5 things Braves: Good, bad and ugly of Game 7s

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves manager Brian Snitker addresses the rundown in the fourth inning of Game 7 of the NLCS.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Game 7s. Ugh.

Before Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in Arlington, Texas, the Atlanta Braves were perfect in deciding games to advance to the World Series.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 1991: Atlanta jumps to a 3-run lead in the first behind a sacrifice fly by Ron Gant with runners on first and third, followed by a Brian Hunter two-run home run. John Smoltz shuts out the Pirates for a 4-0 win. Atlanta moves on to face the Minnesota Twins in the World Series — another series decided in seven games.

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1992: Atlanta enters the bottom of the ninth down two runs. The Braves load the bases against Pittsburgh closer Stan Belinda. No outs. Ron Gant flies out, scoring Terry Pendleton from third. One out. Pinch hitter Brian Hunter pops out. Two outs. Pinch hitter Francisco Cabrera hits a line drive to left, scoring David Justice from third. Sid Bream ambles from second and slides under the tag of catcher Mike LaValliere for the win. Atlanta faces Toronto in the World Series, losing in six games.

Sid Bream, prone on the ground, gets mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sid Bream, prone on the ground, gets mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Credit: FRANK NIEMEIR

Credit: FRANK NIEMEIR

Thursday, Oct. 17, 1996: Atlanta starts off scoring six runs in the first en route to a 15-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the deciding game. Tom Glavine pitched seven scoreless innings for the win. Atlanta advances to face the New York Yankees, who win the World Series, 4-2.

That was the good. Now here’s the bad and the ugly:

• The Braves are now 4-3 (.571) in seven Game 7s of a playoff round. The last win coming in 1996.

• Prior to this postseason, Atlanta had gone 0-7 in clinch games since 2001. They lost Game 5 of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 NLDS, the 2012 NL Wild Card Game, and Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS last season. The Braves are now 2-10 in their last 12 clinch games.

• The Braves are 4-8 (.333) in 12 winner take-all games in franchise history.

• This was the Braves’ first meeting with the Dodgers in an NLCS. They had met three times previously in the postseason in the Division Series. Atlanta swept Los Angeles in 1996, while Los Angeles has won each of the last two series, in 2013 and 2018, 3-1.

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• Atlanta had a 3-1 lead in a playoff series for the fifth time in franchise history. The Braves had such a lead in the 1958 World Series, 1992 NLCS, 1995 World Series and 1999 NLCS. They would win three of those four series.

The Dodgers had never come back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 prior to this series.