By Jeff Merron
Page 2

Approximately two thousand, four hundred games. Are these the best?

Well, we tried to come close. We couldn't get quite as precise as the best-pitched games rankings devised by ESPN's crack statisticians. Actually, we couldn't even come close. So we didn't try. Though we did try to limit ourselves on the Red Sox-Yankees contests, which could have made a pretty good top 10 list on their own.

Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux's 300th win wasn't that pretty, but the feat still is.

10. Maddux wins 300th (Aug. 7 -- Cubs 8, Giants 4)

What Made It Great 1: 300 is still a milestone that means something.

WMIG 2: Maddux's win No. 1 also came with the Cubbies.

WMIG 3: Maddux is truly an old-fashioned team player. This time, the team helped him. He gave up seven hits, three walks, four earned runs, and had to hand the ball to Dusty Baker with two on and no outs in the bottom of the sixth. Then a parade of five relievers held his lead.

9. Happy, happy, happy birthday (Pirates 9, Cubs 5; Pirates 5, Cubs 4)

WMIG, prelude: At 11:15 a.m. on gameday, Jennifer Mackowiak gave birth to an 8 pound, 5 ounce boy, Garrett Matthew. Jennifer's husband, Rob, is a utility infielder for the Pirates.

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WMIG 1: Rob gets to PNC park just an hour before the doubleheader starts, as befuddled as any first-time dad. But he'll be starting both games.

WMIG 2: After going 0-4 including two strikeouts in his first four plate appearances, Rob comes to bat in the ninth inning of the first game and breaks a 5-5 deadlock with a walk-off grand slam.

WMIG 3: In the second game, Rob comes to bat with the Pirates trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth. He hits a two-run dinger to tie it. The Pirates go on to win, 5-4, in the 10th on a walk-off homer.

WMIG, recap: Mackowiak's final line for the day: 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SON.

8. The battle in the Bay (Sept. 25 -- Giants 9, Dodgers 5)

WMIG 1: The Dodgers and Giants both fighting for postseason life: L.A. was trying to hold on for the West flag, San Fran was battling for a wild card spot.

WMIG 2: Did I mention Giants-Dodgers in a crucial pennant race game? There's a little bit of history there.

WMIG 3: See-saw. Dodgers 2-0. Then 2-2. Then 4-2 Dodgers. Then 4-4. Then 5-4 Giants. Then 5-5.

WMIG 4: Barry's familiar perfect line: 0-0 in five plate appearances with five walks.

WMIG 5: Pedro Feliz on fire. He came to the plate with three on and two out in the bottom of the eighth, 3-4 on the day, and sent Yhency Brazoban's second pitch, a 97 mph fastball, over the left-field wall for the game-winning grand slam.

7. Cleveland strands 10, but squeaks by Yanks (Aug. 31 -- Indians 22, Yankees 0)

Yankee Stadium
Getty Images
Yankee Stadium has never looked so beautiful.

WMIG 1: 51,777 at Yankee Stadium watched the parade.

WMIG 2: Omar Vizquel goes 6-for-7, tying the AL record for hits in a nine-inning game.

WMIG 3: Leading 16-0, the Indians padded their lead with six runs in the top of the ninth.

WMIG 4: Biggest shutout win in AL history.

WMIG 5: Biggest loss in Yankee history.

6. Eighteen Sheets to the wind (May 16 -- Brewers 4, Braves 1)

WMIG 1: Sheets' previous career high was 10 Ks in a major league game.

WMIG 2: Sheets threw 91 strikes and only 25 balls.

WMIG 3: Only three hits for the Braves.

WMIG 4: Sheets struck out the side in the ninth.

WMIG 5: "It was kind of a blur," Sheets said after the game. Which is what the Braves could have said about his pitches.

5. The neverending fifth (May 8 -- Rangers 16, Tigers 15 )

WMIG 1: It looked like a ho-hum high scorer for the first four innings. Then the Tigers put the game away with eight runs in the top of the fifth.

WMIG 2: The Rangers scored 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth to knot the game at 14.

WMIG 3: The fifth inning stats: The inning lasted one hour, eight minutes; One hundred pitches were thrown by seven different pitchers; Twenty-eight batters came to the plate; Thirteen got hits and nine walked.

WMIG 4: Alfonso Soriano went 6-for-6.

WMIG 5: Texas won 16-15 in the 10th inning.

Alex Rodriguez, Jason Varitek
Regular season games don't come more intense than Yanks-BoSox.

4. Take me out to the brawl-game (July 24 -- Red Sox 11, Yankees 10)

WMIG 1: With the field soaked and rain still coming down, the Yankees want the game postponed, and want it so bad that some Pinstripers hit the showers before the game was called.

WMIG 2: The game wasn't called. It started 54 minutes behind schedule.

WMIG 3: The Varitek-A-Rod brawl in the third.

WMIG 4: Red Sox manager Terry Francona becoming the fifth man ejected from the game when he argued a call in the fifth inning.

WMIG 5: Bill Mueller takes Mariano Rivera over the fence for a two-run walk off.

3. Nomar pouts, Jeter dives, Yanks win (July 1 -- Yankees 5, Red Sox 4 )

WMIG 1: You can't buy a smile: Nomar pouting as he earned $70,987.65 for the game.

WMIG 2: Pedro striking out A-Rod, Matsui, and Bernie, in order, all on swinging third strikes, in the fourth.

WMIG 3: Keith Foulke getting himself into trouble -- and then out of trouble in the ninth inning to keep things all tied up.

WMIG 4: Jeter's dive into row 5 in the top of the 12th to snuff a Red sox rally.

WMIG 5: Manny Ramirez. He hit a two-run shot in the sixth to pull the Red Sox within 1, then led off the 13th with a solo shot for a 4-3 Boston lead.

WMIG 6: Yankees come back to tie and then win the game in the bottom of the 13th, 5-4.

2. Randy Johnson's perfect game (May 18 -- Arizona 2, Atlanta 0)

WMIG 1: "Randy! Randy! Randy!" -- and this is at the Ted!

Steve Finley
Getty Images
What's better than a walk-off grand slam to clinch the division against a rival? Nothing in '04.

WMIG 2: AARP stopped sending RJ junk mail for an entire month after the game.

WMIG 3: Gave the D-Backs something to put on the team's 2004 highlight slide.

1. The Dodgers win the NL West Division Playoff Spot! (Oct. 2 -- Dodgers 7, Giants 3)

WMIG 1: LA vs. SF, last Saturday of the season, both playing for the postseason.

WMIG 2: 54,594 packing Dodgers stadium, the 27th sellout of the year. Baseball's back in L.A.

WMIG 3: The Dodgers scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth -- capped by Steve Finley's grand slam walk-off blast -- to capture the flag. And, as it turned out, eliminated the Giants.