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History of Game 7: Everything you need to know

October 20, 2017

For six games in the American League Championship Series, the Astros and Yankees have traded punches. Each team has won three home games, with Houston evening things up with a 7-1 victory in Friday night's Game 6.That sets up one of the most thrilling things in baseball -- a Game

For six games in the American League Championship Series, the Astros and Yankees have traded punches. Each team has won three home games, with Houston evening things up with a 7-1 victory in Friday night's Game 6.
That sets up one of the most thrilling things in baseball -- a Game 7.
It all goes down tonight in Game 7 of the ALCS presented by Camping World at Minute Maid Park, with the teams battling in a winner-take-all showdown to advance to the 113th World Series presented by YouTube TV. Game 1 at Dodger Stadium awaits on Tuesday, but neither club can worry about that now.
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Here are some Game 7 facts and figures to get you ready for this year's ALCS finale:
• There have been 53 winner-take-all Game 7s, between the World Series and LCS. Home teams have gone 29-24, counting the 1912 World Series, which actually required an eighth game due to an earlier tie.
• Since the LCS expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985, home teams are 18-7 in Game 7s, although the 2016 Cubs and '14 Giants both finished off championship runs on the road. The past three LCS Game 7s have gone to the home club, however.
• This will be the first Game 7 at Minute Maid Park and the second overall for the Astros, who fell to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS at Busch Stadium. On the other hand, the Yanks have played in 13 decisive Game 7s, going 6-7. That includes a 4-3 road record, with the last win a 1-0 victory over the Giants in San Francisco in the 1962 World Series. More recently, New York lost the final game of the 2001 World Series at Arizona and then played back-to-back ALCS Game 7s at home against the Red Sox in 2003-04, winning the first on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning walk-off homer but losing the second to cap Boston's comeback from a three games to none deficit.
• The Cardinals have played in the most winner-take-all Game 7s, going 11-5, including their most recent World Series championship in 2011. The Yankees (6-7) are next on the list.
• Only five Game 7s have gone into extra innings, four times in the World Series and once in the ALCS. The home team has won four out of five times when Game 7 goes beyond the requisite nine innings. The lone road victory came in the finale to last year's World Series, when the Cubs beat the Indians, 8-7, to clinch the title.

• There have been seven Game 7s that have ended in walk-off fashion, with two of them coming in an LCS and the other five deciding a World Series champion on the final play. All of these walk-offs have come on hits, but only two have ended on home runs: Bill Mazeroski's game-winner for the Pirates off Yanks pitcher Ralph Terry in 1960, and Boone's dramatic solo shot off Red Sox reliever Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
• The largest margin of victory in a Game 7 is the Braves' 15-0 rout of the Cardinals to end the 1996 NLCS. St. Louis at one point held a 3-1 advantage in that series.
Meanwhile, 17 other Game 7s have been one-run affairs -- most recently the Cubs' 8-7 10-inning thriller over the Indians at Progressive Field to capture last year's World Series title.

• Hall of Famer Bob Gibson is the only pitcher in history to earn the win in at least two Game 7s. Gibson conquered the Yankees by winning his third start of the 1964 World Series on just two days' rest, and then defeated the Red Sox with 10 strikeouts and two runs allowed in the final game of the 1967 Fall Classic.
• A total of 21 pitchers have gone distance with complete-game efforts in winner-take-all Game 7. Gibson is the only pitcher with multiple complete Game 7 efforts, having done so three times to end the 1964, '67 and '68 World Series. Thirteen pitchers have thrown a Game 7 shutout, but no one has done so since Twins pitcher Jack Morris twirled a legendary 10 scoreless innings in Minnesota's 1-0 win over the Braves to clinch the 1991 World Series.
• Only four pitchers have turned in a double-digit strikeout performance in a Game 7. Roger Clemens (2001 World Series), Gibson (1967 World Series), Sandy Koufax ('65 World Series) and Hal Newhouser ('45 World Series) share the record with 10.
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• Clemens is the only pitcher to have started a Game 7 four times in his career. Amazingly, The Rocket did that for three teams and over a span of 19 seasons. He was just 24 when he tossed seven strong innings to lead the Red Sox over the Angels in Game 7 of the 1986 ALCS at Fenway Park, but he was 42 when he was charged with the loss as the Astros dropped Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS to the Cardinals. In between, Clemens took the ball for the Yanks in the final games of the '01 World Series and '03 ALCS.

• No pitcher has saved more than one Game 7 in his career. The most innings pitched to save a Game 7 was the five scoreless frames hurled by Madison Bumgarner to close out the Giants' 2014 World Series victory over the Royals.
• Only three players have hit at least two home runs in a winner-take-all Game 7: Yogi Berra for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jason Giambi for the Yanks in the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox and Johnny Damon for the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees.
• Five players have notched as many as four base hits in a winner-take-all Game 7, with the most recent being Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in St. Louis' 9-0 loss to the Giants in the 2012 NLCS. In fact, Molina is the only player to go at least 4-for-4 in a Game 7.
• Hall of Famers Willie Stargell (1979 World Series) and Max Carey (1925 World Series) are the only players to club at least three extra-base hits in a winner-take-all Game 7. Both did so to help deliver the Pirates a world championship.
• No player has appeared in more Game 7s than Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. The Yanks great played in eight winner-take-all World Series finales throughout his 18-year career, and New York won four of them. Mantle hit a combined .300, slugged .533 and tallied two home runs and seven RBIs in those eight pressure-cooker games.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. Matt Kelly is a reporter for based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. Chad Thornburg is a reporter for based in Los Angeles.