Who's No. 1? The top 10 games of 2019

December 7th, 2019

From a season filled with incredible moments and clutch performances, it's not easy to choose 10 games out of the nearly 2,500 that were played around Major League Baseball in 2019. But that's certainly no reason not to do it. Here are the top 10 games of the year, including the postseason, as revealed on MLB Network on Saturday. From marathon extra-inning battles to epic comebacks to indelible memories from a dramatic October, there are some tremendous contests to relive.

1. NLDS Game 5, Nationals at Dodgers, Oct. 9

The Dodgers were supposed to reach the World Series again, remember? Surely at least the National League Championship Series. But it wasn't the World Series when the two-time defending NL champions were eliminated. It wasn't the NLCS, either.

Game 5 of the NLDS could be remembered for many things: L.A. took a two-run lead two batters into Stephen Strasburg's start, but the ace buckled down from there to go toe-to-toe with the Dodgers' Walker Buehler through six innings, leading to Clayton Kershaw's fateful relief appearance, which included back-to-back Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto homers to tie the game. But ultimately it was Howie Kendrick who lifted the eventual World Series-champion Nationals to a 7-3 victory with a 10th-inning grand slam off reliever Joe Kelly to dead center field. He became the most unlikely of heroes after he had multiple miscues in the field and on the basepaths earlier in the series. Kendrick also hit the go-ahead home run off Houston's Will Harris that proved to be the difference in World Series Game 7.

2. Yankees at Twins, July 23

This was about as wild a game as you'll ever see. And after 26 combined runs were scored on 35 hits over 5 hours and 3 minutes at Target Field, it all came to a spectacular end.

It was a ho-hum 3-2 affair entering the bottom of the fourth, when the Twins broke out for five runs. Yankees starter Domingo Germán, who had already given up two homers in the third inning, was tagged again, this time on a three-run shot from Miguel Sanó that broke the game open.

But as it turned out, the six-run deficit wasn't insurmountable for New York on this night.

Things got really crazy starting in the eighth, when the Yankees scored five runs to take a 10-9 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, Sanó struck again with a two-run homer to regain the lead for Minnesota. And then it was Aaron Hicks time. Hicks launched a go-ahead two-run homer to send the Yanks into the bottom of the ninth with a 12-11 advantage. The Twins didn't go quietly, tying things up on a sacrifice fly to force extra innings.

The Yankees scored twice on a Gleyber Torres single and a wild pitch. True to form, Minnesota mounted yet another threat, but this time it was snuffed out on an incredible full-extension diving catch in left-center field by Hicks, robbing Max Kepler of a game-tying and potentially game-winning extra-base hit to end the 14-12 Yankees win.


3. NL Wild Card Game, Brewers at Nationals, Oct. 1

There were so many big moments along the way for the World Series-champion Nationals. But this was one of the biggest, sending Washington into the NLDS with a come-from-behind victory over the Brewers. Juan Soto delivered a huge go-ahead single in the eighth inning, and by the time right fielder Trent Grisham tracked down the ball after it skipped past him, three runs had scored in an eventual 4-3 Nationals win.

The triumph not only meant Washington was moving on in October, but also represented a big weight lifted off the franchise, which had lost three straight home winner-take-all games (NLDS Game 5s in 2012, '16 and '17).

4. Mariners at Angels, July 12

In their first home game following the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs 11 days earlier -- and the day before what would have been Skaggs' 28th birthday -- the Angels, still in shock and mourning over their teammate's passing, all wore No. 45 in his honor against the Mariners at Angel Stadium.

Los Angeles not only shut out Seattle, 13-0, it did so with a combined no-hitter. Félix Peña was brilliant for seven innings, walking one and striking out six, and Taylor Cole came out of the bullpen to toss two perfect innings to close out the emotional victory. Following the last out, a Mallex Smith groundout to second, the entire team converged on the mound, and each player took off his No. 45 jersey and laid it there in tribute.

5. Cardinals at Cubs, Sept. 21

This was the game that broke the back of the Cubs in 2019. With Chicago leading, 8-7, in the ninth inning, closer Craig Kimbrel surrendered back-to-back homers to Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong at Wrigley Field. The Cubs couldn't recover, falling 9-8, and they lost the following day as St. Louis completed a four-game sweep that all but put Chicago out of postseason contention and maintained a three-game NL Central cushion for the Cards heading into the final week of the regular season.

