Every Game 5 in Division Series history
There have been 35 winner-take-all Game 5s in Division Series history, since the best-of-five series was added to the postseason docket in 1995, when MLB expanded to allow a Wild Card team from each league.
The best-of-five slate has created a real sense of urgency. The narratives shift so drastically with every LDS game, and as such, it's led to some of the most memorable October moments. The Yankees took the latest winner-take-all Game 5 on Tuesday, topping the Guardians 5-1 in the Bronx to move onto the ALCS.
With that as a backdrop, MLB.com reviewed every LDS Game 5 in history.
2022 ALDS: Yankees 5, Guardians 1
After falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Yankees made a hard-fought comeback to take a hotly contested division series against the Guardians.
The Bronx Bombers made Cleveland go to the bullpen after just one out in the first inning thanks to a three-run home run from Giancarlo Stanton. American League home run king Aaron Judge added a solo shot an inning later and that was more than enough to take the game and series.
2021 NLDS: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
It was an epic series between two storied rivals -- the first of its kind, in fact. Prior to the 2021 NLDS, the Dodgers and Giants had never squared off in a postseason matchup. In the first postseason series in history between two 105-plus win teams, the hype was justified, and the series lived up to it. It went the full five games and ended in a one-run decision that was dripping with drama to the final pitch.
Thanks to a go-ahead single by Cody Bellinger in the top of the ninth inning at Oracle Park, and Max Scherzer earning his first career save after 431 Major League appearances, the Dodgers won, 2-1, to advance to the NL Championship Series for the fifth time in six years.
2020 ALDS: Rays 2, Yankees 1
To truly respect the drama of this one, we have to illustrate the heated history that led to it. Weeks before the AL East rivals met in the postseason for the first time, tempers flared in the Bronx over back-and-forth hit batters that culminated with Mike Brosseau dodging a 100 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman that led to a benches-clearing incident.
Fast forward five weeks -- after Tyler Glasnow started on just two days' rest and Gerrit Cole proved why the Yanks paid him -- Brosseau and Chapman were tangled in a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning of ALDS Game 5. What followed was a tense, 10-pitch showdown, a momentary matchup that felt like ages. Brosseau overcame an 0-2 hole, fouled off four pitches, spit on a heater inside for ball three then connected on a 100.2 mph fastball that went sailing into the San Diego night and sent Tampa Bay to its first AL Championship Series since 2008.
2019 NLDS: Nationals 7, Dodgers 3
The win and series were there for the Dodgers' taking, until they weren't. With a two-run lead after Walker Buehler delivered 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, Clayton Kershaw entered in relief and gave up consecutive homers -- on consecutive pitches -- to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto that tied the game in the eighth inning. Then in the 10th, Howie Kendrick sparked his postseason magic with a grand slam off Joe Kelly to stun the 106-win Dodgers in Los Angeles and send the Nats to the NLCS.
This was the third of five elimination games that the Nationals played in and won -- and perhaps their most dramatic -- en route to the 2019 World Series title.
2019 NLDS: Cardinals 13, Braves 1
After Yadier Molina roped a walk-off in Game 4 to even the series, the Cardinals put their offensive stamp on an otherwise competitive NLDS by running away to a series-clinching win in Game 5 -- and they did so in historic fashion.
St. Louis scored 10 runs in the first inning before many in Atlanta's sold-out crowd had reached their seats. That 10-spot was manufactured by 14 hitters that the Cards sent to the plate, and it tied the record for the most runs scored in a single inning by any team in postseason history.
“I don't know that I've seen that many guys hit in the first inning that quick in my entire life,” Braves manager Brian Snitkner said.
The 12-run loss for Atlanta was the largest by any team in postseason history facing elimination, and it marked the Braves' ninth straight postseason series defeat dating back to 2001.
2017 ALDS: Yankees 5, Indians 2
The Yanks fell into a seemingly insurmountable two-game deficit to an Indians club that seemed to be on a course of destiny. The Tribe were recently riding an MLB-record 22-game winning streak that extended into September and were playing with a devastating, seven-game World Series defeat the postseason prior on their minds.
