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MLB Notebook: Playoff home runs take center stage

MLB Notebook: Playoff home runs take center stage

MLB Notebook: Playoff home runs take center stage
The first leadoff home run in postseason play was hit by Boston's Patsy Dougherty in the second game of the very first World Series in 1903. Leading off the bottom of the first, Dougherty connected against Pittsburgh's Sam Leever and raced around the bases for an inside-the-park homer in what would turn out to be a 3-0 victory for the home team.

The first walk-off home run in a postseason contest came 46 years later, in the first game of the 1949 World Series. In a tense affair at Yankee Stadium that ended two hours and 24 minutes after it began, New York's Tommy Henrich led off the ninth and met up with a Don Newcombe offering, depositing the ball beyond the fence for a dramatic 1-0 victory.

Even though the leadoff homers got a significant head start on the game-enders, remarkably, after the events on Wednesday night, postseason baseball has now seen 44 of each.

National League Division Series (Reds v. Giants)
Jump-started by a leadoff home run from Angel Pagan and buoyed by 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball by Tim Lincecum in relief, the Giants defeated the Reds, 8-3, to even their best-of-five series at two games apiece.

Pagan's leadoff home run was the first in Giants history and the seventh produced in an NLDS game. The other six players to have one in the NLDS are Marquis Grissom (1995, Game 2), Fernando Vina (2000, Game 3), Jimmy Rollins ('07, Game 2), Chris Young ('07, Game 3), Rollins ('08, Game 4) and Brandon Phillips ('10, Game 2).

The Giants collected eight extra-base hits (five doubles and three home runs), which is the most ever for the franchise in a postseason game. The previous high was seven, first achieved in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series and matched in Game 1 of the '10 Fall Classic.

In his relief outing, Lincecum struck out six with no walks, helping produce a combined line that saw Giants pitchers fan 13 batters against four walks (all four walks by starter Barry Zito in his 2 2/3 innings). The 13 K's are tied for the second-highest total in franchise history, with only Lincecum's 14-strikeout performance in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS topping the collective effort on Wednesday. In Game 2 of the 1971 NL Championship Series, the Giants tallied 13 strikeouts, which they matched in Game 1 of the 2010 NLCS (a game that Lincecum started).

In addition to his leadoff home run, Pagan also doubled. He is the third Giants center fielder with a home run and another extra-base hit in a postseason game. Benny Kauff hit two homers in Game 4 of the 1917 World Series, and Willie Mays had a home run and a double in Game 2 of the '71 NLCS.

American League Division Series (Orioles v. Yankees)
The Yankees got a pinch-hit, game-tying home run from Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth, and then a walkoff homer from Ibanez in the bottom of the 12th to defeat the Orioles, 3-2. The victory gave the Yankees a 2-1 advantage in the series.

Ibanez is the first player in postseason history to have a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth and a game-winner in extra-innings. Before Ibanez, there had been four previous instances of a team getting a game-tying home run when down to their final at-bat, and then getting another homer by another player to end the game.

Home run to tie when down to final out, home run to win in extras
Game Team Game-tying HR Game-winning HR
1995 ALDS, Game 1 Indians Albert Belle, Bottom 11 Tony Pena, Bottom 13
2001 WS, Game 4 Yankees Tino Martinez, Bottom 9 Derek Jeter, Bottom 10
2005 NLDS, Game 4 Astros Brad Ausmus, Bottom 9 Chris Burke, Bottom 18
2009 ALDS, Game 2 Yankees Alex Rodriguez, Bottom 9 Mark Teixeira, Bottom 11
2012 ALDS, Game 3 Yankees Raul Ibanez, Bottom 9 Raul Ibanez, Bottom 12

Ibanez's game-ending homer was the seventh in ALDS history. The other six were Tony Pena (1995, Game 1), Jim Leyritz ('95, Game 2), Trot Nixon (2003, Game 3), David Ortiz ('04, Game 3), Manny Ramirez ('07, Game 2) and Mark Teixeira ('09, Game 2).

Ibanez is the first player in postseason history to hit a pair of home runs after beginning the game on the bench.

Before Ibanez's shot in the ninth, there had been only three previous game-tying home runs in the ninth inning or later by a pinch-hitter. In Game 2 of the 1985 ALCS, Pat Sheridan hit one for the Royals; in Game 2 of the '98 NLDS, Leyritz hit one for the Padres; in Game 2 of 2000 NLDS, J.T. Snow hit one for the Giants.

The Orioles hadn't lost an extra-inning game since falling to the Yankees on April 11. In between the two defeats, they had won 16 straight extra-inning affairs.

At 20 years and 96 days old, Manny Machado (solo homer in the fifth) became the youngest player in Orioles franchise history to hit a postseason home run, and overall, the second-youngest player in postseason history to hit one. Only Andruw Jones -- when he hit a homer in Game 7 of 1996 NLCS (at 19 years and 177 days), and then when he hit two in the first game of that year's World Series (at 19 years and 180 days) -- was younger.

ALDS (Tigers v. Athletics)
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Athletics rallied for three runs and defeated the Tigers to even up the series at two games apiece.

Coco Crisp followed through with the game-winning hit, an RBI single to score Seth Smith. Crisp's walk-off hit was the seventh in Athletics' postseason history. The other six are:

• Bing Miller; RBI double, 1929 WS, Game 5

• Gonzalo Marquez; 2-run single, '72 ALCS, Game 1

• Angel Mangual; RBI single, '72 WS, Game 4

• Bert Campaneris; solo home run, '73 ALCS, Game 3

• Mark McGwire; solo home run, '88 WS, Game 3

• Ramon Hernandez; RBI single, 2003 ALDS, Game 1

The game and comeback marked the second time in their postseason history that the Athletics entered their final at-bat down by at least two runs and ended up winning. In Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, the Philadelphia A's -- down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth -- got a two-run homer from Mule Haas to tie the contest, and then won it (and the World Series) on Bing Miller's double to score Al Simmons.

NLDS (Cardinals v. Nationals)
Chris Carpenter (5 2/3 innings, seven hits) was backed by a 14-hit attack, and the Cardinals blanked the Nationals, 8-0, taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

Carpenter picked up the win in the game, improving to 10-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 16 career postseason starts. The 10 postseason wins tie Carpenter with Whitey Ford, Dave Stewart and David Wells for the seventh most ever.

Carpenter has won five consecutive decisions, tied for the 13th longest winning streak in postseason history. Orlando Hernandez owns the longest streak with eight straight victories.

Carpenter's 10 wins are a Cardinals team record, while his streak of five straight decisions won is the second longest in franchise history. From Game 5 of the 1964 World Series through Game 4 of the '68 Fall Classic, Bob Gibson made seven starts and won them all.

The Cardinals' eight runs are the most for the club in a shutout win since they defeated the Tigers, 11-0, in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series. Overall, this game marked the 18th team shutout in franchise history.

David Freese doubled twice, giving him 17 extra-base hits in 22 career postseason games. Those 17 through his first 22 games tie Freese with George Brett and Nelson Cruz for the most in postseason history. Lou Gehrig and Jim Edmonds are tied for the next most, with 16 each.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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