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Back-to-back walk-offs in post-season games

The Braves made history Sunday night.

This year's National League Championship Series is the 53rd since Major League Baseball went to division play in 1969.

It is the first NLCS in which a team won back-to-back games on walk-offs.

The Braves defeated the Dodgers, 3-2, in the series opener Saturday when Austin Riley singled home Ozzie Albies from second base with 1 out in the bottom of the ninth.

Last night, with 2 down in the ninth, Eddie Rosario smashed a ball off Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to drive in Dansby Swanson from second.

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1 OF 10 WAS WALK-OFF

There have been 1,690 post-season games in MLB history: 678 in the World Series, 506 between American League teams and 509 between National League teams.

Slightly more than 10 percent, 165, have featured a walk-off play: 61 in the World Series, 56 in the AL and 48 in the NL.

Between 1903 and 1968, the last year of single-division leagues, there were 384 World Series games, of which only 25, or 6.5 percent, ended in a walk-off.

No team had 2 in a row. Only the 1924 Washington Senators had 2 in a series, beating the Giants by scores of 4-3 in both Game 2 and Game 7, the latter in 12 innings.

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SUMMER OF '69

Then it happened in the first 2 games of the first ALCS, on Oct. 4-5, 1969.

In the opener, the Orioles tied the Twins at 3 on a leadoff homer in the ninth inning by Boog Powell. Paul Blair won the game in the 12th with a 2-out bunt that scored a runner from third.

The next day's game was scoreless until the 11th. Powell drew a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Brooks Robinson. After an intentional walk, a batter popped up for the second out. Pinch hitter Curt Motton then singled, driving home Powell.

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NL FIRST

The first back-to-back post-season walk-offs in the NL also came in the first 2 games of a series: the 1981 NLDS, between the Astros and Dodgers.

On Oct. 6, the teams were locked in a 1-1 battle with 2 out and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth. Craig Reynolds of the Astros singled and Alan Ashby followed with a home run.

A day later, with no score in the 11th, the Astros loaded the bases with 1 out on a pair of singles and an intentional walk.

After a strikeout, Denny Walling delivered a game-winning single.

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WORLD SERIES FIRST

The 1991 World Series is the only post-season series ever to include 2 sets of back-to-back walk-offs.

On Oct. 22-23, the Braves won Games 3 and 4, by 5-4, on Mark Lemke's 2-out, 12th-inning single, and by 3-2, when Lemke tripled with 1 out in the ninth and scored on Jerry Willard's sacrifice fly.

The Twins turned the tables in Games 6 and 7. Kirby Puckett's leadoff homer in the 11th broke a 3-3 tie and evened the series. Gene Larkin was the hero the next night, smacking a 1-out bases-loaded single in the 10th for the only run of the game.

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LATER NL WALK-OFFS

The Marlins walked off the Giants, 2-1 and 7-6, in the first 2 games of the 1997 NLDS.

On Sept. 30, Edgar Renteria singled with 2 out and the bases loaded in the ninth.

On Oct. 1, Moises Alou singled with nobody out in the ninth and runners on first and second.

That was the last time an NL team had back-to-back walk-offs in any post-season series until the Braves did it Saturday and Sunday.

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LATER AL WALK-OFFS

AL teams did it 4 more times, beginning with Games 3 and 4 of the 1997 ALCS. Cleveland beat the Orioles, 2-1, in 12 innings, then 8-7 in 9.

The 2001 Yankees were the last team to do it in the World Series. Derek Jeter's 2-out solo homer in the 10th inning beat the Diamondbacks in Game 4, 4-3. Alfonso's 1-out single in the 12th inning won Game 5, 3-2.

The Diamondbacks walked off Game 7, 3-2, on Luis Gonzalez's 1-out hit in the ninth. There have been just 8 series-ending walk-offs in the post season. Only 1 has come since the Diamondbacks did it: the Yankees' 6-5 conquest of the Red Sox on Aaron Boone's leadoff homer in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

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The following season, Red Sox registered consecutive walk-offs against the Yankees in Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS, 6-4 and 5-4.

David Ortiz ended both games, the first with a 2-run, no-out homer in the 12th inning and the second with a 2-out single in the 14th with runners on first and second.

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In the 2009 ALCS, teams swapped back-to-back walk-offs, with the Yankees winning Game 2, 4-3, and the Angels taking Game 3, 5-4.

But after the 2004 Red Sox, the same team did not follow a walk-off with another walk-off for 17 years -- until last week. And it was the Red Sox who did it, in the ALDS.

On Oct. 10, Christian Vazquez slammed a 2-run homer with 1 out in the 13th to defeat the Rays, 6-4.

The next night, with the score tied at 5, Vazquez led off the 10th with a single. He was bunted to second, took third on a single, then was replaced by a pinch runner.

That runner came home moments later on a fly ball by Enrique Hernandez.

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2 IN SAME POST SEASON

The Braves' victories over the Dodgers on Saturday and Sunday made 2021 just the second post season with multiple consecutive walk-offs.

The first was 1991, with both in the World Series, so this is the first year with more than 1 set of walk-offs in league play.

This year could well become the first with 3 or more, as there must be at least 9 more games before a team wins the World Series, and there could be as many as 17, if all remaining series require 7 games.

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BREAKDOWN BY LEAGUE, SERIES

The same team has enjoyed back-to-back walk-offs 11 times, 7 by AL teams and 4 by NL teams.

AL teams have done it once in the division series, 4 times in the championship series and twice in the World Series.

NL teams have done it twice in the division series, once in the championship series and once in the World Series.

There have been consecutive walk-offs in 3 division series, 5 championship series and 3 World Series.



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