When the NLCS rolled around, it marked the first playoff game for the Phillies franchise in ten seasons, and the first home playoff game since the 1983 World Series. Phillies fans showed up in droves that night, just as they did all season long during the 1993 campaign. The atmosphere in the seats was electric to say the least.
It is said that dominant players dominate in crucial games, and in game one of the '93 NLCS, Curt Schilling was dominant. The game began with Schill on the mound, guns ablaze as he struck out the first five batters he faced, setting a new NLCS record in the process. The Vet Stadium crowd got behind the team and didn't look back, during the first playoff game there in ten years.
Philadelphia would score first, in the opening frame off of a John Kruk groundout plating Mariano Duncan. The Braves would then even the score in the third inning, and this back and forth game was destined for extra innings.
Schilling would strike out ten hitters that evening in South Philly, but those Braves just wouldn't go away. With the Phillies were trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, Pete Incaviglia launched a 423-foot blast into the seats, tying the game. In the sixth inning, Kruk notched his first run of the night, and many figured the game was over. Not so fast.
With the Phillies up 3-2 in the top of the ninth, manager Jim Fregosi opted to pull third basemen Dave Hollins from the game, in favor of a defensive specialist. That specialist was Kim Batiste. Batiste's play made for one of the most dramatic finishes in playoff baseball history.
On the very first ball that was hit to Batiste, he fielded it and attempted to fire it to second, to turn the first leg of a double play. However, Batiste overthrew Mickey Morandini and the Braves went on to score the go-ahead run later in the ninth. The baseball gods were smiling on Batiste and the Phillies though, as Batiste would later have a shot at redemption.
In the bottom of the tenth, Batiste came to the plate and went from goat to hero with one miraculous swing. Batiste laced a line drive just inside the third base bag, which plated Kruk with the winning run and sent Kim to the shoulders of his teammates as they carried him as a hero, back into the clubhouse.
The amazing drama of game one of this series puts it at number two in our countdown. Check back tomorrow for our choice as the greatest game between the Phils and the Braves, at the Vet.