The Astros-Nationals World Series matchup will be the last of the 2010s, a decade that has featured some all-time drama in the Fall Classic. Let's hop in a time machine over the last 10 years and rank the top World Series games of the decade.
10. 2015 World Series, Game 1—Royals over Mets, 5-4, in 14 innings
You know a game was exciting when its story begins in the bottom of the ninth. In this case, Alex Gordon faced Mets closer Jeurys Familia with Kansas City down a run and smacked a game-tying homer to center. The game dragged into the 14th inning, when the Royals walked it off against the Mets and ... wait for it ... Bartolo Colon to cap the most exciting Game 1 of the decade.
9. 2013 World Series, Game 4—Red Sox over Cardinals, 4-2
For those who thought the ending of Game 4 couldn’t match the night before, they were wrong. With two outs in the ninth and Carlos Beltran at the plate representing the tying run, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara picked off Kolten Wong to end the game. Series tied, 2-2.
8. 2015 World Series, Game 5—Royals over Mets, 7-2, in 12 innings
Tracing the origins of Mets Misery is easy, just look at the team’s inaugural 40-120 season. Understanding how such a devastating disease isn’t a thing of the past yet is a bit more complicated to grasp. Just when you think they’ve eradicated it, it comes back in lethal doses, like Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.
Leading 2-0 in the top of the ninth, Citi Field pulsing with the expectation that their team would send the series back to Kansas City for Game 6, ace Matt Harvey trotted out to the mound to complete the shutout. The Dark Knight had argued successfully with manager Terry Collins in the dugout between innings to stay in the game. Then everything went wrong.
Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain before surrendering a double to Eric Hosmer that scored Cain. Harvey’s night was over, as Familia entered to close it out. One out later and Hosmer at third, Salvador Perez hit a weak grounder to the left side. David Wright smartly looked Hosmer back and threw to first for the second out as Hosmer broke for the plate. First baseman Lucas Duda’s throw home sailed high and wide. Game tied. Not again.
The game and the series broke open in the 12th as the Royals peeled away for a 7-2, title-clinching victory to give Kansas City its first championship since 1985.
7. 2018 World Series, Game 3—Dodgers over Red Sox, 3-2, in 18 innings
The one game the Dodgers won in last year’s series, this 18-inning classic actually put the Red Sox in position to win their fourth title since 2004. As SI’s Tom Verducci wrote after Boston had won the World Series, “To deeply understand these Red Sox, not just remember them, you have to hear the hidden story of the longest, most grueling, most absurd loss any team ever suffered in 665 World Series games.”
The 7-hour, 20-minute epic was the baseball equivalent of a David Lean movie: long, awe-inspiring, tiresome, exciting, grueling, and, in the end, absolutely worth it.
6. 2018 World Series, Game 4—Red Sox over Dodgers, 9-6
The Dodgers’ bullpen paid the price for the 18 innings from the night before. The six relievers Los Angeles used to get through the final 2 2/3 innings had all pitched in Game 3, and that’s what did the Dodgers in.
The Red Sox staged a comeback starting in the seventh inning, erasing a 4-0 deficit by scoring nine unanswered against L.A. World Series MVP Steve Pearce clobbered a game-tying solo shot off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to tie it in the eighth. Los Angeles’ bullpen continued to implode in the ninth, when the Red Sox erupted for five runs, the big blow coming on Pearce’s three-run double. The long wait since 1988 was about to get longer.
5. 2014 World Series, Game 7—Giants over Royals, 3-2
The Madison Bumgarner Game, feat. The Double Play.
As Tom Verducci wrote postgame: “Bumgarner stepped out of the bullpen of manager Bruce Bochy in the fifth inning Wednesday night, like a gunslinger out of a lawless Dodge, and from that moment on, the game was going to be played on his terms, which is to say, unlike the standard operating procedures in today's game. It was now a game without governors.”
The series took a final twist with two outs in the ninth inning when Alex Gordon flared a single that scooted past outfielder Gregor Blanco and rolled to the wall. Gordon landed on third as the tying run and up came Salvador Perez with his chance to author a bit of baseball history.
