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Looking back at every Division Series Game 5

March 12, 2019

The League Division Series might not have the luster of the two postseason rounds that follow, but the opening bouts have nonetheless delivered some of the game's most dramatic October moments. The construct of a best-of-five series creates more urgency, and sometimes, more drama. There's typically a stronger chance for

The League Division Series might not have the luster of the two postseason rounds that follow, but the opening bouts have nonetheless delivered some of the game's most dramatic October moments.

The construct of a best-of-five series creates more urgency, and sometimes, more drama. There's typically a stronger chance for an upset, many of which have manifested in a decisive Game 5.

Since the LDS was implemented as part of postseason expansion in 1995, there have been 29 instances where a Game 5 was necessary. We revisted each:

Oct. 12, 2017: Cubs 9, Nationals 8
The Nats blew a two-run lead with Max Scherzer on the hill in relief, and came back to within one run late, but ultimately they couldn't overcome the Cubs in what was one of the wildest postseason games of 2017. The nine-inning game went past midnight local time and lasted four hours and 37 minutes.

Oct. 11, 2017: Yankees 5, Indians 2
The Yankees became just the 10th team in a best-of-five series to rally from an 0-2 deficit, after a decisive Game 5 in which Didi Gregorius hit two homers off Cleveland ace Corey Kluber and knocked him out after just 3 2/3 innings. Carsten Sabathia threw nine strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings, then the Yanks turned it over to Player Page for David Robertson and Albertin Chapman, who recorded a six-out save.

Oct. 13, 2016: Dodgers 4, Nationals 3
Clayton Kershaw pitched in relief on just one day's rest and earned his first save in more than a decade, when he was with the Gulf Coast League Dodgers. Kershaw inherited runners on first and second with one out, but got the always-dangerous Daniel Murphy to pop out to second and then struck out Wilmer Difo looking to lift the Dodgers to the NLCS against the Cubs. 

Oct. 15, 2015: Mets 3, Dodgers 2
In a pitchers' duel pitting Jacob deGrom against Zack Greinke, the Mets prevailed on the shoulders of Daniel Murphy, who homered in his third game of the series and stole a crucial base in the fourth inning that positioned him to tie the game on a sacrifice fly. He hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth. Greinke, who had put together one of the best seasons of his career, fell to 19-1 in games in which the Dodgers had given him a lead.

Oct. 14, 2015: Royals 7, Astros 2
The Royals capped their third come-from-behind win of the series by scoring seven unanswered runs after falling into a two-run deficit early. Johnny Cueto, a critical acquisition ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline months prior, shook off his postseason struggles of the past and delivered eight innings while striking out eight. The Royals also overcame a 2-1 series deficit in the process.

Oct. 14, 2015: Blue Jays 6, Rangers 3
This game ignited a rivalry that spilled into a brawl between these teams the following season and sparked the conversation relating to the unwritten rules of etiquette with one fluid swing. In a two-out, seventh-inning at-bat and with the game tied at 3, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista unloaded on a 431-foot, no-doubt homer that sent the Rogers Centre into a frenzy. In the emotion of the moment, Bautista stood in the batter's box as he watched the ball sail, then chucked his bat over his shoulder before rounding the bases. The homer would account for the final runs of the game.

Oct. 10, 2013: Tigers 3, A's 0
With their backs against the wall but back at home, the A's blew a 2-1 series lead and dropped their sixth straight winner-take-all game, and second such game against the Tigers and Justin Verlander, who gave up just two hits and a walk while striking out 10 over eight innings. Sonny Gray, who had made a masterful postseason debut in Game 2, gave up a two-run homer to Jose Cabrera in the fourth that wound up being the decisive factor.

Oct. 9, 2013: Cardinals 6, Pirates 1
Game 5 between these longtime division rivals pitted postseason veteran Adam Wainwright against promising rookie Gerrit Cole at Busch Stadium. The Pirates, who had reached the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, fell behind 2-0 on an all-too-familiar homer from David Freese, and couldn't bounce back. Wainwright went the distance to complete just the seventh complete game in Cardinals postseason history in the divisional era (since 1969).

