With midnight approaching, the Baltimore Orioles' bats awoke one more time. Now they'll get a last shot to finally overtake the New York Yankees.
J.J. Hardy hit an RBI double in the 13th inning and Baltimore bounced back from a demoralizing loss to outlast the Yankees 2-1 Thursday night, forcing a deciding Game 5 in the A.L. division series.
After splitting 22 games this year, it all comes down this: a winner-take-all match for a spot in the A.L. championship series against Detroit.
Game 1 winner CC Sabathia was set to pitch the deciding game for the Yankees against Jason Hammel.
The Orioles were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position until Hardy doubled off David Phelps with one out to score Manny Machado, who had doubled.
"There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunities to score runs," Hardy said, "so when there are those opportunities, I think we're trying a little bit too hard."
Phelps had relieved in the 12th after Joba Chamberlain was hit by a flying broken bat, forcing him to leave with a bruised right elbow.
Jim Johnson bounced back from allowing Raul Ibanez's pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Wednesday to earn his second save in the series with a perfect 13th.
"I don't take for granted at any time what these guys are accomplishing so far," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "They know that. I have so much respect for our guys."
Hours after learning Joe Girardi had kept quiet that his father died last Saturday, the Yankees couldn't rally late. This time, Girardi called upon Eric Chavez to pinch hit for slumping Alex Rodriguez. The former A's star lined out to third base to end it.
It was the second straight game the slumping A-Rod was hit for late in a game.
"I just do what I'm told," Chavez said. "It's kind of crazy."
New York had runners on base in each of the first eight innings, but went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and dropped to 6 for 28 (.214) in the series.
A-Rod, 2 for 16 (.125) with no RBIs and nine strikeouts, fanned against side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth. Nick Swisher then flied out.
"It's obviously frustrating," Rodriguez said. "That was a situation that I could do some damage, and just couldn't get it done tonight."
He's not the only slumping star. Curtis Granderson is 1 for 16 (.125) with nine Ks. Robinson Cano is 2 for 18 (.111) and hitless in his last 11 at-bats. Russell Martin is batting .214, Ichiro Suzuki .200 and Swisher .133.
"There's really good pitching," Girardi said. "There's guys on the other side that are struggling, too. You're seeing some really good pitching in these four games."
Baltimore's win pushed all four division series to five games for the first time since the round began in 1995.
NLDS: The Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth to show them how to win. His game-ending homer extended their surprising season.
Werth led off the bottom of the ninth inning by driving Lance Lynn's 13th pitch into the left-field stands to give the Nationals a 2-1 victory over the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and force a Game 5 in their N.L. division series.
As he circled the bases, Werth raised his right index finger in a "No. 1" gesture, while the announced crowd of 44,392 roared. The other Nationals raced out of the dugout to greet Werth, who tossed his red batting helmet high in the air before jumping on home plate and being enveloped by a bouncing collection of thrilled teammates.
The best-of-five series will end Friday night in Washington, with the winner advancing to face the Giants in the N.L. championship series. The starters will provide a rematch of Game 1, which Washington won, with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nationals, and Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals.
"It's what you play all season for and what you work out all winter for and what you get to spring training early for," Werth said. "We have a chance tomorrow to take that next step. I know my teammates will be ready and the city will, too."
The homer was Werth's first with the Nationals but 14th of his career in the postseason. He won the 2008 World Series and a string of division titles with the Phillies before moving to Washington as a free agent before last season on a $126 million contract that stunned much of baseball. He gets a ton of credit for helping steer a quick turnaround: The Nationals lost 100 games in 2008 and 2009, but led the majors with 98 wins and won their division this year.
"When I signed here, my first day here, I went to a Capitals game, a hockey game, (and) the place was packed. Somebody said, 'Just a few short years ago, this place was empty.' So I knew that a winning ballclub would bring the fans," Werth said, "and here we are, two years later and they're showing up and it's awesome."
Cardinals batters made eight consecutive outs via strikeouts against three Nationals pitchers -- Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, who threw the top of the ninth and got the win.
Red Sox: Boston will start its search for a new manager with Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, who is scheduled to be interviewed Friday. The Red Sox are also known to be interested in current Toronto Blue Jays manager and former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. Other names mentioned include former San Diego Padres catcher Brad Ausmus and Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo.