The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled through for two runs with two outs in the ninth innings to beat the St Louis Cardinals 3-2 in LA to claim a commanding 2-0 series lead in their best-of-five National League division playoff.
|Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers breaks his bat on his way to first base [GALLO/GETTY]
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Angels rallied behind pitcher John Lackey to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in the American League to secure the opening game of their series.
The visiting Colorado Rockies grabbed an early 4-0 lead and held on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 to level their series at 1-1.
St Louis were on the brink of tying the series with two outs and nobody on when a botched catch by the usually sure handed left fielder Matt Holliday on a fly ball from James Loney set up a nightmare finish for the visitors.
Loney, who reached second base on the Holliday error, was replaced by pinch runner Juan Pierre. Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin then walked Casey Blake before giving up a game-tying single to Ron Belliard.
A passed ball by catcher Yadier Molina allowed the baserunners to move up to second and third, and Franklin then walked Russell Martin to load the bases.
Pinch-hitter Mark Loretta, who had been 0-for-15 against Franklin in his career, then came through with a bloop single to shallow centre field that scored Blake with the winning run.
"That's about as tough a loss as you can have," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
"Incredible," was the view from Dodgers manager Joe Torre, whose team will go to St Louis to resume the series on Saturday.
The finish spoiled a great outing from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who gave up one run on three hits, striking out seven with just one walk in eight innings.
|Yorvit Torrealba hits a home run for the Rockies [GALLO/GETTY]
In Philadelphia, the Rockies were able to get out of a ninth-inning jam to secure a series-tying victory.
Colorado closer Huston Street got Shane Victorino to line out to second baseman Clint Barmes with men on first and second to end the game after Jayson Werth had homered in the eighth to get Philadelphia within one run.
The best-of-five series now shifts to Colorado.
Carlos Gonzalez had singled, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt before coming home on an infield dribbler by Todd Helton to open the scoring in the first.
The Rockies added two more runs in the fourth when Yorvit Torrealba homered to left after Helton's lead-off single to make it 3-0, and added another run in the fifth before the Phillies came roaring back.
Philadelphia chased starter and winner Aaron Cook in the sixth, scoring three runs on Ryan Howard's double and a two-run single by Raul Ibanez.
A sacrifice fly by Dexter Fowler in the seventh scored an all-important insurance run that neutralised Werth's homer.
Cole Hamels took the loss, leaving after five innings to be with his wife, who went into labour during the game.