We’re counting down the best of the Braves from Octobers past, in which the good guys (almost) always win.
Game 1 goes back to 1995, the first year of the NLDS, with the Braves taking on the Cinderella Rockies. The first round was oddly configured then, with the team with the best record hosting the final three games of a best-of-5. Not much of a home field advantage.
The Braves seemed to have the edge in Game 1, with Mad Dog facing Kevin Ritz, whose 4.21 ERA qualified him as the ace of a Rockies staff that included Armando Reynoso and Marvin Freeman.
But it was all Rockies early, and a two-run homer by Vinny Castilla put them on top 3-1 in the 4th. Despite four errors by the Rockies, the Braves bats stayed cold until the 6th, when Chipper led off the inning with a HR and Luis Polonia drove in David Justice with a fielder’s choice.
The game remained tied at 3 going into the 8th when the Braves staged a two-out rally. After hits by Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez, pinch hitter Dwight Smith drove in the go-ahead run with a single off future Brave Darren Holmes. Ellis Burks answered with an RBI double for Colorado in bottom half of the 8th.
Then, with two outs in the 9th, Chipper went deep for a second time, giving the Braves a 5-4 lead.
But the real drama came in the bottom of the 9th, when Mark Wohlers loaded the bases with one out, yielding singles to Mike Kingery and Dante Bichette and walking Larry Walker. Bases loaded and the Big Cat at bat. Wohlers struck him out swinging and then got a huge gift from Don Baylor, who employed one too many double switches, leaving him with no one but pitchers to bat. Game 2 starter Lance Painter got the call and, predictably, struck out.