slim possibility for the A's. Brandon Moss doubled in a run in the eighth to make it 4-2, but Stephen Drew was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. In the ninth, with Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen on the hill, budding Oakland superstar Josh Reddick walked to bring up Josh Donaldson, who tied the game at four with a two-run homer and set off pandemonium by the bay. In the tenth, Oliver Perez allowed a single to Coco Crisp and was relieved by Stephen Pryor, who walked Yoenis Cespedes to bring up Moss. Moss proceeded to hit a bomb into the afternoon air to give the A's a walkoff win. The Rangers game on Saturday was rained out, and they split a doubleheader with the Angels on Sunday before going into Oakland and getting swept, handing the A's the division title.
October 10th. Yankees 3, Orioles 2 (12 innings).
I hate the narrative of "clutch", but man...Raul Ibanez was *clutch* for the Yankees this season. With the Orioles leading the Yankees 2-1 in the ninth inning, Ibanez (pinch hitting for Alex Rodriguez) homered off of Jim Johnson to tie game three of the ALDS at two and send it into extra innings. In the 12th, Ibanez homered again, this time in walkoff fashion, to give the Yankees the victory, one that would save their season. The magic of Ibanez struck again in game one of the ALCS against the Tigers, but the Yankees would lose that game and the series.
October 10th. A's 4, Tigers 3.
On the same night as Ibanez's heroics in the Bronx, Coco Crisp finished off an A's comeback in Oakland. The A's were down 3-1 to the Tigers and facing elimination in the ALDS heading into the ninth. Tigers closer Jose Valverde imploded in epic fashion, allowing a single and two doubles to start the ninth, tying the game at three and putting the outcome of the game in doubt. After getting a pop-up and a strikeout, Valverde faced Crisp with Seth Smith as the winning run on second. Crisp singled to right and Smith scored as right fielder Avisail Garcia overran the ball, causing the A's to swarm Crisp at first and survive to play game five...where they ran into a buzzsaw named Justin Verlander.
October 11th. Nationals 2, Cardinals 1.
After running through the National League during the regular season, the Washington Nationals were facing elimination in the NLDS against the St Louis Cardinals. With the game tied at one in the ninth, Jayson Werth fought through a 13 pitch at bat against Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn, finally connecting on the 13th pitch and putting it into the bullpen to force a game five. The momentum from Werth's homer carried over to the first three innings of the deciding game in the series, but the Nationals blew a six run lead to St Louis, and their season ended with a heartbreaking 9-7 loss.
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