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April 27, 2017

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Giants, Tigers clinch series; O's, Nats remain

CINCINNATI -- The San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers booked their places in the final four of the Major League Baseball playoffs with victories on Thursday, while the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals stayed alive with nail-biting wins.

The Giants secured a place in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) with a 6-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds, completing three straight road wins to overturn a 2-0 series deficit.

The identity of their opponents in the NLCS remains unknown, as the Nationals edged the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 to square their series at 2-2. Jason Werth hit the walk-off homer leading off the ninth. The deciding game will be in Washington on Friday.

Baltimore squeezed past the New York Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings to put their division series square at 2-2, and extending the tight season-long battle between the two teams.

J.J. Hardy hit an RBI double in the 13th inning as the Orioles bounced back from a demoralizing extra-inning loss of their own the previous day.

After splitting 22 games this year, it all comes down to a winner-takes-all game at Yankee Stadium on Friday for a spot in the American League Championship Series against Detroit.

The Tigers booked their spot as Justin Verlander pitched a shutout in a 6-0 win over the Oakland Athletics, taking the series 3-2 and finally seeing off the never-say-die A's.

It was the first time in 17 years that all four division series had gone the full five games.

In Cincinnati, Buster Posey hit the third grand slam in Giants' playoff history to give the visitors a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning.

The Reds rallied throughout the late innings and threatened in the ninth by scoring once and getting two runners on base before Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen to end it.

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