By winning Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Friday, the Milwaukee Brewers forced a Game 7 showdown against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night. What does that mean in the context of postseason history as the two teams gear up for the penultimate postseason showdown to reach the World Series?
• The Brewers' win forces the 112th winner-take-all game in postseason history.
• Home teams are 55-56 in winner-take-all games in postseason history
• The Brewers are 2-2 all-time in winner-take-all games; they won their last in Game 5 of the 2011 NL Division Series against the Diamondbacks. They are 2-0 in winner-take-all games at home, winning in 2011 and in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS against the Angels.
• The Dodgers are 6-5 in winner-take-all games; they lost their last one played in 2017, in Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros. The six wins are tied for fifth most in MLB history with the Cubs.
• By reaching their 12th winner-take-all game in the postseason, the Dodgers are now tied for the fourth most such games in MLB history, joining the Pirates and the Red Sox. The teams with more are the Yankees (28), the Cardinals (21) and the Athletics (13).
• The Dodgers are 4-1 in winner-take-all games on the road; they have won each of their past four such games on the road, most recently in Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS in Washington against the Nationals. That .800 winning percentage is tied with the Cubs for second best in postseason history (with a minimum of two such games). The only team better is the Tigers, who are 5-1 (.833).
Notable relief performances in winner-take-all games
• 1924 World Series Game 7: Senators 4, Giants 3. Walter Johnson earned the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
• 1926 World Series Game 7: Cardinals 3, Yankees 2. Grover Cleveland Alexander protected a one-run lead in the seventh inning by striking out future Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees. He then got the Yankees out in the eighth and ninth innings to win the series (which ended with Babe Ruth getting caught stealing).
• 1995 ALDS Game 5: Mariners 6, Yankees 5 (11 innings). Randy Johnson pitched the final three innings for Seattle, giving up one run, striking out six and getting the win.
• 1999 ALDS Game 5: Red Sox 12, Indians 8. Pedro Martínez, nursing a sore shoulder that knocked him out of Game 1 after just four innings, entered in the fourth inning with the score tied 8-8. Martínez closed out the game with six no-hit innings with three walks, eight strikeouts and no runs.
• 2001 World Series Game 7: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2. Randy Johnson pitched the final 1⅓ innings for Arizona, and did not give up a run. The Diamondbacks walked it off against Mariano Rivera.
• 2003 ALCS Game 7: Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 (11 innings). Mike Mussina (two innings, no runs) and David Wells (⅔ inning, one earned run) made relief appearances after a poor Roger Clemens start. Tim Wakefield (one inning, one run) gave up a walk-off HR to Aaron Boone.
• 2011 ALDS Game 5: Tigers 3, Yankees 2. Max Scherzer (1⅓ innings, one earned run) came in for the Tigers, and Phil Hughes (1⅓ innings, no runs) and CC Sabathia (1⅓ innings, one earned run) made relief appearances for New York.
• 2014 World Series Game 7: Giants 3, Royals 2. Madison Bumgarner (five innings, two hits, no runs) made one of the most incredible relief appearances in history as neither team scored in the final five innings and the Giants won.
• 2016 World Series Game 7: Cubs 8, Indians 7 (10 innings). Jon Lester (three innings, one earned run) relieved Kyle Hendricks, and Trevor Bauer (⅔ inning, no runs) came in with the bases loaded in the 10th to retire the final two batters and gave the Indians a chance.