But Bumgarner buckled down. On two days’ rest, MadBum finished his 270th inning of the season with a pop out to third. The Giants won their third World Series win in five years.
4. 2017 World Series, Game 2—Astros over Dodgers, 7-6, in 11 innings
Two years ago, in the Juiced Ball World Series, the Astros and Dodgers played one of the most enthralling and absurd Fall Classics ever. Game 2 was the point of realization that this series was going to be different than the ones from before.
So what happened? Marwin Gonzalez led off the ninth with a game-tying homer off closer Kenley Jansen. The blast was merely a warning shot of what was to come in extras. The full barrage began in the 10th, when Jose Altuve crushed a leadoff homer to left-centerfield. Carlos Correa followed with another dinger, a 427-foot shot, to put Houston up, 5-3.
Naturally, Yasiel Puig went yard off Ken Giles in the bottom of the 10th, making it three leadoff homers in the last four half-innings. Enrique Hernandez gave us a brief return to normalcy when he hit—get this—a two-out RBI single to tie the score at 5.
One out, one on in the Astros’ 11th, George Springer cracked a homer to right-center to put Houston back on top, 7-5. The last of the game’s eight home runs came from Charlie Culberson, who whacked a 404-foot shot with two outs to bring the Dodgers within one. Puig eventually struck out to end the madness.
3. 2017 World Series, Game 5—Astros over Dodgers, 13-12, in 10 innings
Game 5 of this series to Game 2: Hold my beer.
After 10 innings and 25 runs, 5 hours and 17 minutes, seven homers and 28 hits, the Astros walked off the Dodgers in a 13-12 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. Sometimes pictures are more effective than words.
2. 2016 World Series, Game 7—Cubs over Indians, 8-7, in 10 innings
There’s some alternative universe where the Cubs never won the 2016 World Series, where the Ottoman Empire’s legacy lives on with Chicago’s misery. But 108 years later, the Cubs did end their World Series drought. Yet the Curse of the Billy Goat almost prevailed.
Facing a 6-4 deficit in the bottom of the eighth, Rajai Davis, with just 55 homers in 11 big-league seasons, stepped up to the plate for the Indians. Naturally the light-hitting speedster turned on a 97.1-mph fastball from an overworked Aroldis Chapman for a game-tying two-run shot.
After a rain delay built up the drama even more as the game headed to extra innings, the Cubs scored twice in the 10th to take the lead for good. The two-run lead didn’t feel safe, though. Davis came through again with a two-out RBI single to keep the Indians' hopes on life support. In came Mike Montgomery to face Michael Martinez, who grounded out to third and cemented the Cubs' place in history.
1. 2011 World Series, Game 6—Cardinals over Rangers, 13-12, in 11 innings
How could this game rank anywhere else?
Twice, the Cardinals were down to their last strike in what would’ve been the clinching game for the Rangers’ first World Series title. With St. Louis trailing 7-5 in the ninth, Albert Pujols lined a one-out double to center and Lance Berkman walked before Allen Craig struck out. David Freese lifted the 1-2 pitch to rightfield, over Nelson Cruz’s outstretched glove for a two-run triple. Tie game.
Josh Hamilton smacked a two-run homer in the top of the 10th to put Texas back on top. In the bottom of the inning, after the Cardinals had pulled within a run on an RBI groundout, Pujols was intentionally walked to set up a double play with one out for Berkman. Down to his last strike–the Rangers again one pitch from winning it all–Berkman dunked a game-tying single to center.
Then, it was time for Freese, who led off the 11th with the game-winning home run that evened the series. Broadcaster Joe Buck echoed his late father and longtime Cardinals announcer Jack Buck with a fitting homage on the call: “We will see you tomorrow night.”
Game 7 was still to come (which the Cardinals won), but Game 6 in 2011 will forever go down as one of the all-time great Fall Classic games, and surely the best of the 2010s.