If Shane Victorino’s 3-run double in the 3rd made you think, Series over, the weight of history was in your corner. Twelve World Series teams won Game 6 on the road to level the Series when facing elimination, and six of those went all the way. But none of them overcame more than a one-run deficit in Game 6. Here’s the list; Series winners in bold:
1997 Indians — Never trailed. Led 3-0 after three innings, starting with a 2-run single by SP Chad Ogea, and won 4-1, with four innings from the bullpen. Led Game 7 into the 9th, but lost on Edgar Renteria’s 11th-inning hit off erstwhile starter Charles Nagy, scoring an unearned run with 2 outs.
1979 Pirates — Never trailed. Six scoreless innings, then three hits and a sac fly scored two runs off Jim Palmer in the 7th and again in the 8th. Trailed 1-0 in Game 7 until the 6th, when Willie Stargell hit a 2-run shot off southpaw Scott McGregor. Kent Tekulve retired Eddie Murray to end the 8th with bases full, and they pulled away to a 4-1 win.
1968 Tigers — Never trailed. Jumped on Ray Washburn for two in the 2nd, then rammed home 10 more in the 3rd, while Denny McLain blanked the Cards into the 9th. Game 7 matched Mickey Lolich (on two days’ rest) with Bob Gibson (who had bested McLain in Games 1 and 4), and they matched zeroes for six. With 2 outs in the 7th, Jim Northrup’s drive to center fooled defensive standout Curt Flood, and three runs scored. Lolich lost his shutout in the 9th, but Detroit won, 4-1.
1964 Yankees — Trailed 1-0. Maris and Mantle went back-to-back in the 6th, breaking a 1-1 tie, and Joe Pepitone’s slam in the 8th sealed the 8-3 win. With Gibson pitching Game 7 on two days’ rest from a 10-inning, 13-K win, the Cards ran out to a 6-0 lead after four innings, and New York’s three-homer rally fell short in a 7-5 loss.
1958 Yankees — Trailed 2-1. Art Ditmar rescued Whitey Ford in the 2nd, escaping from bags full on a LF-to-C double play to keep the Yanks within 2-1. Tied into the 10th, Gil McDougald homered off Warren Spahn, and Bob Turley got the last out with Hank Aaron on 3rd for a 4-3 win. In Game 7, two errors in the 2nd by Frank Torre set up two runs off Lew Burdette. Turley came on for Don Larsen in the 3rd, and surrendered Del Crandall’s tying homer in the 6th, but Moose Skowron’s 3-run shot in the 8th sent New York to a 6-2 win, as Turley went 6.2 innings.
1952 Yankees (are we sensing a trend?) — Trailed 1-0. Yogi Berra’s 7th-inning homer offset Duke Snider’s in the 6th, and starter Vic Raschi plated the lead run with 2 outs. Mantle and Snider matched taters in the 8th, and Game-4 shutout winner Allie Reynolds came on to save the 3-2 win. In Game 7, the sides swapped runs in the 4th and the 5th. Mantle homered in the 6th and singled home a run in the 7th, and Bob Kuzava came on to put out a full-sacks fire in the 7th, then closed out the 4-2 win. Reynolds earned the victory for his 3 innings’ work, after a similar bailout of starter Eddie Lopat in the 4th.
1947 Dodgers — Trailed 5-4. An early 4-0 lead got away, but they scored 4 in the 6th off Joe Page and Bob Newsom, going ahead on Bobby Bragan’s pinch-double, en route to an 8-6 win. Took a 2-0 lead in Game 7, but the Yanks forged ahead with 2 outs and in the 4th and went on to a 5-2 win, Page posting the last five zeroes.
1934 Cardinals — Never trailed. Leo Durocher’s double and Paul Dean’s single broke a 3-3 tie in the 7th, and Hank Greenberg fouled out to end the 8th with two on, as the Cards won by a run. In Game 7, they found the end zone in the 3rd — seven runs on seven hits, two by Dizzy, and they coasted home, 11-0.
1931 Athletics — Never trailed. Seeking the first Series threepeat (and a second straight crown over the Cards), the A’s tallied four in the 4th to spark an 8-1 win over 18-win rookie Paul Derringer, who walked four in the inning and forced home a pair. But they were blanked to the 9th in Game 7 by 37-year-old Burleigh Grimes, and a 2-run HR by minor-league veteran George Watkins, a big-league sophomore at age 31, paced the 4-2 win.
1926 Cardinals — Never trailed. Jumped ahead 3-0 in the 1st off Bob Shawkey, and the June waiver pickup Pete Alexander went the route in the 10-2 win, his second of the Series. In Game 7, a three-run 4th wiped out the Babe’s solo clout, and Alexander earned one of the most famous saves in Series history by striking out Tony Lazzeri with three on in the 7th and bringing it home.
1912 Giants (the seventh contest, but the sixth that was played to a decision) — Never trailed. New York raked Smoky Joe Wood for six runs in the 1st, the inning ending with SP Jeff Tesreau caught stealing 2nd as Art Fletcher scored from 3rd, setting the tone for an 11-4 win. In the 10th of Game 7, Fred Merkle singled off Wood (in relief) for a 2-1 Giants lead, with Matty still on the hill, but somehow, they muffed it.
- The 1921 Giants and the 1903 Red Sox both won Game 6 on the road to even the Series, but they never faced elimination in those best-of-nine Series. Each won the last three games for a 5-3 Series win. (The Giants rallied from 0-3 and 3-5 to win Game 6, while the BoSox never trailed.)
- The 1919 White Sox — Not much to see here. Down 4 games to 1 in this best-of-nine Series, and 4-zip in Game 6, Chicago saved a little face (just a little) by rallying to claim Games 6 and 7, before Lefty Williams finally sunk them in Game 8 with his third loss.