Each team's most exciting postseason win

October 18th, 2018
Crouse, Jake

I don't know about you, but I'm still shaking from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros on Wednesday night -- an epic game with constant twists and turns, controversies and an unforgettable ending. That's the reason postseason baseball is so electrifying, and we'll be lucky to have another game even close to it this October.
But the crazy question is this even among the five most memorable Red Sox postseason victories? They've had a lot.
Thus, today at The Thirty, inspired by that game, we're taking a look at the most exciting postseason win of the divisional era (since 1969) for each MLB team. This isn't necessarily the biggest win or most important win. It's just the most viscerally exciting one. Every team's got at least one. Some have plenty.
Blue Jays: 1993 World Series, Game 6: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6
There's actually a temptation here to go with Game 4 of this series, when the Blue Jays scored six runs in the eighth inning to take a 15-14 lead that would become the final score … but come on, a ninth-inning comeback that ends in a World Series title has to be the pick.

Orioles: 1969 ALCS, Game 2: Orioles 1, Twins 0 (11 innings)
How different was baseball 50 years ago? Orioles pitcher Dave McNally threw an 11-inning shutout in the first-ever ALCS. The Orioles won on a walkoff single by Curt Motton, who had 89 career RBIs over eight seasons. He got the hit off Ron Perranoski, the game's first reliever, who came in with two outs in the 11th.
Rays: 2008 ALCS, Game 2: Rays 9, Red Sox 8 (11 innings)
After losing Game 1 at home to the defending champs, the Rays fell behind 2-0 and 3-2, blew leads of 5-3 and 8-6, yet somehow hung in through 11 innings -- thanks in part to secret weapon rookie -- before winning on Melvin Upton Jr.'s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The Rays would take a 3-1 series lead before finally eking out the series in Game 7.
Red Sox: 2004 ALCS, Game 4: Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 (12 innings)
It's not like the Game 5 14-inning marathon wasn't a stunner either, but the Dave Roberts steal is going to live longer than all of us.

Yankees: 2001 World Series, Game 5: Yankees 3, D-backs 2 (12 innings)
So many games this series to pick from, but this is the one that had Yankee Stadium roaring the loudest.

Indians: 1995 World Series, Game 3: Indians 7, Braves 6 (11 innings)
It ended with Eddie Murray's walk-off single in the 11th, but it was wild long before that, with the Braves scoring three in the eighth to take their first lead of the game and the Indians tying it right back up in the next inning.
Royals: 2014 AL Wild Card Game: Royals 9, A's 8 (12 innings)
No Denkinger Game here. The Royals were toast in this game, trailing 7-3 headed into the bottom of the eighth. They scored three that inning, followed by the vroom-vroom steal in the ninth that helped score the tying run. The A's then took the lead again in the top of the 12th, but the Royals won it in bottom half on 's single. They would win their next seven postseason games en route to the World Series.

Tigers: 1972 ALCS, Game 4: Tigers 4, A's 3 (10 innings)
No one remembers this game, mainly because the Tigers ended up losing the series, but the A's scored two in the top of the 10th to take a 3-1 lead. Detroit came back, largely because of an error by second baseman Gene Tenace, and won it on a walkoff single from Jim Northrup. This wild 10-inning postseason game still finished in three hours, four minutes, by the way.
Twins: 1991 World Series, Game 7: Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 innings)
White Sox: 2005 World Series, Game 3: White Sox 7, Astros 5 (14 innings)
Every game in this series was great -- it's the closest four-game sweep you'll ever see -- but this was the epic 14-inning game with Geoff Blum's homer in the top of the 14th that barely hung on. Forty-three players were used in this game.
Angels: 2002 World Series, Game 6: Angels 6, Giants 5
The Russ Ortiz keep-the-ball game, the Angels were down 5-0 and facing elimination heading into the bottom of the seventh. Two three-run innings later, they forced a Game 7 and won their first (and only) title.
Astros: 2017 World Series, Game 5: Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
We still can't believe this game happened.

Athletics: 1973 World Series, Game 3: A's 3, Mets 2 (11 innings)
It can be tough to pick one game when a team has lost 11 of its last 12 postseason series, so we'll go back to the 1970s, when the A's came back from a 2-0 deficit to win in the 11th inning in a game that featured Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando, Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson and Willie Mays.
Mariners: 1995 ALDS, Game 5: Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (11 innings)
We all just remember the walk-off now, but this game had five lead changes leading up to the final wild play.
Rangers: 2011 ALCS, Game 2: Rangers 7, Tigers 3 (11 innings)
This series, strangely, had two different extra-inning games that the Rangers won by four runs. This was the most thrilling one, ending on 's grand slam off poor .

Braves: 1992 National League Championship Series, Game 7: Braves 3, Pirates 2
Honestly, Pirates fans, I'm sorry to even bring this up.
Marlins: 2003 NLCS, Game 6: Marlins 8, Cubs 3
Sure, to Cubs fans this is a nightmare, but from the Marlins' perspective, this is one of the most amazing postseason comebacks of all time. (Sure, the answer here is probably Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, but that'd be too easy.
Mets: 1986 World Series, Game 6: Mets 6, Red Sox 5 (10 innings)
Authors have written novels specifically about this game.
Nationals: 2012 NLDS, Game 4: Nationals 2, Cardinals 1
A taut, well-pitched game that ended in 's big blast, which everyone thought would send the Nationals to the NLCS the next night (it didn't).
Phillies: 2008 NLCS, Game 4: Phillies 7, Dodgers 5
If you needed to explain the appeal of baseball to an alien, showing them the Matt Stairs homer in the eighth inning of this game would be a great place to start.

Brewers: 1982 ALCS, Game 5: Brewers 4, Angels 3
The first World Series trip was clinched by Cecil Cooper's staggering single in the seventh inning of a decisive game.
Cardinals: 2011 World Series, Game 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11 innings)
The second-easiest call on this entire list.
Cubs: 2016 World Series, Game 7: Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10 innings)
The easiest call on this entire list.

Pirates: 1979 NLCS, Game 2: Pirates 3, Reds 2 (10 innings)
The day after an extra-inning game, the Pirates played another one -- a back-and-forth battle in which the Pirates took the lead on Dave Parker's RBI single in the 10th and held on with Don Robinson in the bottom half.
Reds: 1975 World Series, Game 7: Reds 4, Red Sox 3
The dirty secret is that this game was just as exciting as Game 6, but nobody talks about it nearly as much, because more people are from the Boston area than the Cincinnati area.
D-backs: 2001 World Series, Game 7: D-backs 3, Yankees 2
There are a shocking number of blown saves by Mariano Rivera on this list.

Dodgers: 1977 NLCS, Game 3: Dodgers 6, Phillies 5
The Kirk Gibson moment is the great moment, but this one, which featured a wild three-run comeback in the top of the ninth with two outs, may have been even more of a nail-biter.
Giants: 2014 NLDS, Game 2: Giants 2, Nationals 1 (18 innings)
It seems impossible that a postseason game could go 18 innings. The hero of this game remains Yusmiero Petit, who sneaked in a one-hitter over six innings before the Giants won it in the 18th.
Padres: 1984 NLCS, Game 5: Padres 6, Cubs 3
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth, but Leon Durham's error opened the floodgates, and the Padres were off to their first World Series.
Rockies: 2007 NL West Tiebreaker Game: Rockies 9, Padres 8 (13 innings)
Not technically a postseason game, but it doesn't matter, because didn't touch the plate, and it didn't matter.