Which made the Yanks' comeback all the more incredible. New York won two games in the Bronx to force the decisive Game 5 at Progressive Field, then chased a short-rested Corey Kluber in the fourth inning. The Tribe crawled their way to within one, but Brett Gardner delivered a two-RBI dagger -- in a 12-pitch at-bat -- in the ninth that propelled New York to its fourth ALCS in a nine-year stretch, where it fell to Houston in an epic seven-game clash.
The '17 Yanks are one of just 10 teams -- and the most recent -- to overcome an 0-2 deficit in the LDS since it was added to the postseason in 1995.
2017 NLDS: Cubs 9, Nationals 8
Stephen Strasburg authored one of the most epic pitching performances in Game 4, dazzling with seven shutout innings despite pitching with the flu. That set the stage for a return to Washington, where the Nats and Cubs played a four-hour, 37-minute marathon over nine innings, featuring just about everything.
Max Scherzer, pitching out of the bullpen on just two days' rest, surrendered a seventh-inning force out from Kris Bryant that gave the Cubs enough cushion to hold off a Washington rally over the final two innings. Everything pointed to a rally in the works, but Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to send Chicago to its third straight NLCS.
2016 NLDS: Dodgers 4, Nationals 3
The Dodgers overcame a 2-1 series deficit to force a Game 5 back in Washington, then fell behind, 1-0, until a fateful seventh inning. Joc Pederson hit a leadoff homer, Yasmani Grandal drew a four-pitch walk, Carlos Ruiz followed with an RBI single then Justin Turner hit a two-out, two-run triple to create a 4-1 lead.
But Washington wouldn't go quietly. The Nats plated two in the seventh, then drew a pair of walks from Kenley Jansen to lead off the ninth, prompting Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to turn to Clayton Kershaw, who locked up his first career save -- capping it off by inducing a popout to Daniel Murphy, that year's runner up for the NL MVP Award.
2015 ALDS: Blue Jays 6, Rangers 3
After Toronto dropped two straight at home, the Blue Jays were on life support in their first postseason appearance in 22 seasons. But the club conjured a pair of road wins that set up one of the most memorable Game 5 clashes in LDS history.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Jose Bautista stepped to the plate and uncorked a dramatic, three-run homer -- capped with a now famous bat flip -- that will remain on Blue Jays highlight reels for ages, sending the Blue Jays to the ALCS.
This series -- and Game 5 in particular -- sparked a heated rivalry between these clubs that carried over into a benches-clearing brawl the following season, with Bautista at the center of it all.
2015 NLDS: Mets 3, Dodgers 2
Daniel Murphy's October heroics of 2015 were in full swing when the Mets marched into Dodger Stadium for an upset over the favored NL West champions. Murphy went 3-for-4 with a homer -- his second in what wound up being a postseason record six straight games -- while Jacob deGrom, then in just his second year in the Majors and in his first postseason, outdueled NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Greinke.
2015: Royals 7, Astros 2
When Kansas City acquired Johnny Cueto at the Trade Deadline, it was explicitly to pitch them through big postseason games, and that's exactly what the impending free agent did in an elimination game against the then up-and-coming Astros. Cueto gave up two runs in the second inning, but that was all, as the big righty threw eight total frames, struck out eight and retired 19 in a row at one point. This was also the only elimination game that the Royals played in during their run to the 2015 World Series title.
2013: Tigers 3, A's 0
After Max Scherzer pitched a gem in Game 4, Justin Verlander followed with one of the October masterpieces that will likely be on his Hall of Fame highlight reel. In a hostile environment at the Coliseum, Verlander pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out 10 of the 27 batters he faced while giving up just two hits to send Detroit to the ALCS. It marked the second straight postseason in which the Tigers eliminated the A's at the Coliseum in a winner-take-all game.
2013 NLDS: Cardinals 6, Pirates 1
The Cards eliminated their division rivals on the shoulders of one of their most significant October catalysts in their storied franchise history. Over a brisk game played in under three hours, Adam Wainwright tossed the first and only complete game of his storied postseason career, giving up eight hits and one run while striking out six.
