LOS ANGELES — In the afterglow of the Cubs’ Game 5 win over the Dodgers, setting up a potential Game 6 series clincher at Wrigley Field Saturday, I started thinking about other famous Game 6’s. (A certain one at Wrigley in 2003, I’m sure we’d all like to forget.)
Here are six Game 6 series clinchers from postseason history, several involving the Indians, who await this year’s NLCS winner in the World Series. Hopefully, the Cubs can put the Dodgers away Saturday and become another team winning a hard-fought series four games to two.
The Tribe actually led this series three games to one before the O’s won Game 5 in Cleveland. Game 6, back in Baltimore, went scoreless into extra innings. The Orioles had 10 hits and five walks off Charles Nagy and four Cleveland relievers and failed with RISP in the second, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. Tony Fernandez homered with two out in the top of the 11th for the game-winner.
Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers combined on a one-hit shutout, one of just six games in World Series history where a team allowed one or fewer hits. David Justice’s solo homer in the sixth inning provided the run that won the game, and the World Series, for the Braves, the only Series they won in their 14-year run of postseason appearances.
The Jays were sailing along with a 5-1 lead heading into the seventh inning, but the Phillies scored five, highlighted by a three-run homer from Lenny Dykstra.
Joe Carter, who was the final No. 1 Cubs draft pick under Wrigley ownership, hit a three-run walkoff homer to win the game and the Series for the Jays. You’ve no doubt heard the “Touch ‘em all, Joe!” call made by Sean McDonough on the TV broadcast. Bonus! In those years Vin Scully was doing the national radio call for the World Series — here’s his call of that homer:
The Astros were sailing along with a 3-0 lead entering the ninth, seemingly poised to send this series to a Game 7. The Mets tied the game with a three-run rally and long extra innings followed. Both teams scored in the 14th inning, the Astros on a homer by ex-Cub Billy Hatcher. In the 16th, the Mets took a 7-4 lead, but Houston came back with two runs on RBI singles by Hatcher and Glenn Davis. With Davis on first and two out, Kevin Bass hit a ball that was foul by about six feet, that would have been a walkoff homer. On the next pitch, he struck out and the Mets went to the World Series.
The Yankees had taken a three games to one lead, but the Dodgers crushed them 10-4 in Game 5 and the series shifted back to Yankee Stadium for Game 6.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead into the fourth inning. Reggie Jackson hit a two-run homer to give the Yankees the lead, and they extended it to 5-3 on a sac fly by Lou Piniella.
Then Reggie homered again in the fifth. He came up once again in the eighth:
At the time, only one other player had homered three times in a World Series game: Babe Ruth, who did it twice, in Game 4 in 1926 and Game 4 in 1928. It’s since been done two more times, by Albert Pujols in 2011 and Pablo Sandoval in 2012.
The Indians took a 4-1 lead into the eighth, but the Braves scored twice in the bottom of the inning and had the tying and lead runs in scoring position. Reliever Gene Bearden got Mike McCormick on a grounder to short, and an inning later closed it out for Cleveland’s World Series win. As you no doubt know, that’s the last time the Indians won the World Series.
If the Cubs can close things out Saturday against the Dodgers and go to Cleveland for this year’s World Series beginning Tuesday... perhaps they can keep things that way.