The 5 best Game 5 moments in Division Series history
They're two of the best words in baseball: Game 5.
There have been 27 decisive Game 5s since the Division Series debuted back in 1995, and we've narrowed down the list to the five very best, presented in chronological order.
1995 ALDS: The Double
In 1995, the Mariners finally made their first postseason appearance in franchise history -- and it changed the course of baseball in the city forever.
Seattle dropped Games 1 and 2 to the Yankees in New York, but they refused to say die: Back at home at the Kingdome, Randy Johnson led the team to a win in Game 3, and Edgar Martinez's dramatic eighth-inning grand slam in Game 4 forced one more showdown for all the marbles.
Time and again, the Mariners had their backs to the wall, but time and again they rallied. Trailing, 4-2, heading into the bottom of the eighth, Seattle scratched across two runs to force extra innings. And then, down 5-4 in the bottom of the 11th, Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. completed the comeback:
1999 ALDS: Pedro Martinez, super-reliever
Martinez was forced to leave Game 1 of Boston's ALDS matchup with the Indians with a back injury, and his availability for the rest of the series was iffy at best. By Game 5, he was still in so much pain that Red Sox manager Jimy Williams tapped Bret Saberhagen to start on three day's rest.
But after Saberhagen allowed five runs in just one inning and a relief appearance from Derek Lowe didn't fare much better, the Red Sox found themselves trailing, 8-7, with six innings still to get through. Then, all of a sudden, the bullpen started to stir.
Despite an ailing back, a diminished fastball and a loaded Indians lineup, Pedro delivered a performance for the ages: six innings, eight K's, zero hits. Boston rallied for a 12-8 win and moved on to its first ALCS since 1990.
2001 NLDS: Womack's walk-off
Before there was Luis Gonzalez vs. Mariano Rivera, the 2001 D-backs had to survive a Game 5 for the ages against St. Louis.
Curt Schilling breezed through his first seven innings of work, but a J.D. Drew homer in the eighth tied things up at one. Arizona looked to be on the doorstep of a walk-off win in the ninth, with pinch-runner Midre Cummings on third with just one out -- but Cummings was thrown out at home on an attempted squeeze play.
That left the game, and the D-backs' season, in the hands of Tony Womack, with a runner on second and two outs. No problem:
2011 NLDS: Tony Plush
Just as 1968 was the Year of the Pitcher, 2011 was the Year of Tony Plush. Sure, there were plenty of reasons why the Brewers made the postseason that year, from the Bash Brothers duo of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun to one of the game's best bullpens. But none were nearly was entertaining as Nyjer Morgan, who put together a career year at the plate -- along with his alter ego, Tony Plush.
Flash forward to Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Milwaukee closer John Axford had just blown the save against the rival Cardinals to force extra innings. The Brewers had men on first and second -- when up walked none other than Tony Plush himself. Naturally, Morgan came through with the game-winning single, and then promptly ascended to a higher, post-verbal plane of existence in his postgame interview:
Yes, that is a custom Brewers Army helmet, and no, we don't know where he got it from:
2015 ALDS: The Bat Flip
Jose Bautista's bat flip into the stratosphere is one of the most iconic images in baseball history, but it's also worth remembering that Game 5 between the Rangers and Blue Jays produced one of the most absolutely bonkers innings in baseball history.
In the top half of the seventh, Texas took a 3-2 lead thanks to a sequence that left everybody on both sides stunned. With Rougned Odor at third and Shin-Soo Choo at the plate, Toronto catcher Russell Martin attempted to toss the ball back to pitcher Aaron Sanchez ... except he managed to hit Choo's bat instead:
Odor alertly ran home, and after a few minutes of utter chaos and a replay review, the run stood thanks to Rule 5.06(c) [5.02] -- which states that the ball is alive as long as the batter doesn't intentionally interfere with the throw.
That would've gone down as one of the weirdest plays in Major League history, were it not for everything that followed. The Blue Jays started their half of the seventh with two ground balls and a sacrifice bunt ... which the Rangers turned into three consecutive errors and a bases-loaded jam:
After a Josh Donaldson single tied the game, Jose Bautista stepped to the plate with two on and one out -- and you remember how that ended: