1992 National League Championship Series: Wikis

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1992 National League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Atlanta Braves (4) Bobby Cox 98–64, .605, GA: 8
Pittsburgh Pirates (3) Jim Leyland 96–66, .593, GA: 9
Dates: October 6–October 14
MVP: John Smoltz (Atlanta)
Television: CBS
TV announcers: Sean McDonough and Tim McCarver
Radio: CBS
Radio announcers: John Rooney and Jerry Coleman
Umpires: John McSherry, Randy Marsh, Steve Rippley, Gary Darling, Gerry Davis, Ed Montague
 < 1991 NLCS 1993 > 
1992 World Series

The 1992 National League Championship Series was played between the Atlanta Braves (98–64) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (96–66) from October 6 to October 14. Atlanta won the series in seven games to advance to their second straight World Series. The 1992 NLCS ended in dramatic fashion, as in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with Atlanta down 2–1 and the bases loaded, the Braves' Francisco Cabrera cracked a two-run single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream. Bream famously slid to score the Series-winning run, beating the throw by Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds.

Contents

Summary

Much like the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates adopted the Sister Sledge song "We are Family" as their anthem, the 1992 Pirates adopted an anthem of Van Halen's "Right Now."

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Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Atlanta wins the series, 4–3.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 6 Pittsburgh Pirates – 1, Atlanta Braves – 5 Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 3:20 51,971[1]
2 October 7 Pittsburgh Pirates – 5, Atlanta Braves – 13 Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 3:20 51,975[2] 
3 October 9 Atlanta Braves – 2, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3 Three Rivers Stadium 2:37 56,610[3] 
4 October 10 Atlanta Braves – 6, Pittsburgh Pirates – 4 Three Rivers Stadium 3:10 57,164[4] 
5 October 11 Atlanta Braves – 1, Pittsburgh Pirates – 7 Three Rivers Stadium 2:52 52,929[5] 
6 October 13 Pittsburgh Pirates – 13, Atlanta Braves – 4 Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 2:50 51,975[6] 
7 October 14 Pittsburgh Pirates – 2, Atlanta Braves – 3 Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 3:22 51,975[7]

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 6, 1992 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 1
Atlanta 0 1 0 2 1 0 1 0 X 5 8 0

WP: John Smoltz (1–0)  LP: Doug Drabek (0–1)  
HRs:  PIT – José Lind (1)  ATL – Jeff Blauser (1)

A rather uneventful opening to what would prove to be a memorable series, Game 1 was an easy win for the Braves. Atlanta scored four early runs, highlighted by Jeff Blauser's fifth-inning homer, and coasted to victory. The only bright spot for Pittsburgh was a relatively meaningless late-inning homer by usually light-hitting Jose Lind, who would gain notoriety in the final game of the series. Lind's run, however, was the first the Pirates had scored against the Braves in 25 innings, going back to Lind's RBI single in Game 5 of the 1991 NLCS. John Smoltz pitched eight strong innings to win, beginning his MVP performance in the series. Doug Drabek took the first of his eventual three losses.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 7, 1992 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 5 7 0
Atlanta 0 4 0 0 4 0 5 0 X 13 14 0

WP: Steve Avery (1–0)  LP: Danny Jackson (0–1)  
HRs:  ATL – Ron Gant (1)

Atlanta scored early and often to win a blowout in Game 2. The Braves combined four hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the second inning to score four runs and knock out Pirates starter Danny Jackson. Another four-run outburst in the fifth, featuring Ron Gant's first career grand slam homer, put the Braves up 8–0. The Pirates' offense finally got going in the seventh against tiring Atlanta starter Steve Avery, as Pittsburgh used five hits to score four and briefly make it a game. But Atlanta responded with five in the bottom of the inning, sparked by a two-run double by Terry Pendleton and a two-run single by David Justice, to put the game away. Avery ran his record playoff scoreless innings streak to 22+13 innings, all against the Pirates, before he gave up four runs in the seventh.

Game 3

Friday, October 9, 1992 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 0
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 X 3 8 1

WP: Tim Wakefield (1–0)  LP: Tom Glavine (0–1)  
HRs:  ATL – Sid Bream (1), Ron Gant (2)  PIT – Don Slaught (1)

The series moved to Pittsburgh and produced its best game so far. Atlanta's Sid Bream, who would be a central figure in the series' deciding play, opened the scoring with a homer in the fourth. Pittsburgh's Don Slaught evened the score with a round-tripper in the fifth. Doubles by Andy Van Slyke and Jeff King put the Pirates up 2–1 in the sixth, but Atlanta tied the game on a solo shot by Ron Gant in the seventh. Pittsburgh scored the deciding run in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Van Slyke. Tim Wakefield pitched a complete game, and the Pirates had their first win of the series.

Game 4

Saturday, October 10, 1992 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 0 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 6 11 1
Pittsburgh 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 6 1

WP: John Smoltz (2–0)  LP: Doug Drabek (0–2)  SV: Jeff Reardon (1)  

Game 4 was a back-and-forth affair eventually won by the Braves behind the pitching, hitting and baserunning of series MVP John Smoltz. Both teams scored twice in the second, with Smoltz driving in one of the Braves's runs. Pittsburgh took a 3–2 lead in the third on a run-scoring double by Orlando Merced. But the Braves bounced back with four runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 6–3 advantage, with Smoltz scoring one of the runs after getting his second hit of the game and stealing a base. After the Pirates closed to within 6–4 in the seventh on an RBI double by Andy Van Slyke, Smoltz was lifted for reliever Mike Stanton, who quickly squelched the Pittsburgh rally. Jeff Reardon pitched a 1–2–3 ninth for the save, and Atlanta was one game away from taking the NLCS. Doug Drabek took his second loss of the series.

Game 5

Sunday, October 11, 1992 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0
Pittsburgh 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 X 7 13 0

WP: Bob Walk (1–0)  LP: Steve Avery (1–1)  

The Pirates staved off elimination in the fifth game with their best offensive showing so far in the series and a strong complete-game performance from former Atlanta player Bob Walk. Pittsburgh hit four doubles in the first to score four and chase Atlanta starter Steve Avery. The rest of the game was anticlimactic as the Braves couldn't get anything going against Walk, who pitched a crafty three-hitter. Pittsburgh added single runs in the third, sixth and seventh, but Walk didn't need them. Barry Bonds also broke his streak of no extra base hits in postseason play (dating back to 1990) with an extra base hit. This would be the final MLB postseason game in the history of Three Rivers Stadium, and the last one to date played in Pittsburgh.

Game 6

Tuesday, October 13, 1992 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 8 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 13 13 1
Atlanta 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 4 9 1

WP: Tim Wakefield (2–0)  LP: Tom Glavine (0–2)  
HRs:  PIT – Barry Bonds (1), Jay Bell (1), Lloyd McClendon (1)  ATL – David Justice 2 (2)

The series returned to Atlanta, and Pittsburgh returned the favor of Atlanta's Game 2 blowout with a 13–4 laugher of their own. The game was over after the second inning, when the Pirates sent twelve men to the plate and scored eight. Barry Bonds led off the inning with a homer (the first postseason home run of his career), and things went rapidly downhill for Atlanta starter Tom Glavine, who took his second loss of the series. Jay Bell also homered in the inning, a three-run shot that finally ended Glavine's futile stint on the mound. Pittsburgh starter Tim Wakefield pitched well with the lead and never let the Braves back in the game, for his second complete-game victory of the now 3–3 series.

Game 7

Wednesday, October 14, 1992 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 1
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 7 0

WP: Jeff Reardon (1–0)  LP: Doug Drabek (0–3)  

Bobby Cox became the first manager to ever see a Game 7 in the American and National Leagues after holding a three games to one lead. Cox had also managed the Toronto Blue Jays when they blew a 3–1 lead against the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 ALCS.

The series decider was its most memorable contest. Doug Drabek pitched masterfully for the first eight innings, holding the Braves scoreless. His only real scare came in the sixth, when the Braves loaded the bases with none out. However, Jeff Blauser lined into a double play and Terry Pendleton struck out to end the inning. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh did not do much with Atlanta starter John Smoltz, but did manage a run in the first on an Orlando Merced sacrifice fly and another in the sixth on a single by Andy Van Slyke.

