Batter up! Biggest playoff innings in history

November 3rd, 2021

Offense can be hard to come by in the postseason, but once in a while, the bats get hot and put a seriously crooked number on the scoreboard.

Just five times in postseason history, a team has scored at least 10 runs in a single inning. Two of those huge outbursts have come in the first inning -- both in the past two postseasons, against the same team.

Here is a look at the highest-scoring postseason innings in MLB history:

11 -- 2020 National League Championship Series Game 3, Dodgers vs. Braves (1st inning)
The Braves’ pitching staff had put together a historic start to the 2020 postseason, allowing one or zero runs in five of six games before Game 2. But the Dodgers’ bats got hot in the late innings of Game 2, and that carried over to Game 3 in a big way. Mookie Betts started the game off with an infield single, scored from first on Corey Seager’s double, and they were off. Joc Pederson, Edwin Ríos and Max Muncy homered in the inning, with Muncy’s grand slam capping off the 11 runs. They became the first team in postseason history with three home runs in the first inning and set a record for runs in any inning. On the other hand, the Braves are the only team to allow 10 or more runs in a postseason inning multiple times -- and both times were first innings.

10 -- 2019 NL Division Series Game 5, Cardinals vs. Braves (1st inning)
The Braves had a chance to clinch the NLDS in Game 4, but they lost in extras to the Cardinals. They entered the winner-take-all Game 5 with Mike Foltynewicz on the mound for his second start of the series, after he threw seven scoreless innings in Game 2. Game 5 did not go similarly -- Foltynewicz allowed seven runs in one-third inning and the Cardinals scored 10 total in the first off of him and Max Fried. St. Louis didn’t hit a home run in the inning, scoring on a single, two bases-loaded walks, three doubles and a dropped third strike.

10 -- 2002 American League Championship Series Game 5, Angels vs. Twins (7th inning)
The Halos were trying to close out the best-of-seven series, but the Twins weren’t making it easy. Minnesota scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead, threatening to take the teams back to the Metrodome for Game 6. Then, suddenly, it was all over. Adam Kennedy got things started with a three-run shot -- his third homer of the game -- off Johan Santana. The Twins proceeded to bring in a parade of three relievers, but by the time they stopped the bleeding, it was a 13-5 blowout. Kennedy, Scott Spezio and David Eckstein reached base multiple times in the frame for the Angels, who went on to win the World Series.

10 -- 1968 World Series Game 6, Tigers vs. Cardinals (3rd inning)
This is not a series in which one would expect to find a big inning, given that it’s known for pitching. Detroit won a seven-game Fall Classic behind the work of MVP Award winner Mickey Lolich (three complete-game victories) and St. Louis fell short despite an historic performance from Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (three complete games, 35 strikeouts). But Gibson wasn’t pitching in Game 6. Instead, it was Ray Washburn who fell behind, 2-0, in the second inning and exited after allowing the first three batters to reach in the third. Three relievers followed but couldn’t restore order. Jim Northrup had the big blow, a grand slam, to make it 8-0. It was 12-0 by the end of the inning, and the Tigers won, 13-1, as they rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win.

10 -- 1929 World Series Game 4, A’s vs. Cubs (7th inning)
The A’s entered the bottom of the seventh trailing, 8-0, against the Cubs. Chicago was six outs away from a win to even the series at two games apiece. And then the seventh happened. Philadelphia scored 10 runs in the inning to take a 10-8 lead it would not relinquish, then won the series two days later in Game 5. Al Simmons started the inning off with a solo homer. From there, the A’s had four RBI singles, an RBI double and an inside-the-park home run from Mule Haas. Jimmy Dykes had two of those run-scoring hits -- a single and a double.