Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth in the decisive fifth game of the NLCS, the Reds catcher and NL MVP Johnny Bench homered to right field to tie the game. Later in the inning, with two outs and a man on third, Pirates reliever Bob Moose skipped a slider to the back stop, allowing George Foster to dash home and send an ecstatic Cincinnati ball club to the World Series.
2 of 15NY Daily News via Getty Images
1976 ALCS, Game 5: Yankees vs. Royals
New York Yankees first baseman Chris Chambliss trotted to bat in the bottom of the ninth of the decisive Game 5 of the ALCS with the score tied at six apiece. Chambliss, who hit .524 on the series, drove the first pitch from Kansas City reliever Mark Littell just over the right-center field wall to propel the Yankees to their first pennant in 12 years. A frenzied New York crowd flooded the field in jubilation as Chambliss ducked and weaved his away around the bases.
3 of 15Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1980 ALCS, Game 3: Yankees vs. Royals
George Brett and the Royals lost the ALCS to the Yankees in 1976, 1977 and 1978, and Kansas City and league MVP Brett were anxious for revenge when the two met in 1980. The Royals led 2-0 in games but trailed 2-1 in Game 3 heading into the top of the 7th inning. That all changed when Brett uncorked a Goose Gossage fastball into the upper deck, giving the Royals a 4-2 lead, which they held on to, securing their first trip to the World Series.
4 of 15Rick Stewart/Getty Images
1985 NLCS, Games 5 and 6: Cardinals vs. Dodgers
The 1985 NLCS was one to forget for Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer. After surrendering a dramatic walk-off home run to St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith in Game 5, Niedenfuer stared down Jack Clark with two men on in the top of the ninth in an attempt to close out Game 6. Clark pounded Niedenfuer's fastball deep into the Los Angeles bleachers, giving the Redbirds a lead they would not relinquish, as St. Louis won its second NL pennant in four years.
5 of 15John Iacono/SI
1986 NLCS, Game 7: Mets vs. Astros
In a series packed with drama, the Mets won Game 3 on a walk-off home run by Lenny Dysktra and Game 5 on a 12th-inning single by Gary Carter. In Game 6, the Mets trailed 3-0 entering the top of the ninth, but rallied for three runs to force extra innings. Both teams scored in the 14th and the Mets scored three in the 16th. But the Astros chipped away with two of their own to make the score 7-6 before Jesse Orosco looped a slider past Houston's Kevin Bass, Orosco's 54th pitch in relief. The strikeout ended the game and won the pennant for an exhausted Mets club.
6 of 15Focus on Sport/Getty Images
1986 ALCS, Game 5: Red Sox vs. Angels
The Angels won three of the first four games of the ALCS against the Red Sox and carried a 5-2 lead into the top of the ninth, three outs from their first pennant. A two-run homer by Don Baylor cut the lead to one, and with two out, Dave Henderson hit a two-run shot of his own to give Boston a 6-5 lead. The Angels tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, but the Red Sox won in extra innings and completed their comeback by winning Games 6 and 7 handily in Fenway Park.
7 of 15Ronald C. Modra/SI
1992 NLCS Game 7: Braves vs. Pirates
Francisco Cabrera had compiled just 10 at-bats for the Braves in 1992 and spent most of the season in Triple-A. It was Cabrera, though, who settled into the batter's box with the Braves season on the line against the Pittsburgh Pirates during Game 7 of the NLCS. Down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Cabrera slapped a single into left field. David Justice scored the tying run and a lumbering Sid Bream barely beat Barry Bonds' throw from left, sending the Braves to the World Series for the second straight year.
8 of 15Chuck Solomon/SI
1996 ALCS: Game 1 Yankees vs. Orioles
The American League pennant between the Yankees and Orioles was decided in part by a 12-year-old boy. With the Yankees down 4-3 in the eighth inning of Game 1, Yankees rookie Derek Jeter lofted an opposite field fly to deep right field. O's right fielder Tony Tarasco shuffled back to the wall to position himself to make the catch. As the ball descended, 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall and pulled the ball into the stands. The Orioles' protests fell on deaf ears, and the Yankees went on to win the game and eventually the series.
