Posted: Wednesday September 28, 2005 10:20PM; Updated: Friday September 30, 2005 6:12PM
Playoff tiebreakers through the years
1946 National League: Cardinals and Dodgers tied at 96-58 In baseball's first pennant playoff, St. Louis swept two games, 4-2 and 8-4, in the best-of-three format used by the National League before 1969. Rookie Joe Garagiola had three hits and two RBIs in the opener and Enos Slaughter's RBI triple highlighted the clincher.
1948 American League: Indians and Red Sox tied at 96-58 In a one-game playoff for the AL pennant at Fenway Park, player-manager Lou Boudreau hit two home runs and knuckleballer Gene Bearden pitched a complete game on one days' rest to lead Cleveland past Boston 8-3.
1951 National League: Giants and Dodgers tied at 96-58 The Giants, 13 1/2 games back on Aug. 11, won 12 of their final 13 games to force the three-game playoff. New York won the opener 3-1. Brooklyn won the next afternoon 10-0 on Clem Labine's six-hitter. In the third and decisive game, Bobby Thomson hit "the Shot Heard 'Round the World," a three-run homer off Ralph Branca with one out in the bottom of the ninth the give the Giants a 5-4 victory.
1959 National League: Dodgers and Braves tied at 86-68 Los Angeles won the opener 3-2 on John Roseboro's home run off Carl Willey. Milwaukee took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning of the second game, but the Dodgers rallied and won 6-5 in the 12th when Carl Furillo reached on an infield hit and Gil Hodges scored from second as second baseman Felix Mantilla made a poor throw that skipped past Frank Torre at first.
1962 National League: Giants and Dodgers tied at 101-61 San Francisco won the opener 8-0 on a three-hitter by Billy Pierce and a pair of home runs by Willie Mays. Los Angeles tied the series the next day, winning 8-7 on a ninth-inning sacrifice fly by Ron Fairly. The Dodgers led the decisive game 4-2 in the ninth, but Mays' run-scoring single and a bases-loaded walk to Jim Davenport highlighted a four-run inning in the Giants' 6-4 win.
1978 AL East: Yankees and Red Sox tied at 99-63 After overcoming a 14-game deficit on July 19, New York needed Game 163 to secure the division crown. With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning, Bucky Dent stunned Mike Torrez and Red Sox Nation with a three-run homer into the net above the Green Monster. Goose Goosage retired Carl Yastrzemski with the tying run on third to preserve the 5-4 victory.
1980 NL West: Astros and Dodgers tied at 92-70 The Astros blew a three-game lead with three games to play, setting up a one-game showdown at Dodgers Stadium. But the Dodgers' improbable comeback fell short when Houston beat Los Angeles 7-1 to clinch its first postseason berth. Art Howe drove in four runs with a homer and a single, and Joe Niekro tossed a six-hitter to earn his 20th victory.
1995 AL West: Mariners and Angels tied at 78-66 Seattle lost its final two games of the regular season after erasing a 13-game deficit, allowing California to force a one-game playoff at the Kingdome. Mark Langston and Randy Johnson were locked in a pitchers' duel before Luis Sojo's bases-loaded double in the seventh inning sparked the Mariners to a 9-1 victory. The Big Unit struck out 12 as Seattle reached the postseason for the first time its 19-year history.
1998 NL Wild Card: Cubs and Giants tied at 89-73 The first-ever tiebreaker for a wild-card spot took place at Wrigley Field between two teams moving in opposite directions. Chicago had lost six of its final eight games while San Francisco ended September on a 9-2 run. Steve Trachsel took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and 40-year-old Gary Gaetti hit a two-run homer as the Cubs beat the Giants 5-3.
1999 NL Wild Card: Mets and Reds tied at 96-66 The Mets won five of their final six regular-season games following a seven-game slide to force a playoff for the wild card at Riverfront Stadium. Edgardo Alfonzo's two-run homer in the first inning was ample support for Al Leiter, who blanked the Reds with a two-hitter. With the 5-0 victory, the Mets became only the second team to make the playoffs after trailing by two games with three to play.