Oct. 12, 2012: Yankees 3, Orioles 1
The Yanks turned to their workhorse, CC Sabathia, as they looked to avoid elimination against the division-rival Orioles, and the big lefty delivered in a big way, going a career-best nine innings with nine strikeouts and just six baserunners allowed. It remains arguably Sabathia's best postseason outing.

Oct. 12, 2012: Cardinals 9, Nationals 7
St. Louis shocked Washington with four runs in the ninth to complete one of the most miraculous comebacks in an LDS elimination game, beginning a long and well-chronicled era of the Nats failing to get out of the first round. In this gut-wrenching game, Nats reliever Drew Storen twice came within a strike of sending Washington to the NLCS, but after loading the bases, Storen gave up back-to-back singles that scored four. In the following frame, Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman went down in order.

Oct. 11, 2012: Tigers 6, A's 0
The A's became all-too-familiar with Justin Verlander in their back-to-back runs to October, as Verlander helped the Tigers eliminate them in Oakland two years in a row, starting in ALDS Game 5 in 2012 with his complete-game shutout, which remains one of just 133 in postseason history.

Oct. 11, 2012: Giants 6, Reds 4
San Francisco looked completely outmatched after being outscored 14-2 over the first two games of the series, but the club came back to win two straight at home and overcame a late deficit in Game 5 and silenced what had been a raucous crowd at Great American Ball Park. Buster Posey, who went on to win the NL MVP Award that season, clubbed a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth inning off Mat Latos as part of a six-run inning, while an army of relievers staved off any chance of a Reds rally.

Oct. 6, 2011: Tigers 3, Yankees 2
Don Kelly and Delmon Young clubbed back-to-back first-inning homers against Ivan Nova, and Victor Martinez followed with a two-out, RBI single in the fifth off that CC Sabathia that gave Detroit enough cushion to hold off a two-run rally by the Yanks late. Doug Fister, who was making his first career postseason start, delivered five strong innings and gave up just one run.

Oct. 7, 2011: Cardinals 1, Phillies 0
Back-to-back extra-base hits by Rafael Furcal and Skip Schumaker to lead off the top of first inning led to the game's only runs in this pitchers' duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, as the Cardinals stunned the World Series-favorite Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. It was one of a handful of milestone wins that fall for the Cards, who roared from 10 1/2 games back with 31 to play, snuck into the postseason on the last day of the regular season and of course went on to win it all.

Oct. 7, 2011: Brewers 3, D-backs 2
The Brewers avoided what would've been a massive disappointment by defeating the D-backs in extras to advance to the NLCS after nearly blowing a two-game series lead. Arizona quieted a fired-up crowd in Milwaukee when Willie Bloomquist lined a game-tying single in the ninth, but Milwaukee's Nyjer Morgan responded with a walk-off single in the 10th that scored Carlos Gomez, who had just swiped second. .

Oct, 12, 2010: Rangers 5, Rays 1
The Rangers acquired Cliff Lee ahead of the '10 Trade Deadline to make starts such as the one he did in Game 5 of that year's ALDS. Lee tossed a complete game and struck out 11 while giving up just six hits and zero walks while the Rangers' offense built a three-run lead against David Price, who lost his second start of the series.

Oct. 10, 2005: Angels 5, Yankees 3
Things looked really dicey for the Angels when starting pitcher Bartolo Colon had to leave after just one inning with a right shoulder injury, forcing the team to turn to unheralded rookie Ervin Santana in relief. But the right-hander delivered admirably, going 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win while his offense tagged Yanks right-hander Mike Mussina for five runs in just 2 2/3 innings. First baseman Darin Erstad recorded the final out and saved a would-be critical hit by Hideki Matsui with runners on first and second that would've scored at least one and potentially changed the trajectory of the game.

Oct. 11, 2004: Astros 12, Braves 3
The Astros steamrolled through Atlanta with eight runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings to stun the Braves at Turner Field. Carlos Beltran homered twice as part of a 4-for-5, five-RBI night in what was one of the most historic individual postseasons ever, while Roy Oswalt picked up the win on the mound.

