- 1996 National League Championship Series
year = 1996
champion_games = 96-66, .593, GA: 8
St. Louis Cardinals(3)
Tony La Russa
runnerup_games = 88-74, .543, GA: 6
October 9– October 17
television = FOX
Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Bob Brenly
radio_network = CBS Radio
radio_announcers = Jim Hunter and
Paul Runge, Mark Hirschbeck, Bob Davidson , Joe West, Jerry Crawford, Ed Montague
St. Louis Cardinalsover San Diego Padres(3-0)
Atlanta Bravesover Los Angeles Dodgers(3-2)The by|1996 National League Championship Seriesmatched the Eastern Division champion Atlanta Bravesand the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves won in seven games, after a stunning comeback down 3 games to 1 in the series. They became only the eighth team in baseball history to win a best-of-7 postseason series after being down 3-1, and the first to overcome such a deficit in the NLCS. Also, Bobby Coxbecame the only manager to be on both the winning and losing end of such a comeback in postseason history, having previously blown the 1985 American League Championship Serieswith the Toronto Blue Jaysagainst the Kansas City Royals. The Braves came back in decisive fashion, outscoring the Cardinals 32-1 over the final three games of the series.
t. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
Atlanta wins the series, 4-3
October 9, 1996at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumin Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
John Smoltz(1-0)|LP= Mark Petkovsek(0-1)|SV= Mark Wohlers(1)|
Game 1 was played in Atlanta with 24-game winner
John Smoltzon the mound for the Braves. Brian Jordantripled and scored the first run of the series for St. Louis, but Mark Lemkesingled in two runs in the fifth. St. Louis tied the game in the seventh, but Atlanta catcher Javy Lópezgave Atlanta back the lead for good with a 2-run single in the bottom of the eighth. Mark Wohlersgot the save after Smoltz threw eight innings with two runs allowed. The Braves held on to a 4-2 victory and it seemed as if heavily-favored Atlanta would go to the World Series easily, having already swept the Los Angeles Dodgersin the Division Series.
October 10, 1996at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumin Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Todd Stottlemyre(1-0)|LP= Greg Maddux(0-1)|SV=
Gary Gaetti(1)|HomeHR= Marquis Grissom(1)|
The Braves sent
Greg Madduxto the hill looking to go up two games to none on St. Louis. The Cardinals had a 3-0 lead in the third inning, but a Marquis Grissomhome run made it 3-2. The Braves eventually tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth. In the seventh inning, a Chipper Joneserror helped the Cardinals score a run and load the bases on Maddux. With two outs, veteran Gary Gaettidrove a Maddux pitch over the fence for a grand slam. The tremendous and shocking blow left the score 8-3. Dennis Eckersleypitched the final 1 1/3 innings for St. Louis and the series was evened and shifting to St. Louis.
October 12, 1996at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Donovan Osborne(1-0)|LP= Tom Glavine(0-1)|SV= Dennis Eckersley(1)
Ron Gant2 (2)|
In Game 3 at Busch Stadium,
Ron Ganthad a big game against his former team, hitting two home runs off loser Tom Glavineand driving in all the runs scored in the game for St. Louis. Donovan Osborne pitched seven innings and only allowed two runs. Trailing 3-2, the Braves went quietly again in the ninth to Dennis Eckersleyas St. Louis took a series lead.
October 13, 1996at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Dennis Eckersley(1-0)|LP= Greg McMichael(0-1)|SV=
Mark Lemke(1), Ryan Klesko(1)|HomeHR= Brian Jordan(1)|
Needing the win to help stave off an upset, the Braves built a 3-0 lead with solo home runs by
Ryan Kleskoand Mark Lemkeas well as a two-out RBI single by Jermaine Dyein the sixth. Denny Neaglewas on the mound for Atlanta and looked sharp until the seventh. In that inning, the Cardinals rallied when the relatively unknown Dmitri Youngrocketed a pinch-hit triple that scored two runs and Royce Claytonsingled home the tying run. In the eighth, Brian Jordanhomered off of Braves reliever Greg McMichael. Down 4-3, the Braves again could not get to Dennis Eckersley, who pitched the final 1 1/3, striking out Terry Pendletonand Marquis Grissomto finish Atlanta. It was a gutwrenching loss for the Braves and after the game the Cardinals players were already celebrating, believing they had the series all but wrapped up.
