1996 National League Championship Series

1996 National League Championship Series

Infobox LCS

year = 1996
champion = Atlanta Braves (4)
champion_manager = Bobby Cox
champion_games = 96-66, .593, GA: 8
runnerup = St. Louis Cardinals (3)
runnerup_manager = Tony La Russa
runnerup_games = 88-74, .543, GA: 6
date = October 9October 17
MVP = Javy López (Atlanta)
television = FOX
announcers = Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Bob Brenly
radio_network = CBS Radio
radio_announcers = Jim Hunter and Jerry Coleman
umpires = Paul Runge, Mark Hirschbeck , Bob Davidson , Joe West , Jerry Crawford , Ed Montague
LDS1 = St. Louis Cardinals over San Diego Padres (3-0)
LDS2 = Atlanta Braves over Los Angeles Dodgers (3-2)
The by|1996 National League Championship Series matched the Eastern Division champion Atlanta Braves and 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 Cox became 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 Series with the Toronto Blue Jays against 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

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 9, 1996 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=John Smoltz (1-0)|LP=Mark Petkovsek (0-1)|SV=Mark Wohlers (1)|

Game 1 was played in Atlanta with 24-game winner John Smoltz on the mound for the Braves. Brian Jordan tripled and scored the first run of the series for St. Louis, but Mark Lemke singled in two runs in the fifth. St. Louis tied the game in the seventh, but Atlanta catcher Javy López gave Atlanta back the lead for good with a 2-run single in the bottom of the eighth. Mark Wohlers got 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 Dodgers in the Division Series.

Game 2

Thursday, October 10, 1996 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Todd Stottlemyre (1-0)|LP=Greg Maddux (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Gary Gaetti (1)|HomeHR=Marquis Grissom (1)|

The Braves sent Greg Maddux to 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 Grissom home run made it 3-2. The Braves eventually tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth. In the seventh inning, a Chipper Jones error helped the Cardinals score a run and load the bases on Maddux. With two outs, veteran Gary Gaetti drove a Maddux pitch over the fence for a grand slam. The tremendous and shocking blow left the score 8-3. Dennis Eckersley pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for St. Louis and the series was evened and shifting to St. Louis.

Game 3

Saturday, October 12, 1996 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Donovan Osborne (1-0)|LP=Tom Glavine (0-1)|SV=Dennis Eckersley (1)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Ron Gant 2 (2)|

In Game 3 at Busch Stadium, Ron Gant had a big game against his former team, hitting two home runs off loser Tom Glavine and 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 Eckersley as St. Louis took a series lead.

Game 4

Sunday, October 13, 1996 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Dennis Eckersley (1-0)|LP=Greg McMichael (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=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 Klesko and Mark Lemke as well as a two-out RBI single by Jermaine Dye in the sixth. Denny Neagle was on the mound for Atlanta and looked sharp until the seventh. In that inning, the Cardinals rallied when the relatively unknown Dmitri Young rocketed a pinch-hit triple that scored two runs and Royce Clayton singled home the tying run. In the eighth, Brian Jordan homered 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 Pendleton and Marquis Grissom to 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.

Game 5

Monday, October 14, 1996 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=John Smoltz (2-0)|LP=Todd Stottlemyre (1-1)|SV=
RoadHR=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 Stottlemyre out of the game early, building a 5-0 lead in the first inning, the big blows coming from a Chipper Jones double and a Jeff Blauser triple. They tacked on two more runs in the second inning and the rout was on. Behind 24-game winner John Smoltz and an LCS record 22 hits, the Braves cruised to a 14-0 blowout of the Cardinals in Game 5. With Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium still awaiting its demolition, the series shifted back to Atlanta, allowing at least one more game in the stadium.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 16, 1996 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Greg Maddux (1-1)|LP=Alan Benes (0-1)|SV=Mark Wohlers (2)|

After his rattling defeat in Game 2, Greg Maddux stepped up in Game 6 and outdueled Cardinals starter Alan Benes to 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 Wohlers wild 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.

Game 7

Thursday, October 17, 1996 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, GeorgiaLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Tom Glavine (1-1)|LP=Donovan Osborne (1-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=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 Glavine lined 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 McGriff and young Andruw Jones would 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.

Composite Box

1996 NLCS (4-3): Atlanta Braves over St. Louis CardinalsLinescore
Road=Atlanta Braves
Home=St. Louis Cardinals
H1=3|H2=1|H3=2|H4=0|H5=0|H6=1|H7=9|H8=2|H9=0|HR=18|HH=45|HE=5Total Attendance: 375,202 Average Attendance: 53,600|

eries MVP

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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