Back on Aug. 5, 2001, the Cleveland Indians were down 14-2 to the Mariners entering the bottom of the seventh inning, and many of the fans headed out into the warm Seattle night.

Bad idea.

The Indians put on an impressive display of resilience and determination, scoring seven runs in the seventh inning, four runs in the eighth inning, and one run in the ninth to tie the game at 14-14. Jolbert Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 11th inning, bringing in the winning run and sealing a remarkable comeback victory for the Indians with a final score of 15-14.

It was the biggest comeback in Major League Baseball history and is often referred to as the “Mother’s Day Miracle.” But it was not a postseason game, it was merely one of 162 in a long slog of a regular season.

Improbable comebacks in the postseason are another matter, and we have some shockers to tell you about.

How many teams make the MLB playoffs?

There are three division winners and three wild-card teams from each league, making for 12 playoff teams that compete in three rounds of playoffs. The teams with the top two records in both the American and National Leagues receive byes in the first round.

Has there ever been a 3-0 series comeback in MLB playoffs?

Just once. In the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Boston Red Sox trailed in the ninth inning in Game 4 before tying the game and eventually winning in the 12th inning. Boston then went on to break the “Curse of the Bambino” with its first World Series win since 1918.

What is the biggest ninth-inning comeback in MLB playoff history?

The Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, and Mets all are tied for the biggest ninth-inning comebacks in postseason history. Each of these teams won a game they had trailed by three runs in the final frame.

Ranking the Top 10 Biggest Comebacks in MLB Playoff History

  1. New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers – Oct. 15, 2010

Playoff Round/Game: American League Championship Series Game 1
Biggest Deficit: Rangers 5, Yankees 0
Final Score: Yankees 6, Rangers 5 

In Game 1 of this series, the Yankees trailed 5-0 after four innings as ace starter C.C. Sabathia had a shaky start, and the score remained that way through six innings. After a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the seventh, Alex Rodriguez had a two-RBI single, Cano tied the game with a single, and Marcus Thames made it 6-5 with an RBI single. Mariano Rivera secured the save, the 42nd and last of his postseason career.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Oct. 3, 2014

Playoff Round/Game: National League Division Series Game 1
Biggest Deficit: Dodgers 6, Cardinals 1
Final Score: Cardinals 10, Dodgers 9

In Game 1 of this series, the Dodgers roughed up St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright early and led 6-1 after five innings. But in the seventh inning, Clayton Kershaw allowed four straight singles, got one out, then allowed an RBI single and a three-run double by Matt Carpenter that put the Cardinals ahead 7-6. Two batters later, Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer to make it 10-6 as St. Louis scored eight runs in the inning.

  1. Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Oct. 9, 2005

Playoff Round/Game: National League Division Series Game 4
Biggest Deficit:
Braves 6, Astros 1
Final Score: Astros 7, Braves 6 (18 innings)

In Game 4 of this divisional series, it was 6-1 in favor of Atlanta after the top of the eighth, but the game was nowhere near done. In the bottom of the eighth, a grand slam by Lance Berkman made it 6-5, and a homer by Brad Ausmus with two outs in the bottom of the ninth tied it. The game ended up going 18 innings, with Roger Clemens getting the victory with three innings of relief. Chris Burke won it with a walk-off home run.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics – Oct. 11, 1992

Playoff Round/Game: American League Championship Series Game 4
Biggest Deficit: Athletics 6, Blue Jays 1
Final Score: Blues Jays 7, Athletics 6 (11 innings)

In Game 4 of this series, the A’s led 6-1 heading into the eighth inning, and Oakland skipper Tony La Russa inexplicably pulled starter Bob Welch. The Blue Jays rallied for three runs, two of them off closer Dennis Eckersley, who then surrendered a two-run homer to Roberto Alomar in the ninth to tie the game. Toronto went on to win it in the 11th inning on a sacrifice fly and took a 3-1 series lead on the road.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Oct. 20, 1993

Playoff Round/Game: World Series Game 4
Biggest Deficit: Phillies 14, Blue Jays 9
Final Score: Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14

In a crazy game played on soaking wet artificial turf after a day of rain, Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give Philly a 14-9 lead that they took into the eighth inning. In the top of the eighth, Toronto got two walks and five hits, the last of which was a two-run triple by Devon White for a 15-14 lead. Three World Series records were set, including the longest game (4 hours, 14 minutes), most total runs scored in a single game (29), and most runs scored by a losing team (14).

