Home field reigned supreme in Saturday's slate of postseason contests, both with their fair share of unexpected moments and plenty of drama.
The day opened with Game 2 of the American League Division series at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox took an early lead against the Rays and didn't look back in a 7-4 win.
Thanks to a collection of timely hits, Boston put Tampa Bay in an 0-2 hole as the clubs head down to Florida for Game 3 on Monday (6 p.m. ET, TBS) in the best-of-five series. The Red Sox were once again led by David Ortiz, who continued his postseason heroics with two home runs in the victory.
He jumped on Rays left-hander David Price early, hitting a towering solo rocket in the first inning to set the tone. The designated hitter added to that in the eighth inning, belting another solo shot to give Boston a three-run cushion.
"Like I tell you guys, we've faced Price many times, so you've got to make up your mind," Ortiz said. "You can't let a pitcher change your mind, and I stuck with the plan and it worked."
After tossing a complete game against the Rangers on Monday in Game 163, Price never seemed to settle in, allowing seven earned runs in seven-plus innings to take the loss.
"It's not over," Ortiz said. "We've got to keep on fighting. We know we're playing against a good ballclub. They always find a way to win games, and you can't take anything for granted."
A West Coast showdown in Oakland between the Tigers and A's turned into quite the pitchers' duel between Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray.
After a 3-2 Tigers win on Friday, the A's were in a must-win situation, and Gray delivered in Game 2. The 23-year-old rookie matched Verlander pitch for pitch, unfazed by the situation.
"It was very exciting, and I was really glad to get the opportunity. Like I said, I knew there was going to be a lot of adrenaline and however I was able to harness that adrenaline was going to be a big factor in the game," Gray said. "Coming out early, I wasn't as nervous, wasn't as amped up as I thought I would be. And it was awesome, because I was able to locate my pitches without being way too shaky."
He left the game after eight sensational innings, which included nine strikeouts, without a run being scored on either side.
That's when fellow rookie Stephen Vogt decided to take matters into his own hands. With the bases loaded and none out in the bottom of the ninth, Vogt lined a game-winning hit into left field off Rick Porcello to secure a 1-0 win.
All four National League teams will be in action on Sunday in the Road to the World Series. After a day of rest and travel, the Cardinals and Dodgers will look to bounce back from losses Friday.
The first game of the day in Pittsburgh, airing on TBS at 4:30 p.m. ET, will pit Cards right-hander Joe Kelly against Pirates ace Francisco Liriano.
"We know playing at home is more beneficial to us," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said after the Pirates evened the series with a Game 2 victory, 7-1. "We also know that St. Louis is not going to be rattled. They've played in a lot of hostile environments. We know we'll have to play good baseball to be successful."
Liriano has been brilliant against St. Louis this season, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts. He's also been masterful at home, going 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA in 11 starts at PNC Park.
In the second game Sunday night, the Braves and Dodgers will try and get one step closer to clinching their series as it shifts to Los Angeles. Game 3 will air on TBS at 8 ET/5 PT and showcase accomplished rookies Julio Teheran and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
"He's such a smart, intuitive guy who has a great feel for the game of baseball," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Ryu. "We've really grown together, him and I working together. He's grown with a lot of guys on the team."
An entire slate of games is on tap for Monday, with the A's and Tigers starting things off at Comerica Park (1 p.m. ET, MLB Network). Jarrod Parker gets the nod for Oakland, while Anibal Sanchez takes the hill for Detroit. They will be followed by St. Louis' Michael Wacha and Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton at PNC Park (3 p.m. ET, TBS).
The evening action will begin at 6 ET on TBS, with the Red Sox and Rays at Tropicana Field. Alex Cobb is looking to build off of his strong start against the Indians, while Clay Buchholz looks for the sweep. The final game of the night will get going in Los Angeles (9:30 ET/6:30 PT on TBS), with Atlanta's Freddy Garcia set to take on the Dodgers' Ricky Nolasco.
Today's Division Series games
Cardinals (Kelly) at Pirates (Liriano), 4:30 p.m. ET Preview >
Braves (Teheran) at Dodgers (Ryu), 8 p.m. ET Preview >
2013 MLB POSTSEASON MATCHUPS
Division Series: Rays at Red Sox | Tigers at A's
Division Series: Pirates at Cardinals | Dodgers at Braves
2013 postseason schedule
NL Division Series
Game 1: Cardinals 9, Pirates 1
Game 2: Pirates 7, Cardinals 1, NLDS tied at 1
Game 3: Cardinals at Pirates, Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Game 4: Cardinals at Pirates, Monday, 3 p.m. ET
Game 5*: Pirates at Cardinals, Wednesday, 5 p.m. ET
* - if necessary
Game 1: Dodgers 6, Braves 1
Game 2: Braves 4, Dodgers 3, NLDS tied at 1
Game 3: Braves at Dodgers, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET
Game 4: Braves at Dodgers, Monday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Game 5*: Dodgers at Braves, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET
* - if necessary
AL Division Series
Game 1: Red Sox 12, Rays 2
Game 2: Red Sox 7, Rays 4, Red Sox lead ALDS, 2-0
Game 3: Red Sox at Rays, Monday, 6 p.m. ET
Game 4*: Red Sox at Rays, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Game 5*: Rays at Red Sox, Thursday, 5:30 p.m. ET
* - if necessary
Game 1: Tigers 3, A's 2
Game 2: A's 1, Tigers 0, NLDS tied at 1
Game 3: A's at Tigers, Monday, 1 p.m. ET
Game 4: A's at Tigers, Tuesday, 5 p.m. ET
Game 5*: Tigers at A's, Thursday, 9 p.m. ET
* - if necessary
NL Championship Series begins: Friday
AL Championship Series begins: Saturday
World Series begins: Oct. 23
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com