Heartbreak and jubilation: These are the most memorable LCS Game 7s in MLB history

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·5-min read

The American League Championship Series is going to a decisive Game 7.

After falling in a 3-0 hole, the Houston Astros have forged an already historic comeback by winning three consecutive elimination games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Now they'll look to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to overcome a 3-0 deficit in MLB postseason history.

Oh, and about that 2004 postseason. It was also the last time both League Championship Series went the distance. On the NL side, the Cardinals defeated — you guessed it — the Astros. That could happen again in 2020 with the Dodgers and Braves playing Game 6 on Saturday.

Houston Astros Carlos Correa runs to second after hitting a double against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning in Game 6 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shortstop Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are trying to complete the sport's second comeback from a 3-0 playoff deficit. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

There's always something special about Game 7. The finality. The heartbreak. The jubilation. In 2020, we can also add the "circumstances," because Game 7 this October will be unlike those prior due to MLB's compact postseason schedule. With no off days in the series, teams will have to dig even deeper to advance to the World Series.

Whether it be the League Championship Series of the World Series, Game 7 has provided some of the most memorable moments in MLB history. With that in mind, there’s no better time to relive the best Game 7 games and moments in LCS history.

We’ll begin with ...

Red Sox finish historic comeback

Red Sox 10, Yankees 3 (Oct. 20, 2004)

The team the 2020 Astros are trying to match in the record books.

This is memorable more so for the history that was made than the game itself. The Yankees took a commanding 3-0 series lead, only to see the Red Sox storm back and become the first team to overcome that deficit. It started with a Dave Roberts stolen base in Game 4 — in his playing days before he took up his post as Dodgers manager. It continued with Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in Game 6. It ended in Game 7, as the Red Sox rode their waves of success to a convincing 10-3 win.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the Astros were engaged in a back-and-forth battle with the St. Louis Cardinals. In Game 7, the Cards made it 7-for-7 for the home team in that series, riding Jeff Suppan to a 5-2 win over Roger Clemens.

This year’s Astros are a) in the American League and b) playing at a neutral site because of the pandemic, but they have a chance to match the previously unthinkable Red Sox feat.

Francisco Cabrera delivers

Braves 3, Pirates 2 (Oct. 14, 1992)

The Braves were threatening to blow a 3-1 series lead when the seldom-used Cabrera stepped up with the slow-footed Sid Bream on second base representing the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Naturally, Cabrera came through, rolling a single into left field to set up the most dramatic play at home plate in MLB history. Bream would beat the throw of left fielder Barry Bonds and the tag of catcher Mike Lavalliere by an eyelash, maybe less.

He was safe, the Braves advanced to their second straight World Series and the Pirates wouldn’t be the same again for 21 years. Those few seconds and inches truly changed baseball history, and will live forever.

Cubs curse continues

Marlins 9, Cubs 6 (Oct. 15, 2003)

No one will ever forget Game 6. That was the night Steve Bartman became famous for reasons that haunted Cubs fans until their World Series victory in 2016. What everyone overlooks is the Cubs not only blew a big lead in Game 6, they had another chance to win in Game 7, but came up short.

Despite Kerry Wood clobbering a home run, the Cubs ace didn’t have his best stuff. The opportunistic Marlins took advantage, knocking Wood from the game and then sealing the win against Chicago’s bullpen. The victory capped a comeback from being down three games to one, and it led to the second World Series championship in franchise history.

Aaron Boone!

Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 in 11 innings (Oct. 16, 2003)

That brings us back to the Yankees. They were the Marlins opponents in the 2003 World Series, and they got there thanks to Aaron Boone’s dramatic walk-off home run in extra innings in Game 7.

This game featured perhaps the best pitching matchup in a Game 7. Pedro Martinez got the ball for Boston, while Roger Clemens handled duties for New York. The Red Sox got out to a 4-0 lead early on Clemens, who then gave way to Mike Mussina. The Yankees eventually tied it against Martinez in the eighth inning. That inning is remembered as the one that cost Grady Little his job as Red Sox manager, as he elected to stick with a laboring Martinez.

By the time the 11th inning rolled around, Mariano Rivera had thrown three scoreless innings of relief for New York. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was tossing for Boston. That was until Boone connected.

That’s the type of moment the Rays and Astros are looking for Saturday. Who will experience the thrill of victory?

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