Plethora of one-run games provide postseason dramatics

With 11 contests already decided by just one run, this year could bring new playoff record

Plethora of one-run games provide postseason dramatics

The 2014 postseason continued its flair for the dramatic on Sunday night, as the Cardinals edged out a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Giants in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

Kolten Wong's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth put an end to what proved to be the 11th one-run game this postseason. That is the most one-run games at this stage of the postseason and already just two shy of the overall postseason record of 13 such games, set in 2011 and duplicated last year. With a minimum nine games left -- and a maximum of 17 -- this postseason seems to be shaping up as a potential record-setter.

Along with the 11 one-run games already this postseason, there have been two others that went into extra innings but were ultimately decided by two or more runs. The rash of frenzied finishes has also featured plenty of pop, with players already connecting for seven home runs in the ninth inning or later this postseason -- compared to three such homers all of last postseason.

  Date Recaps Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11 SF 3, STL 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 12 STL 5, SF 4 video
Gm 3 Oct. 14 SF 5, STL 4 video
Gm 4 Oct. 15 SF 6, STL 4 video
Gm 5 Oct. 16 SF 6, STL 3 video

"It's the postseason. You have so much adrenaline, so such excitement going on at this stage, things are going to happen," said Wong, who accounted for the latest such homer on Sunday night. "That's the beauty of baseball. Things you never expect to happen happen."

Things like the Royals becoming just the fourth team to rattle off six straight victories to start the postseason -- two of which came by one run -- or the Giants knocking off the top-seeded Nationals in the NL Division Series with three one-run victories.

It was those same Giants, however, coming out on the wrong end of a one-run game for the first time this postseason on Sunday night.

"[It was] a great game, two good teams going at it," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We had couple of good comebacks there. The long ball got us. Another hit there, it was a good ballgame. We were just missing that."

Wong certainly didn't miss the second pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning, crushing it just over the right-field wall to send the Busch Stadium crowd into a frenzy. Despite all the close games, Wong's blast was just the second walk-off hit of the postseason -- and the first in October.

Prior to Sunday, the only other walk-off finish this postseason came in the American League Wild Card Game, played on Sept. 30. After rallying from a four-run deficit, the Royals eliminated the A's on Salvador Perez's walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning.

It was that thrilling contest that seemingly set the stage for a postseason filled with furious rallies and late-game heroics.

As for October's latest hero, Wong is fully expecting the rest of the NLCS to be a down-to-the-wire battle, similar to Game 2.

"That's such a great team over there, it's going to take everything that we can throw at them to win," Wong said. "Just to get this win going in there definitely gave us a little confidence, but we know we have a long road again."

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.