Oct. 6, 2003: Red Sox 4, A's 3
Pedro Martinez pitched seven strong innings, but it was Boston's barrage of four runs, manifested through homers by Jason Varitek and Manny Ramirez, in the sixth inning against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito that propelled the Red Sox to the ALCS.

Oct. 5, 2003: Cubs 5, Braves 1
The Cubs upset the 101-win Braves with a dominant performance from Kerry Wood, who threw eight innings and allowed just seven baserunners from the potent Atlanta offense. The Cubs went on to come within one win of their first World Series since 1945 appearance in the NLCS.

Oct. 6, 2002: Twins 5, A's 4
The "Moneyball" A's won 103 games in '02 and looked poised for a lengthy postseason run, but couldn't overcome the Twins despite taking a 2-1 series lead. In Game 5, Oakland nearly mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth, with a three-run homer by Mark Ellis with one out, but the club was ultimately marred by the three runs lights-out closer Billy Koch surrendered the frame prior.

Oct. 7, 2002: Giants 3, Braves 1
Barry Bonds scored twice, including on a solo home run against John Smoltz, as the Giants narrowly held on to win. In the bottom of the ninth, the Braves looked poised for a comeback when Rafael Furcal reached on an error, stole second and advanced to third on a Julio Franco single, but Chipper Jones, the would-be game-winning run, hit into an anticlimactic double play.

Oct. 15, 2001: Mariners 3, Indians 1
The 116-win Mariners avoided what would've been a catastrophic first-round upset by holding on for a win at Safeco Field in front of 47,867. Mark McLemore lined a two-run single in the second and Edgar Martinez plated Ichiro Suzuki with a single in the seventh, as Jamie Moyer delivered six innings of one-run, three-hit ball. The '01 ALDS remains the Mariners' last postseason series win.

Oct. 15, 2001: Yankees 5, A's 3
The Yanks overcame a two-game series deficit, and a two-run Game 5 hole early and plated five unanswered on 10 total hits while capitalizing on three costly Oakland errors. Mariano Rivera recorded the 21st of his 42 career postseason saves as the Yanks advanced to their fourth straight ALCS.

Oct. 14, 2001: D-backs 2, Cardinals 1
The D-backs never would've won their first and only World Series in franchise history had it not been for Tony Womack's two-out, walk-off single in the ninth inning against the Cardinals. Curt Schilling delivered his second win of the series, going all nine innings for his second straight start and giving up just one run, a game-tying homer to J.D. Drew in the eighth.

Oct. 8, 2000: Yankees 7, A's 5
A's starter Gil Heredia didn't even get out of the first inning as the Yanks exploded for six runs. It proved to be enough, but marginally, as the A's crept their way back by tagging Andy Pettite for five runs over 3 2/3 innings. It was the Yankees' first of two straight ALDS Game 5 wins against the A's, and New York went on to win its fourth World Series title in a five-year span in '00.

Oct. 11, 1999: Red Sox 12, Indians 8
Boston capped a remarkable comeback from an 0-2 hole in the ALDS on the strength of one of the most memorable relief performances in postseason history. After a early exit from his Game 1 start with a back injury, Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez spun six innings of no-hit ball out of the bullpen, fanning eight and flummoxing an Indians' offense that had scored eight runs in the first three innings. The Red Sox tied the game in the fourth and Troy O'Leary pushed them ahead with a three-run homer in the seventh.

Oct. 6, 1997: Indians 4, Yankees 3
The Indians upset the defending-champion Yanks and handed Andy Pettitte his second loss of the series. Manny Ramirez hit a two-run ground-rule double and Matt Williams drove him in to give the Tribe an early lead it wouldn't relinquish. Cleveland came within a win of its first World Series title since 1948 but fell to the Marlins in Game 7 of that year's Fall Classic.

Oct. 8, 1995: Mariners 6, Yankees 5
The Yanks were on the verge of an 11-inning win when Randy Velarde laced a go-ahead single off Randy Johnson, who was pitching in relief. But Seattle responded, with Joey Cora and Ken Griffey hitting back-to-back singles in the bottom of the frame, and Edgar Martinez plating them both with a double to left to clinch the Mariners' first postseason series win in franchise history.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.