October 14, 1996at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
John Smoltz(2-0)|LP= Todd Stottlemyre(1-1)|SV=
Fred McGriff(1), Javy López(1)|HomeHR=|
With their backs to the wall, the defending champion Braves struck back with a vengeance. Atlanta took Cardinals starter
Todd Stottlemyreout of the game early, building a 5-0 lead in the first inning, the big blows coming from a Chipper Jonesdouble and a Jeff Blausertriple. They tacked on two more runs in the second inning and the rout was on. Behind 24-game winner John Smoltzand an LCS record 22 hits, the Braves cruised to a 14-0 blowout of the Cardinals in Game 5. With Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumstill awaiting its demolition, the series shifted back to Atlanta, allowing at least one more game in the stadium.
October 16, 1996at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumin Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Greg Maddux(1-1)|LP= Alan Benes(0-1)|SV= Mark Wohlers(2)|
After his rattling defeat in Game 2,
Greg Madduxstepped up in Game 6 and outdueled Cardinals starter Alan Benesto keep Atlanta's comeback hopes alive. While Maddux mowed down the Cardinals, with some help from a great catch by center fielder Marquis Grissom, the Braves offense chipped away to take a 2-0 lead into the eighth. A Mark Wohlerswild pitch led to St. Louis' only run, but he pitched a perfect ninth to get the save and the series went to a Game 7.
October 17, 1996at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumin Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Tom Glavine(1-1)|LP= Donovan Osborne(1-1)|SV=
Fred McGriff(2), Javy López(2), Andruw Jones(1)|
With the momentum belonging to the superior Atlanta team, Game 7 was a blowout. The Braves offense had already roared to a 3-0 lead with two outs in the first when pitcher
Tom Glavinelined a triple past left fielder Ron Gant, who made an ill-advised dive for the ball. The triple cleared the bases, made it 6-0, and knocked starter Donovan Osborne out of the game. Javy López's two-run homer highlighted a four-run fourth inning as the lead went to 10-0. Fred McGriffand young Andruw Joneswould connect for home runs later in the game as the Braves embarrassed St. Louis 15-0. Tom Glavine, who pitched seven innings, combined with the bullpen for the shutout and the Braves, after a considerable scare, were headed back to the World Series.
1996 NLCS (4-3):
Atlanta Bravesover St. Louis CardinalsLinescore
St. Louis Cardinals
| Total Attendance: 375,202 Average Attendance: 53,600
Javy López was named the MVP for having a role in each Atlanta victory. In Game 1, he snapped a 2-2 tie with a 2-run homer; in Game 5, he hit a home run, two doubles, and scored four runs; in Game 6, he singled and scored after being hit by a pitch; and in Game 7, he went two for four with a double, a home run, three RBIs, and scored three runs. Overall, he batted .545 (13 for 24) with eight runs scored, five doubles, two home runs and six RBIs in the Championship Series.
Quotes of the Series
*cquote|"A ball and two strikes on Grissom...ballgame!" - Joe Buck, calling the final out in Game 4
*cquote|"The month of September showed the Atlanta Braves had feet of clay. That clay now may be starting to crack." - Joe Buck, after the Braves fell behind 3 games to 1.
*cquote|"If Maddux gets any help...watch out!" - Joe Buck describing Greg Maddux's superb pitching performance in Game 6.
*cquote|"Into left field...Gant can't get it, that will empty the bases! Six to nothing Atlanta!" - Joe Buck, calling Tom Glavine's triple in Game 7.
*cquote|"Here comes Atlanta, New York!" - Joe Buck, calling the final out in Game 7
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