The Detroit Tigers notched a breakout 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday that tied the American League Championship Series at 2-2, while the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided elimination in the National League by beating the St Louis Cardinals 6-4.
In Michigan, the Tigers unleashed their bats in game four with a five-run second inning before generating more than enough run support to separate from the Red Sox and even up the best-of-seven series.
"It was awesome, we needed it," Detroit's Torii Hunter said at Comerica Park.
"We knew we were down 2-1, but told ourselves 'relax, have fun and just go out and play the game'."
Manager Jim Leyland made a critical change to the Tigers lineup, dropping Austin Jackson from the leadoff spot to number eight and moving everyone else up in the order.
It immediately paid dividends.
Thriving in his new spot, Jackson went 2-for-2 with two RBIs for his best game of the playoffs.
"I think it just helped me relax," Jackson said. "That was the goal. To get me to relax, be patient get a good pitch and let the rest take care of itself."
Detroit's Doug Fister allowed just one run and struck out seven batters in six innings.
Boston's man on the mound, Jake Peavy, was blasted during three innings that saw him surrender seven runs.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the sixth inning, and they added runs in the seventh and ninth but there would be no comeback this time.
David Ortiz, who delivered a memorable tiebreaking grand slam in game two, flied out with a man on base for the final out in the ninth.
Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits and an RBI for the Red Sox in the defeat.
Mouse in the house
At Dodger Stadium, Adrian Gonzalez blasted two home runs to help the Los Angeles Dodgers stave off playoff elimination.
The big-hitting left-hander cupped his hands to his ears, mimicking mimicking Mickey Mouse, as he made his way to the dugout after his first homer had soared over right field in the bottom of the third inning to put the Dodgers ahead for good.
That gesture was a reference to comments made by St Louis Cardinals ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, who had accused Gonzalez of "some Mickey Mouse stuff" as he celebrated a double during Monday's game three.
"The Mickey Mouse ears, I was just having fun with the comment that was made earlier," Gonzalez said after the Dodgers had won 6-4 on Wednesday to trim the Cardinals lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
"Nothing against them or anything."
Pitcher Zach Greinke survived a shaky start before dominating the St Louis batters.
With their backs to the wall going into a must-win game five, the home team's offense sizzled in bright afternoon sunshine as they trimmed the Cardinals' lead to 3-2.
Left-hander Gonzalez set the tone with his first home run in the bottom of the third before adding a second in the eighth, while Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis also weighed in with huge blasts to keep St. Louis under continual pressure.
Former Cy Young winner Greinke initially struggled on the mound but dug his way out of a jam in the top of the first with bases loaded and no outs, striking out Matt Adams and getting Yadier Molina to ground into an inning-ending double-play.
After enduring two rough innings, Greinke reverted to his usual dominance, allowing just two runs and six hits while striking out four and walking one in seven innings pitched.
Game Six is in St Louis on Friday when the Cardinals, who won the most recent of their 11 World Series titles in 2011, will start with rookie Michael Wacha while they have to contend with ace Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
"Obviously I didn't like being down 3-1, and now I'm not necessarily thrilled about having another elimination game," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
"But I feel pretty good about having Clayton pitching on Friday night and our chances of getting a seventh game."