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September 20, 2017

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Yanks stun O's with 12th-inning homer

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees had a nerve-shredding win and the St. Louis Cardinals a more comfortable victory on Wednesday to take 2-1 leads in their division series, while the San Francisco Giants squared their series at 2-2.

The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2. Raul Ibanez lined a tying ninth-inning home run then hit a leadoff homer in the 12th to produce a stunning win.

The Cardinals had a much easier time of it, cruising past the Washington Nationals 8-3, with Chris Carpenter holding the hosts scoreless into the sixth inning.

San Francisco, which needed extra innings to win Game 3 and stay alive, squared its series against the Cincinnati Reds with an 8-3 victory. In Game 5 on Thursday, the Giants have a shot at the unique achievement of winning three straight road games to overturn a 2-0 deficit in a five-game series.

The Oakland Athletics celebrated a walkoff victory against the Detroit Tigers with a 4-3 win, forcing a Game 5 in Oakland.

The drama of the day was in New York, where Ibanez was brought in as a pinch hitter to replace Alex Rodriguez, with the highest-paid player in baseball struggling for form. Ibanez homered with one out in the ninth inning off Baltimore closer Jim Johnson to tie the game 2-2. He then hit the first pitch from Brian Matusz leading off the 12th to win it.

Baltimore had won 16 straight extra-inning games, and had been 76-0 when leading after seven, before the Yankees stung them.

The closeness of Wednesday's game mirrored the tight battle between the teams all season. After their 10-game July lead was cut to zero in early September, the Yankees repelled every Orioles charge to snatch the American League East division title. The teams were tied 10 times in the final month but New York ended up top.

Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees on Thursday in Game 4. Chris Tillman or Joe Saunders will start for Baltimore.

In Cincinnati, Angel Pagan led off the game for the Giants with a home run, Gregor Blanco hit a two-run shot in the second and Pablo Sandoval Sandoval also had a two-run homer in the seventh to complete a strong performance by the visitors.

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