For Pittsburgh, an up-and-coming Gerrit Cole delivered five strong innings, but NL MVP Award winner Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 as part of a quiet offensive effort club wide. The loss ended the Pirates' first postseason appearance in 21 years after the club reached the NL Wild Card Game with 94 wins.
2012 ALDS: Yankees 3, Orioles 1
The Yankees got home-field advantage by winning the AL East by two games over Baltimore, which proved to be paramount. Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki each had RBI hits, and Curtis Granderson crushed a solo homer in the seventh to back CC Sabathia's complete game, one-run gem, in which he threw 121 pitches.
Of Sabathia's decorated postseason career, this series-clincher was the lone of his 24 playoff starts in which he went the entire distance.
2012 ALDS: Tigers 6, A's 0
The A's forced a Game 5 at home after winning Games 3-4 there, but momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher. Justin Verlander tossed a four-hit, 11-strikeout shutout to lead Detroit to the ALCS.
2012 NLDS: Cardinals 9, Nationals 7
Down to their final out, the Cards -- as they often do at this time of year -- came up in the clutch.
Daniel Descalso, a .227 hitter in the regular season, roped a line drive that caromed off Ian Desmond's glove at shortstop and scored two to tie the game. Pete Kozma then followed with another two-run single that stunned the Nats. This all on a night where October ace Adam Wainwright gave up six earned runs and lasted just 2 1/3 innings to start the game.
The defeat ended the Nats' first postseason appearance since the franchise moved to Washington, and it was the first of many October heartbreaks over a six-year stretch in the Bryce Harper era.
2012 NLDS: Giants 6, Reds 4
On their way to the second of three championships in five seasons, San Francisco recovered from losing the first two games at home by taking three in a row in Cincinnati. Buster Posey's grand slam off Mat Latos capped a six-run fifth inning that broke a 0-0 tie.
2011 ALDS: Tigers 3, Yankees 2
Don Kelly and Delmon Young hit first-inning homers off Ivan Nova, and Doug Fister pitched five strong innings, as the Tigers went into the Bronx and upset the Yanks to extend their first postseason berth since losing the '06 World Series to the Cardinals.
2011 NLDS: Brewers 3, D-backs 2 (10 innings)
The home team won every game in this series, which wound up playing into Milwaukee's favor. In the club's series-clincher, Nyjer Morgan sent Miller Park into a frenzy with an NLDS-ending walk-off single in the 10th. The win would set the Brewers up for an epic NLCS showdown with the division-rival Cardinals.
2011 NLDS: Cardinals 1, Phillies 0
The juggernaut Phillies -- with their four-headed All-Star rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt -- couldn't close out St. Louis after establishing a 2-1 lead, but they liked their chances heading home for a pivotal Game 5 behind Halladay.
Rafael Furcal led off the game with triple, Skip Schumaker drove him in one at-bat later and Chris Carpenter pitched a complete-game shutout of three-hit ball to lead St. Louis to a remarkable upset over the heavily-favored Phils. The Cards had no margin for error, either -- Halladay allowed just five baserunners after that opening frame as part of an eight-inning gem.
2010 ALDS: Rangers 5, Rays 1
Who said anything about home-field advantage? The road team won each of the five games in this back-and-forth series, with the Rangers coming out on top to help them along the way in clinching their first AL pennant.
In Game 5 at Tropicana Field, Cliff Lee's 11-strikeout gem over a complete game lifted Texas past David Price, who was that year's runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award.
2005 ALDS: Angels 5, Yankees 3
The Yanks gave the Halos a scare by tallying three hits against lights-out closer Francisco Rodriguez during the ninth inning. But the AL saves leader that season worked his way out of a jam with runners on first and second by inducing a sharp groundout to Hideki Matsui to end the game.
Matsui three times left runners stranded in scoring position with two outs, and the Yanks were just 2-for-10 with RISP, spoiling three-hit days from Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi.
2004 NLDS: Astros 12, Braves 3
The Braves scored a go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Game 4 to send the series back home to Turner Field, and Atlanta trailed by just one run after five in the decisive game.
But the Astros tagged Braves relievers for six hits and five runs in the seventh en route to reaching the NLCS, where the division-rival Cardinals awaited.
