1992 NLCS, Game 7: Pirates @ Braves

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Pittsburgh Pirates 2 at Atlanta Braves 3, F — Pittsburgh’s ace Doug Drabek was cruising along, holding the Braves scoreless for eight innings, getting out of his only real jam (bases loaded, no out) in the sixth inning. Atlanta’s starter, John Smoltz, was similarly solid, with the Pirates scraping together two runs on an Orlando Merced sacrifice fly and an Andy Van Slyke single. The Bucs headed to the 9th inning with a 2-0 lead, just three outs away from the World Series. And that’s when it all went wrong. Manager Jim Leyland stuck with Drabek, rather than bringing in a left-hander to pitch to Terry Pendleton and David Justice. Drabek allowed an inning-opening double to Pendleton, and then in what would prove to be a crucial play, normally sure-handed second baseman Jose Lind booted Justice’s grounder. A walk to Sid Bream loaded the bases, and closer Stan Belinda finally replaced Drabek. Ron Gant then drove in a run with a warning track sacrifice fly to make it 2-1, and Damon Berryhill walked to reload the bases. Pinch-hitter Brian Hunter popped up to short, and it looked as though Pittsburgh would escape. But pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera, the last position player on the Atlanta bench, singled to left to score Justice, and Sid Bream, nobody’s speedster, tore into a modern “”mad dash”” (recalling Enos’ Slaughter’s go-for-broke baserunning play in Game 7 of the 1946 World Seris) sliding across home plate just ahead of a skinny Barry Bonds throw. The Braves piled onto Bream at the plate in a famous scene, Fulton County Stadium erupted, and Atlanta went back to the World Series.

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