It was the only game of the series where the outcome was rarely in question. Each of the previous three games were decided by one run, just as the final two would be. But Game 5, the last win of the ’91 season, was all Braves.
For three innings it looked like another pitchers duel, but in the 4th the Braves hit for the cycle against Kevin Tapani to break a scoreless tie. A double by Rafael Belliard, who hit .375 with 4 RBI in the series, capped the four-run inning scoring.
The Twins, aided by four Tom Glavine walks, closed the Braves lead to two with a three-run sixth. It was 5-3 Braves entering the bottom of the 7th. Minnesota reliever David West, who had an interesting Braves connection, would hand the good guys an impenetrable lead.
Prior to the ’89 season the Mets agreed to send Lenny Dykstra, Howard Johnson and Rick Aguilera to the Bravos for Dale Murphy. But Bobby got greedy, insisting on West, then a top starting prospect. The deal fell through, and while it would’ve been a heist, the ’91 team would’ve looked much different.
TP wouldn’t have become a Brave — not with HoJo entrenched at third. Dykstra’s presence would’ve precluded the trade for Otis Nixon. And the Twins would’ve been missing their closer; Aguilera saved 42 for Minnesota that year.
Aguilera wouldn’t sniff Game 5. West faced four batters; Lonnie Smith led off with a homer, TP and Ron Gant walked and Justice singled in a run. The 7th ended with the Braves up by 8. They’d tack on three more runs to win 14-5.
It would be the last time the Braves would hold a lead in the series. But for one night, at least, a world championship seemed to be in their grasp.