6. Mets at Nationals, Sept. 3

The Nationals entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing the Mets, 10-4. Several minutes later, they were celebrating an incredible 11-10 walk-off victory over New York.

The comeback began in earnest with a Victor Robles leadoff single. Following a Howie Kendrick flyout, Trea Turner doubled home Robles. Then three straight singles by Asdrúbal Cabrera, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto scored a run and loaded the bases for Ryan Zimmerman, who delivered a two-run double to close the gap to 10-8.

Up stepped Kurt Suzuki, who ended it in the most dramatic way possible, with a three-run walk-off homer off Edwin Díaz.

7. ALCS Game 6, Yankees at Astros, Oct. 19

Down to their final three outs and staring elimination in the face, the Yankees trailed the Astros, 4-2, and had to deal with Roberto Osuna, who was trying to pitch Houston into the World Series. With Gio Urshela on first and one out, DJ LeMahieu delivered yet another huge hit for New York, keeping the Bombers' season alive with a two-run homer to right field.

But the Astros were undeterred. In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Altuve lived the backyard dream, smashing a two-run walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman to send Houston to the Fall Classic for the second time in three years with a 6-4 win.

8. NLDS Game 4, Braves at Cardinals, Oct. 7

He's been in the Majors for 16 seasons, but Yadier Molina is still getting the job done when his club needs him the most. In NLDS Game 4 at Busch Stadium, the Braves led the Cardinals, 4-3, heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. An Atlanta win would send the Braves to the NLCS, and the clock was running out on St. Louis. Molina delivered a game-tying bloop single just out of the reach of a leaping Freddie Freeman to score Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, and a game-winning sacrifice fly to score Kolten Wong in the 10th, evening the series with a 5-4 win before the Cardinals routed the Braves in Game 5, 13-1, to advance.

9. Brewers at Nationals, Aug. 17

About six weeks before the two clubs would meet in the NL Wild Card Game, the Brewers and Nationals played an epic 14-inning game at Nationals Park. Heading into the ninth inning, it seemed the contest was well in hand for Washington, leading 11-8. But Milwaukee broke through for four runs to take the lead on three homers in the span of four at-bats against Sean Doolittle. Christian Yelich got it started with a solo homer, then following a Keston Hiura double, Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun launched back-to-back shots to put the Crew ahead, 12-11.

But this one was far from over -- in the bottom of the ninth, Yan Gomes led off with a walk against Josh Hader, Kurt Suzuki doubled and Victor Robles drove Gomes in with a single to tie the game, but Hader recovered to strike out the side with the bases loaded to push the game to extras. With the game still tied in the 13th, Yelich hit another clutch homer to put the Brewers on top again, 13-12. But wait, there's more.

Robles came through again for Washington, delivering a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th to tie the game. On to the 14th inning it went, and that's when Eric Thames belted a two-run shot to stake Milwaukee to yet another lead. In the bottom of the 14th, the relentless Nats mounted another threat with a one-out double from Adam Eaton, who moved to third on an Anthony Rendon flyout. With two outs, it was up to Juan Soto, who reached on a throwing error that enabled Eaton to score and Soto to advance to second.

With the tying run in scoring position, Washington was out of position players, and it was up to reliever Joe Ross to somehow keep the Nationals alive. Brewers reliever Junior Guerra struck out Ross swinging, bringing the marathon to a victorious end for Milwaukee by a final score of 15-14.

10. World Series Game 7, Nationals at Astros

We come full circle, with the list of greatest games in 2019 ending as it began, with Howie Kendrick. There's nothing like a dramatic Game 7 of the World Series, and that's just what we got in October between the Nationals and Astros. With Houston leading, 2-0, entering the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park, Anthony Rendon homered, Juan Soto walked to chase Zack Greinke and Kendrick lined a stunning go-ahead two-run homer off the foul pole in right field against reliever Will Harris. Washington would tack on three more runs and win the World Series with a 6-2 victory.