A critical replacement occurred in the third inning when home plate umpire John McSherry left the game with chest pains and was replaced by left-field umpire Randy Marsh. Marsh called a tighter strike zone, particularly when Atlanta rallied in the ninth and Stan Belinda threw a number of close pitches that walked Damon Berryhill.

The Pirates took their 2–0 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when their season imploded. Leyland stuck with Drabek, rather than bring 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 Belinda replaced Drabek. Ron Gant then plated one run with a warning track sacrifice fly to make it 2–1, and Berryhill walked to reload the bases. Pinch-hitter Brian Hunter popped up to shortstop Jay Bell with nobody scoring, 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—just ahead of Barry Bonds' throw—Bream. The Braves piled onto Bream at the plate in a famous scene, Fulton County Stadium erupted, and Atlanta went back to the World Series. "The Slide" also proved to be the end of the Pirates' mini-dynasty, as Drabek, Bonds, and other players left for other teams after the Series. The Pirates have not had a winning season (much less a postseason appearance) since, and currently have a streak of 17 consecutive losing season as of 2009, the longest such streak in all of the four major professional sports leagues.

In the celebration at home plate after Sid Bream's pennant-winning slide, Braves pitcher Kent Mercker was hurt and unable to pitch in the World Series.

Until 2008, the Braves were the last team in Major League Baseball to win a seventh game after blowing a 3–1 lead. That year, the Tampa Bay Rays won Game 7 of the ALCS after blowing a 3–1 lead to the Boston Red Sox.

Composite box

1992 NLCS (4–3): Atlanta Braves over Pittsburgh Pirates

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta Braves 0 7 0 4 7 2 8 1 5 34 57 2
Pittsburgh Pirates 5 10 2 0 5 4 7 2 0 35 59 5
Total attendance: 374,599   Average attendance: 53,514

Series quotes

Deep to left, there's Ron Gant's first ever grand slam!
CBS Sports play-by-play man Sean McDonough's call of Ron Gant's grand slam off of Bob Walk in Game 2.
...but thus far the Braves can't pull the trigger on one, here's the 2-and-0 to Gant. HE HAS! DEEP TO LEFT FIELD, KISS THIS ONE GOODBYE IT'S A SLAM! EIGHT-ZIP BRAVES!
Atlanta Braves announcer Don Sutton's call of Ron Gant's grand slam off of Bob Walk in Game 2.
Two balls, one strike. What tension! The runners lead. A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there, we can dance in the streets. The two-one. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is...SAFE! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! They may have to hospitalize Sid Bream. He's down at the bottom of a huge pile at the plate. They help him to his feet. Frank Cabrera got the game-winner! The Atlanta Braves are National League champions again! This crowd has gone berserk!
Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray's call of Francisco Cabrera's game-winning hit in Game 7.
And now the Braves’ season hangs in the balance as Francisco Cabrera comes to the plate to bat for the pitcher. He appeared in only twelve games this year for the Braves. He doesn't walk much, he walked only seventeen times in 300 at-bats in Triple-A this year. He hacked at the 2–0 now the 2–1. Line drive and a base hit! Justice has scored the tying run. Bream to the plate...and he is safe, safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series! The unlikeliest of heroes wins the National League Championship Series for the Atlanta Braves. Francisco Cabrera, who had only ten at-bats in the major leagues during the regular season, singled through the left side, scoring Sid Bream from second base with the winning run. Bream, who's had five knee operations in his lifetime, just beat the tag from his ex-mate Mike LaValliere, and Atlanta pulls out Game 7 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. This place is bedlam. There will be no second nightmare for Bobby Cox. The final score in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series: the Braves 3 and the Pirates 2.
Sean McDonough's call of Francisco Cabrera's game-winning hit in Game 7.

Notes

External links

1992 Major League Baseball Playoffs
1992 World Series
American League Championship Series

AL Playoff teams: Oakland | Toronto

National League Championship Series

NL Playoff teams: Atlanta | Pittsburgh


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