10 biggest single-game comebacks in MLB history


Cubs World Series 2016
“The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series.” flickr photo by apardavila https://flickr.com/photos/apardavila/30630040172 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

For fans, is there anything better than remembering one of the best MLB comebacks in baseball history?

Of course, there are fans on the other side who have nightmares over epic collapses. That got us thinking about the biggest baseball comeback ever and some of the craziest MLB comebacks in the more than century-long history of professional baseball.

Best MLB comebacks

We dug through the history books to find the biggest MLB comebacks of all time. These are the games where one team looked dead in the water but came back to life with an improbable victory. We also gave bonus points if it happened in the postseason when the stakes were high. But whether it’s the regular season or the postseason, good comebacks happen a lot in baseball because it’s such an unpredictable game. But these are the 10 greatest MLB comebacks we’ve ever seen.

10. Royals over Astros, 4 runs (2015 ALDS)

In 2015, the Royals proved just how thin the line can be between winning a championship and not coming close. They trailed Houston 2-1 in the ALDS and were down 6-2 after the Astros scored three runs in the bottom of the 7th.

But with five straight singles and then a costly throwing error, Kansas City tied the game. The Royals would take the lead 7-6 by the end of the inning and then get a two-run homer from Eric Hosmer to tack onto the lead, winning the game 9-6 to force a decisive Game 5.

Of course, the Royals won Game 5 and eventually won the World Series but needed a late comeback in the ALDS to make it happen.

9. Cubs over Giants, 3 runs (2016 NLDS)

While a three-run deficit doesn’t seem like a massive comeback, it’s a big deal when it’s the postseason and you’re three outs away from a loss. That was the situation in Game 4 of the NLDS. While the Cubs led the series 2-1, they trailed 5-2 heading into the top of the 9th.

The middle of the order did its job, as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo singled, followed by a Ben Zobrist double. That set up pinch-hitter Willson Contreras to hit the game-tying single. A couple of batters later, Javier Baez singled to give the Cubs a lead. Aroldis Chapman sealed the comeback by striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th, giving the Cubs the game and the series while on their way to ending their long championship drought.


8. Tigers over White Sox, 12 runs (1911)

Comebacks were a common occurrence in Detroit in 1911, as the Tigers had 42 comeback victories that season. But no comeback was greater than erasing a 13-1 against the White Sox. With four runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth inning, Detroit’s comeback began, although the White Sox kept scoring themselves, making it 15-8.

But the Tigers kept going, scoring five runs in the 8th and three more in the 9th. Chicago’s downfall came on a throwing error in the 9th after Ty Cobb hustled on an infield single, allowing the tying runs to score. Sam Crawford then doubled to bring home Cobb with the winning run in a 16-15 win.

7. Red Sox over Rays, 7 runs (2008 ALCS)

The Red Sox were facing elimination down 3-1 in the series and down 7-0 after the Rays scored two runs in the top of the 7th. But the Fenway faithful didn’t give up, as the Red Sox immediately responded with four runs in the bottom of the 7th thanks to a three-run homer from David Ortiz.

A J.D. Drew homer highlighted a three-run eighth inning to tie the game in the 8th. Drew then delivered the walk-off single in the 9th to give the Red Sox an 8-7 win. Alas, they eventually lost the series in seven games.

6. Yankees over Braves, 6 runs (1996 World Series)

Despite winning Game 3 of the World Series, the Yankees were in danger of trailing the series 3-1 after falling behind Atlanta 6-0 after five innings in Game 4.

However, they pulled off one of the best MLB comebacks ever seen in a World Series. The Yankees made things interesting with three runs in the 6th inning and then tied the game with a home run from Jim Leyritz in the top of the 8th.

That helped push the game to extra innings. But the Yankees got two more runs in the 10th inning off a bases-loaded walk and a misplayed fly ball for an 8-6 win. That tied the series with the Yankees winning the next two games to win the World Series in six games.

5. Phillies over Dodgers,10 runs (1990)

At one point in this game, the Phillies literally had a 0.01% chance of winning. The Dodgers scored eight runs in the fifth inning to take a commanding 11-1 lead in the type of game where players just go through the motions in the late innings.

Los Angeles retained that commanding lead into the 8th inning before the Phillies started to come back. But it was still 11-3 heading into the final inning with the Philly lineup getting hot. Of course, the Dodgers committed two errors to help things along.

Eventually, John Kruk delivered a three-run home run to tie the game with Carmelo Martinez hitting a double to bring home the go-ahead run in a 12-11 Philadelphia win. It was the first time since 1934 that a team won after trailing by at least eight runs heading into the 9th inning, making this one of the best MLB comebacks in modern times.

4. Tigers over Brewers, 9 runs (1901)

Not only was this one of the best MLB comebacks ever but it also came on a historic day. The Tigers drew an overflow crowd for the first game ever in the newly-formed American League. Of course, that crowd had dissipated substantially by the time the Tigers came to bat in the 9th inning trailing by nine runs against the Brewers (technically, today’s Orioles franchise).

The Tigers wasted no time in starting their 9th-inning comeback, scoring five runs before the Brewers got their first out. Milwaukee still led 13-10 when they got the second out, but then an error by third baseman Jimmy Burke allowed the inning to continue. That helped to set up Pop Dillon for his second double of the inning, driving in the final two runs to win 14-13 after starting the inning down by nine runs.

3. Cleveland over Mariners, 12 runs (2001)

The 2001 Mariners won 116 games, but it could have been one more if not for one of the greatest MLB comebacks ever. By the bottom of the seventh, Cleveland trailed 14-2 and had already removed four starters from the lineup, more or less conceding defeat.

But the home team scored three runs in the 7th, four in the 8th, and five in the 9th, getting a homer in the 7th from Russell Branyan and two homers in the 8th from Jim Thome and Marty Cordova. But that was only enough to tie the game. In the bottom of the 11th, Jolbert Cabrera hit a broken-bat single to score Kenny Lofton, giving Cleveland a 15-14 win following a 12-run comeback.

2. Athletics over Cleveland, 12 runs (1925)

Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the A’s were down 15-3 and the game seemed all but over. Philly only added one run in the bottom of the 7th but then exploded for 13 runs in the 8th.

After a Jimmy Dykes triple brought home three runs, nine of the next 10 batters reached on seven singles and two walks. Al Simmons also contributed a three-run homer to help the A’s go-ahead 17-15, overcoming a 12-run deficit without even batting in the bottom of the 9th.

1. Athletics over Cubs, 8 runs (1929 World Series)

In Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, the Philadelphia A’s produced the greatest comeback ever seen in a World Series.

In the middle of the 7th, they had a 0.5% chance of winning while trailing the Cubs 8-0. But that was before the A’s had 15 batters come to the plate in the bottom of the 7th with 10 of them crossing the plate to take a lead.

The rally included an inside-the-park home run by Mule Haas. The A’s won the Game 10-8 and clinched the series one game later.





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“The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series.” flickr photo by apardavila https://flickr.com/photos/apardavila/30630040172 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license For fans, is there anything better than remembering one of the best MLB comebacks in baseball history? Of course, there are fans on the other side who have nightmares over epic collapses. That got…