1995 National League Division Series
The 1995 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1995 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Saturday, October 7, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. As a result of both leagues realigning into three divisions in 1994, it marked the first time in major league history that a team could qualify for postseason play without finishing in first place in its league or division. The teams were:
- (1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 90–54) vs. (4) Colorado Rockies (Wild Card, 77–67): Braves win series, 3–1.
- (2) Cincinnati Reds (Central Division champion, 85–59) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 78–66): Reds win series, 3–0.
The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field "advantage" was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. Had the 1995 NLDS been played under the post-1997 arrangement, then Atlanta (1) would've still played against Colorado (4) and Cincinnati (2) would have likewise still faced Los Angeles (3).
The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Braves became the National League champion, and defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series.
Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies
Atlanta won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 3||Atlanta Braves – 5, Colorado Rockies – 4||Coors Field||3:19||50,040|
|2||October 4||Atlanta Braves – 7, Colorado Rockies – 4||Coors Field||3:08||50,063|
|3||October 6||Colorado Rockies – 7, Atlanta Braves – 5 (10 innings)||Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium||3:16||51,300|
|4||October 7||Colorado Rockies – 4, Atlanta Braves – 10||Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium||2:38||50,027|
Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 3||Cincinnati Reds – 7, Los Angeles Dodgers – 2||Dodger Stadium||3:15||44,199|
|2||October 4||Cincinnati Reds – 5, Los Angeles Dodgers – 4||Dodger Stadium||3:21||46,051|
|3||October 6||Los Angeles Dodgers – 1, Cincinnati Reds – 10||Riverfront Stadium||3:27||53,276|
Atlanta vs. Colorado
Game 1, October 3
| WP: Alejandro Peña (1–0) LP: Curt Leskanic (0–1) Sv: Mark Wohlers (1)|
ATL: Marquis Grissom (1), Chipper Jones 2 (2)
COL: Vinny Castilla (1)
Game 1 was a match-up between aces: Greg Maddux for the Atlanta Braves and Kevin Ritz for the Colorado Rockies. Ritz and Maddux worked their way out of minor trouble early on, but, in the top of the third, Marquis Grissom broke the scoreless tie with a solo shot to make it 1–0. However, the Rockies soon answered in the bottom of the fourth. After Maddux got Dante Bichette to ground out, he walked Larry Walker. Then a single by Andrés Galarraga moved Walker to third. Ellis Burks's sac fly brought Walker home. The next batter, Vinny Castilla, would hit a two-run homer to give Colorado its first lead of the night. But the Braves weren't about to give in to the 3–1 deficit. In the top of the sixth, Chipper Jones led off with a solo home run to make it a one-run game. David Justice then walked just before a single by Ryan Klesko. An error during the play by Burks moved Justice to third. Luis Polonia would then reach on a fielder's choice, bringing Justice home to tie the game. The Braves would load the bases, but Maddux struck out to end the inning. In the top of the eighth, Mike Munoz took the mound for Colorado. He got two quick outs, but surrendered a single to Klesko. Darren Holmes came in to try to end the inning, but then gave up a single to Javy López. Dwight Smith followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to center to give the Braves a 4–3 lead. With time running out, the Rockies staged a rally in the bottom half of the inning. Bichette walked, then moved to third on a single by Walker and an error by Justice on the play. Galarraga would then reach on a fielder's choice (on a diving stop by Chipper Jones robbing the Big Cat of extra bases), with Walker out at second. Alejandro Peña came on to face Burks with one out. Burks would double to tie the game at four apiece, but Pena got the next two outs. Curt Leskanic came on in the top of the ninth to preserve the tie. He got two outs, but gave up a solo home run to Chipper Jones. The Braves now had a 5–4 lead, but the Rockies were able to rally in the bottom half. With one out, Mike Kingery singled and was followed by another single by Bichette. Walker was then walked, loading the bases with only one out. That put the winning run in scoring position. Wohlers, however, was able to get Galarraga and pitcher Lance Painter (Rockies skipper Don Baylor had run out of position players in his first postseason game as manager) to strike out to end the game and give the Braves a well-earned victory.
Game 2, October 4
| WP: Alejandro Peña (2–0) LP: Mike Munoz (0–1) Sv: Mark Wohlers (2)|
ATL: Marquis Grissom 2 (3)
COL: Larry Walker (1)
Game 2 matched Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine against the man who made the final out in Game 1, Lance Painter. Marquis Grissom gave the Braves an early lead with a lead off home run in the top of the first. Glavine then held the Rockies to one hit in the first two innings. In the top of the third, the Braves struck again when Mark Lemke singled and Chipper Jones had a bunt single. After Fred McGriff struck out, David Justice walked to load the bases with only one out. Javy López's sac fly made it 2–0, but the Braves could muster no more runs as Ryan Klesko struck out to end the inning. In the top of the fourth, Grissom again went deep with two outs to make it 3–0 Braves. All was silent until the bottom of the sixth. With one man out, Ellis Burks reached on an error by Jeff Blauser. Dante Bichette then singled to center to put runners on the corners. Then, Larry Walker brought the Rockies back into the game with a mammoth three-run home run to tie the game at three. In the bottom of the eighth, the Rockies took the lead when Andrés Galarraga drove home Bichette with a double after Bichette had reached with a double of his own. The Rockies were now three outs away from tying the series at one game apiece, but the Braves would not give in. Jones doubled to left to lead off the top of the 9th, then came home on a single by McGriff to tie the game. With two outs now, Mike Devereaux singled, then Mike Mordecai followed with another single that drove home McGriff to give the Braves the lead. An error by Eric Young allowed two more runs to score to give the Braves a convincing 7–4 ninth inning lead. Mark Wohlers saved the game in the bottom half to give the Braves a two-games-to-none lead going home.
