Five memorable World Series games over last 20 years

Game 5 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers was a doozy Sunday night, with Alex Bregman’s walk-off single in the 12th inning clinching a 13-12 Astros win.

But was it the best World Series game in recent history?

Over the past two decades, 21 teams have played a combined 114 World Series games. Here are arguably five of the most memorable games during that span.

1. Game 6, 2011: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9

There were five ties and six lead changes in this all-timer between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, in which the Cardinals overcame a three-run deficit in the seventh inning and two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th.

Every time the Rangers pulled away, the Cardinals had an answer — including a pair of high-pressure moments toward the end of the game. First, it was David Freese’s two-out, two-strike, two-run triple off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game. Then, after Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 10th to put the Rangers ahead, it was Lance Berkman’s turn. He delivered a game-tying RBI single on a two-out, two-strike pitch to tie the score once again. Freese’s walk-off homer in the 11th gave the Cardinals a 10-9 win, and they went on to win the series the following night.

“You had to be here to believe it,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said after the game.

2. Game 5, 2017: Astros 13, Dodgers 12

The numbers don’t tell the entire story, but they’re a good place to start. Five hours, 17 minutes of game time. Twenty-five combined runs, the most in a World Series game in two decades. Fourteen different pitchers throwing a total of 417 pitches. Six swings of three runs or more.

“Just insane,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

“That was by far the craziest thing I’ve been a part of. Or will ever be a part of,” said Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.

“You’re watching it, and you’re thinking, ‘God dang, this is crazy watching it,’” Astros reliever Brad Peacock said. “It’s something I’ve never seen, and I’m not sure I want to see again.”

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

3. Game 7, 2016: Cubs 8, Indians 7

You don’t have to look back very far to find one of the most compelling Game 7’s in World Series history.

The Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year championship drought with an 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians in 10 innings that, among other things, featured a 17-minute rain delay. A Rajai Davis home run in the bottom of the eighth inning tied it for the Indians, but Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero each drove in a run in the 10th to win it.

Cubs catcher David Ross said afterward he considered it the greatest Game 7 in World Series history.

“I’m not a history major,” Ross said, “but that’s pretty dang good.”

4. Game 3, 2005: White Sox 7, Astros 5

With an official game time of 5 hours, 41 minutes, this White Sox win remains the longest game in World Series history, lasting nearly 30 minutes longer than Sunday’s Game 5. It also featured some pretty sizable momentum swings.

Houston was up 4-0 through four innings, but Chicago scored five — including a two-out, two-run double by A.J. Pierzynski — in the fifth. The Astros tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the game wound up going 14 innings. Geoff Blum was the hero, as his two-out homer put the White Sox ahead, and it was starter Mark Buehrle who came in to record the final out — despite having “like three beers” earlier in the game.

“No one on the planet would’ve ever guessed that I was going to see the field in Game 3,” Buehrle revealed in a Players’ Tribune story earlier this year. “So, that being the case, you better believe that I was gonna do what came natural to me — grab a few beers during the early innings, kick back and enjoy the game like everyone else.”

Chicago won the game 7-5 and swept the series.

5. Game 7, 2001: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2

Though it wasn’t the longest or strangest World Series game, Game 7 between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees was iconic in its own way.

It started as a pitchers’ duel between two of the best arms of their era: Roger Clemens, who was 39 at the time, and Curt Schilling, who started on three days’ rest. The pair struck out nearly half (19 of 41) of the batters they faced, leaving the game tied at 1 through seven innings.

The Yankees brought in Mariano Rivera for the two-inning save, but Tony Womack doubled to tie the game with one out, and Luis Gonzalez famously clinched the series for Arizona with a bloop single to center.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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