  1. New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves – Oct. 23, 1996

Playoff Round/Game: World Series Game 4
Biggest Deficit: Braves 6, Yankees 0
Final Score: Yankees 8, Braves 6 (10 innings)

A Game 1 rainout had forced the Yankees to go to a four-man rotation. The Game 4 starter was Kenny Rogers, who had been struggling in the postseason. He was tagged for five runs in less than three innings, as the Yankees trailed 6-0 and had only two hits through five innings. New York rallied for three runs in the sixth and got a three-run homer from Jim Leyritz in the eighth to tie the game. The Yankees went on to win it by scoring two runs in the 10th on a bases-loaded walk to Wade Boggs and a pop-up that was lost in the lights by Ryan Klesko, allowing a second run to score.

  1. Brooklyn Dodgers vs. New York Yankees – Oct. 5, 1956

Playoff Round/Game: World Series Game 2
Biggest Deficit: Yankees 6, Dodgers 0
Final Score: Dodgers 13, Yankees 8

In Game 2 of this Subway Series, Dodgers starter Don Newcombe lasted only two innings and left with his team trailing 6-0 after he allowed a grand slam to Yogi Berra. However, Brooklyn came back to score six runs in the bottom of the second, a single run in the third, and two runs in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings of a game that ended 13-8 to tie the series. Brooklyn pitcher Don Bessent pitched seven innings of relief for the win.

  1. Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Oct. 16, 2008

Playoff Round/Game: American League Championship Series Game 5
Biggest Deficit:
Rays 7, Red Sox 0
Final Score:
Red Sox 8, Rays 7

In Game 5 of this series, the Rays led 7-0 at Fenway Park heading into the bottom of the seventh inning and looked ready to close out the series after entering the game with a 3-1 lead. But Boston’s David Ortiz ended a postseason home run drought at 61 at-bats with a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, and J.D. Drew had a two-run homer followed by Coco Crisp’s game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the eighth. In the ninth, a two-out throwing error allowed Boston’s Kevin Youkilis to reach base, and Drew singled over the head of right-fielder Gabe Gross to win the game.

  1. Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Oct. 8, 2022

Playoff Round/Game: American League Wild-Card Series Game 2
Biggest Deficit: Blue Jays 8, Mariners 1
Final Score: Mariners 10, Blue Jays 9

The two rivals (only because they entered the American League as expansion teams at the same time) played a wild one in which the Blue Jays led 8-1 after five innings and 9-5 after seven. Seattle rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie it at 9-9 when George Springer and Bo Bichette collided on a bloop, bases-clearing double by J.P Crawford. Springer had to be carted off the field. Adam Frazier drove in the winning run in the top of the ninth, and Seattle won the series 2-0.

  1. Philadelphia Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox – Oct. 12, 1929

Playoff Round/Game: World Series Game 4
Biggest Deficit:
Cubs 8, Athletics 0
Final Score:
Athletics 10, Cubs 8.

This is the only eight-run comeback in baseball’s postseason history. Philadelphia manager Connie Mack would only start right-handed pitchers in this series, and the White Sox roughed up 46-year-old Jack Quinn for two runs in the fourth inning and five in the sixth inning for a 7-0 lead in Game 4. It was 8-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh before the Athletics staged what became known as the “Mack Attack” – a 10-run inning. Cubs center fielder Hack Wilson lost a ball in the sun, allowing Mule Haas to have a three-run, inside-the-park homer that pulled the A’s within 8-7. It was the last inside-the-park homer until Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Two days later in Game 5, Philadelphia won its first title in 16 years.

Parameters of Rankings

The numbers tell the story here, with a bunch of five-run rallies, a pair of six- and seven-run rallies and the biggest postseason rally in Major League Baseball history happening on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 12, 1929, at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.

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