Carpenter wins D.C. debate

A’s, Giants force Game 5s; Ibanez leads Yankees over the O’s in 12

Chris Carpenter danced in and out of trouble all day long, but the Cardinals’ postseason ace didn’t allow a run through 5 2/3 innings to pick up a Game 3 win against the Nationals on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Enlarge photo

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Chris Carpenter danced in and out of trouble all day long, but the Cardinals’ postseason ace didn’t allow a run through 5 2/3 innings to pick up a Game 3 win against the Nationals on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – Chris Carpenter was every bit the postseason ace he’s been in the past for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Taking the mound for only the fourth time in 2012, missing a rib after surgery to cure numbness on his right side, the 37-year-old Carpenter pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning, rookie Pete Kozma delivered a three-run homer, and the defending champion Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 8-0 on Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead in their NL division series.

All in all, quite a damper on the day for a Nationals Park-record 45,017 red-wearing, towel-twirling fans witnessing the first major league postseason game in the nation’s capital in 79 years.

Three relievers finished the shutout for the Cardinals, who can finish the best-of-five series in today’s Game 4 at Washington.

Giants 8, Reds 3

Again facing elimination, the San Francisco Giants came out swinging and got a saving relief appearance from Tim Lincecum, too.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a home run, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval connected later, and the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 on Wednesday, evening their NL division series at 2-all.

Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner relegated to the bullpen, also delivered. He entered in the fourth with the Giants ahead 3-2, struck out six while giving up just one run in 4 1/3 innings, and he allowed his team to pull away.

The Giants can complete an unprecedented comeback today. According to STATS LLC., no team has recovered from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series by winning three on the road.

ALDS

NEW YORK – Raul Ibanez lined a ninth-inning home run while pinch hitting for slumping Alex Rodriguez, then hit a leadoff homer in the 12th, giving the New York Yankees a stunning 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night for a 2-1 lead in their AL division series.

Batting for baseball’s highest-paid player, Ibanez homered to right-center with one out in the ninth inning off Baltimore closer Jim Johnson to tie it at 2. Then he hit the first pitch from Brian Matusz leading off the 12th.

Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees tonight in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Chris Tillman or Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore

Athletics 3, Tigers 2

OAKLAND, Calif. – Seth Smith hit a game-tying two-run double off Detroit closer Jose Valverde in the ninth inning, and Coco Crisp capped Oakland’s most dramatic comeback yet with an RBI single as the Athletics staved off elimination for a second consecutive night with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the AL division series Wednesday.

The A’s rode 14 walkoff 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.

Josh Reddick started the rally with a single just under the glove of diving second baseman Omar Infante. Josh Donaldson followed with a double off the wall in left-center, and both runners scored on Smith’s double. Two outs later, Crisp lined a single to right, and Smith scored easily when Avisail Garcia couldn’t handle the ball.

Angel Pagan and the Giants scored eight times in a five-run victory Wednesday against the Reds in Cincinnati, and San Francisco moved one win away from finishing an NLDS comeback from a 2-0 deficit. Enlarge photo

Michael Keating/Associated Press

Angel Pagan and the Giants scored eight times in a five-run victory Wednesday against the Reds in Cincinnati, and San Francisco moved one win away from finishing an NLDS comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

Not once but twice, Raul Ibanez homered in the ninth to tie it, then he homered again in the 12th to win it. Ibanez and the Yankees beat the Orioles 3-2 in extra innings Wednesday night in New York. Enlarge photo

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Not once but twice, Raul Ibanez homered in the ninth to tie it, then he homered again in the 12th to win it. Ibanez and the Yankees beat the Orioles 3-2 in extra innings Wednesday night in New York.

Down by two in the ninth inning, the Athletics picked up a pair of leadoff hits, then Seth Smith tied the game at 3, then the A’s went cuckoo for Coco Crisp as their center fielder scored Smith on an RBI, walk-off single to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif., and force a Game 5. Enlarge photo

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Down by two in the ninth inning, the Athletics picked up a pair of leadoff hits, then Seth Smith tied the game at 3, then the A’s went cuckoo for Coco Crisp as their center fielder scored Smith on an RBI, walk-off single to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif., and force a Game 5.

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