9 of 15Courtesy of Fox Sports
2001 ALDS: Game 3 Yankees vs. A's
In possibly the most iconic play of his legendary career, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter saved New York's season in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees trailed the best-of-five series two-games-to-none but had a 1-0 lead in the top of the 7th when Oakland's Terence Long doubled down the right field line. With the A's Jeremy Giambi lumbering around third, Shane Spencer's relay throw sailed over cutoff man Tino Martinez. Jeter raced towards the ball, grabbed it on the first base line and flipped it sideways to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi out. The stunned A's never recovered as the Yankees went on to win the series three games to two.
10 of 15John Biever/SI
2003 NLCS: Game 6 Cubs vs. Marlins
In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, the Chicago Cubs were five outs away from their first pennant since 1945 with ace Mark Prior on the mound and a 3-0 lead on the Florida Marlins. With one man on, Florida's Luis Castillo popped a ball near the left field stands. Cubs outfielder Moises Alou attempted a leaping grab near the wall, but the ball was accidentally knocked away by Cubs fan Steve Bartman. A flustered Chicago squad proceeded to give up eight runs in the 8th, as the Marlins coasted to an 8-3 victory. Florida then beat the Cubs 9-6 in Game 7 to clinch the pennant.
11 of 15Chuck Solomon/SI
2003 ALCS: Game 7 Yankees vs. Red Sox
Down 5-2 entering the bottom of the 8th inning, the Yankees rallied for three runs off Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez to force extra innings. Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone led off the bottom of the 11th by belting knuckleballer Tim Wakefield's first pitch in the deep into the left field stands. The home run won the pennant for the Yankees and broke the hearts of Red Sox fans for the 85th straight season.
12 of 15Al Tielemans/SI
2004 ALCS: Game 4, Red Sox vs. Yankees
The Yankees won the first three games of the 2004 ALCS and took a one-run lead into the ninth inning of Game 4 with the dominant Mariano Rivera on the mound. But a Dave Roberts stolen base and Bill Mueller single helped tie the game and the Red Sox went on to win on a 12th-inning home run by David Ortiz. Big Papi delivered another walk-off hit the next night to send the series back to New York. Once there, the Red Sox won Game 6 behind a hobbling Curt Schilling and Game 7 thanks to a pair of home runs from Johnny Damon. The Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to win a series after trailing three-games-to-none.
13 of 15David E. Klutho/SI
2005 NLDS: Game 4, Braves vs. Astros
Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS just wouldn't end. After falling behind the Atlanta Braves 6-1 going into the eighth inning, the Houston Astros miraculously tied the game behind clutch home runs from Lance Berkman and Brad Ausmus. Then, after 8 1/2 consecutive scoreless innings, rookie Chris Burke, who entered the game as a pinch-runner, lined a home run into the left field stands, ending the longest postseason game ever played and launching the Astros into the NLCS.
14 of 15David E. Klutho/SI
2005 NLCS: Astros vs. Cardinals, Game 5
Taking a 4-2 lead into the top of the 9th with their first pennant three outs away, the Houston Astros brought in closer Brad Lidge to shut the door on the St. Louis Cardinals. Lidge picked up the first two outs before surrendering a single to David Eckstein and a walk to Jim Edmonds. That allowed Albert Pujols to step to the plate, and he blasted a towering three-run home run to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS. The Astros would bounce back to win Game 6, and the series, two days later.
15 of 15Erick W. Rasco/SI
2006 NLCS: Game 7, Mets vs. Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen thought he had hit the go-ahead home run in the 2006 NLCS when he connected with Mets pitcher Oliver Perez's offering in the top of the 6th. The ball carried deep into left field before New York outfielder Endy Chavez vaulted into the air from a full sprint, stretching over the wall to snag the ball, which he then turned into an inning-ending double play. The amazing catch kept the game tied, but a Yadier Molina blast in the ninth won the game for the Cardinals and sent them to the World Series.
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