2003 ALDS: Red Sox 4, Athletics 3
Boston staved off elimination in Games 3-4 at Fenway Park after falling behind in the series, 0-2. And in Game 5 at Oakland, Pedro Martinez outdueled Barry Zito, with Manny Ramirez hitting a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning. Boston became just the fourth team to overcome an 0-2 deficit in the LDS.
2003 NLDS: Cubs 5, Braves 1
The red-hot Cubs stormed into Atlanta and stunned the 101-win Braves with a major upset in a dominant win. Kerry Wood pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, while Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez homered.
2002 ALDS: Twins 5, A's 4
The Moneyball A's saw their dream season cut short after their ninth-inning rally came up one run short. Minnesota plated three in the top of the ninth -- including a two-run homer from A.J. Pierzynski and an RBI double by David Ortiz before his Boston days -- and Oakland followed with a one-out, three-run homer from Mark Ellis a half-inning later. But the Twins were able to induce a pair of popouts to secure the series.
Game 5 had initially been shaping up as a starting pitcher's duel, as Brad Radke turned in 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball against Mark Mulder, who tossed seven innings and struck out nine.
2002 NLDS: Giants 3, Braves 1
Barry Bonds crushed a fourth-inning homer off Kevin Milwood in a tightly-contested game that the Giants held an edge in throughout. The Braves wound up blowing a 2-1 series lead, and despite reaching the postseason eight times since, they did not take another playoff series lead until the 2019 NLDS against the Cardinals.
2001 ALDS: Yankees 5, Athletics 3
The Yanks are no stranger to winning the last three games in an ALDS. In this case, Games 3-4 came on the road and in Game 5 at home, Mariano Rivera completed a six-out save to shut the door in the Bronx in front of an emotional crowd, just weeks removed from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.
2001 ALDS: Mariners 3, Indians 1
The 116-win Mariners found themselves on the cusp of elimination against an Indians club that had won 25 fewers games in the regular season before Seattle forced -- and won -- a decisive Game 5 at Safeco Field.
Mark McElmore, Edgar Martinez and Kenny Lofton each roped RBI singles, while Jamie Moyer gave up just one run and three hits over six strong innings to keep the Mariners' record season alive.
2001 NLDS: D-backs 2, Cardinals 1
The '01 World Series champs would've never reached the pinnacle if not for a walk-off single by Tony Womack in their NLDS-clinching win over the Cardinals at Chase Field. Curt Schilling struck out nine and pitched a complete game, the first of his storied postseason career.
2000 ALDS: Yankees 7, A's 5
After Oakland outslugged New York by 10 runs in Game 4, the Yanks responded immediately with a six-run showing in the first inning of the decisive Game 5. A's starter Gil Heredia failed to make it out of the opening frame after walking two of his first five batters and giving up a bases-clearing double to Tino Martinez. Oakland would claw its way back to within a run, but the Yanks ultimately held on in what wound up being their only elimination game during their run to that year's World Series title.
1999 ALDS: Red Sox 12, Indians 8
Cleveland fans, cover your eyes. The Tribe grabbed a 2-0 lead at home, then lost three straight, including Game 5 back in Cleveland. The Indians' pitching staff allowed 44 runs over those three defeats, including Troy O'Leary's go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh inning of the finale.
1997 ALDS: Indians 4, Yankees 3
The Tribe pulled off an epic upset against the defending World Series champs by overcoming a 2-1 series deficit and winning the final two games at home by one run apiece. Manny Ramirez hit a two-run ground-rule double in the third and then scored on a Matt Williams single against Andy Pettitte, as Jaret Wright and the Cleveland pitching staff limited the Yanks' 12 hits to just three runs.
1995 ALDS: Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (11 innings)
Here, the Yanks were on the other end of an ALDS comeback, losing the final three at Seattle's Kingdome. New York grabbed a one-run lead against Randy Johnson in the 11th inning of Game 5, but Edgar Martinez's walk-off two-run double scored Ken Griffey Jr. to end the series.
This moment is widely remembered as arguably the best in LDS history -- and one that might have saved baseball in Seattle.