Game 3, October 6
| WP: Darren Holmes (1–0) LP: Mark Wohlers (0–1) Sv: Mark Thompson (1)|
COL: Eric Young (1), Vinny Castilla (2)
The potential clincher pitted Bill Swift against John Smoltz. A wild pitch by Smoltz allowed Eric Young to score to make it 1–0 Rockies. Then Young made it 3–0 when he homered with one man on in the third. But the Braves put together three runs in the fourth thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Klesko and a two-run single by Javy López. During the final play of the inning, Jeff Blauser struck out and sprained his ankle in doing so, putting him on the bench for the rest of the postseason. The Rockies quickly responded with a two-run homer by Vinny Castilla in the sixth. But the Braves would chip away at the score in the seventh when Mike Mordecai doubled home Klesko. Then in the ninth, with the Rockies leading 5–4, the Braves would tie the game thanks to a two-out, pinch hit RBI single by Luis Polonia. With Mark Wohlers on the mound in the tenth, the Rockies would put together back-to-back RBI singles to make it 7–5. Mark Thompson got the Rockies their first ever postseason win.
Game 4, October 7
| WP: Greg Maddux (1–0) LP: Bret Saberhagen (0–1)|
COL: Dante Bichette (1), Vinny Castilla (3)
ATL: Fred McGriff 2 (2)
Greg Maddux was matched against Bret Saberhagen, who was hoping to keep Colorado's momentum intact. The game was scoreless into the third when Dante Bichette launched a three-run homer with one out in the top of the third. It silenced the crowd, hoping to see their Braves finally win it all for the first time in four tries. But the Braves would respond in the bottom of the third. A two-out, two-run double by Chipper Jones made it a one-run game. Then Fred McGriff homered to give the Braves the lead for good. An error by Eric Young made it 5–3 on a fielder's choice by Rafael Belliard in the bottom of the fourth. Then Ryan Klesko doubled Belliard home to make it 6–3. A barrage of singles and doubles made the final score 10–4 and the Braves would advance to the 1995 National League Championship Series.
|Total attendance: 201,430 Average attendance: 50,358|
Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles
Game 1, October 3
| WP: Pete Schourek (1–0) LP: Ramón Martínez (0–1)|
CIN: Benito Santiago (1)
LAD: Mike Piazza (1)
Pete Schourek faced Ramón Martínez in Game 1. Back-to-back singles with one out got the rally started in the top of the first for the Reds. After Reggie Sanders popped out, Hal Morris struck the game's first blow by doubling home the two runners on base. Then Benito Santiago hit a two-run homer to make it 4–0 Reds. A four-run lead in the first was more than enough for Schourek. A sac fly and a double scored three more runs in the top of the fifth. The Dodgers were rendered helpless, getting two runs on a sac fly and a homer by Mike Piazza. The Reds would win Game 1, 7–2.
Game 2, October 4
| WP: Dave Burba (1–0) LP: Antonio Osuna (0–1) Sv: Jeff Brantley (1)|
CIN: Reggie Sanders (1)
LAD: Eric Karros 2 (2)
Former 20-game winner John Smiley faced Ismael Valdez in Game 2. Eric Karros, who would drive in all the Dodgers runs, got them on the board first with an RBI double in the first. Reggie Sanders brought the Reds back with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth, but Karros would immediately respond with a leadoff homer to tie the game at two. Raúl Mondesí would be ejected from the game in between innings in the eighth on his way to right field, when he badmouthed umpire Bob Davidson for a play at home in the seventh that went the Reds' way. In the eighth, the Reds took the lead on a Barry Larkin single that scored Mariano Duncan. A fielder's choice and an RBI single made it 5–2 Reds in the ninth. A leadoff single off Jeff Brantley gave the Dodgers life. With one out, Karros hit his second home run of the game to make it 5–4 and that gave him four RBIs for the day. However, Brantley got the next two men out to save Game 2 and give the Reds a two-game lead going to Cincinnati.
Game 3, October 6
| WP: David Wells (1–0) LP: Hideo Nomo (0–1)|
CIN: Ron Gant (1), Bret Boone (1), Mark Lewis (1)
Soon-to-be-named National League Rookie of the Year Hideo Nomo faced playoff-savvy David Wells. A two-run homer by Ron Gant got the scoring started for the Reds in the third. The Dodgers would cut the lead in half on an RBI single by Raúl Mondesí in the fourth. But the game and the series got away in a hurry. A Bret Boone homer in the bottom of the fourth made it 3–1. Then, in the sixth, Nomo began to lose his control, giving up two singles and a wild pitch. Then pinch hitter Mark Lewis came up with the bases loaded and socked a grand slam to make it 7–1 Reds. Ultimately, the Dodgers would change pitchers five times as the Reds clobbered the Dodgers in the third and final game 10–1. The Reds would advance to the 1995 National League Championship Series. As of 2015, this is the Reds' most recent playoff game victory at home, and the 1995 NLDS remains the most recent playoff round won by the Reds.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1||0||0||2||1||1||0||0||2||7||31||2|
|Total attendance: 143,526 Average attendance: 47,842|
- "1995 NLDS - Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Colorado Rockies vs. Atlanta Braves - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Colorado Rockies vs. Atlanta Braves - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.