First Francisco Cabrera, then Damon Berryhill. One catcher put the Braves into the World Series, another gave them a victory in Game 1. Berryhill hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning, and Atlanta starter Tom Glavine did the rest. Glavine pitched a four-hitter, giving up his only run on Joe Carter's home run.
Toronto's starter, Jack Morris, was the guy with the big postseason reputation, and he was living up to it -- cruising along with a one-hitter -- until the sixth. In fact, until Berryhill nailed a forkball that didn't fork, Morris had thrown 18 consecutive shutout innings against the Braves, dating to last year's Series, when he was with the Twins.
Glavine also had a postseason reputation -- it just wasn't a good one. Though he's won 20 games for two seasons in a row, Glavine was coming off a playoff outing in which he'd yielded eight runs in the second inning.
"It's just a matter of relaxing and letting things happen instead of trying to force things," Glavine said.
Toronto 000 100 000 -- 1 4 0
Atlanta 000 003 00x -- 3 4 0
Game 2: Blue Jays 5, Braves 4
First Francisco Cabrera, then Damon Berryhill, then Ed Sprague. The Blue Jays' Sprague joined the list of postseason catcher heroes with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning.
The Braves had closer Jeff Reardon -- the major leagues' all-time saves leader -- to protect a 4-3 lead. Reardon struck out Kelly Gruber to end the Blue Jays' eighth, and retired Pat Borders to start the ninth. Then Reardon was unable to close. Rookie Derek Bell worked a walk before Sprague, son of Orioles scout Ed Sprague, hit a line drive into the left-field bleachers.
"I struck out in the ninth inning against Dennis Eckersley in the playoffs because I was too anxious," Sprague said. "I think that at-bat helped me tonight."
Braves starter John Smoltz had outpitched the Blue Jays' David Cone. Smoltz went 7 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits, three runs and striking out eight. Cone lasted 4 1/3 , allowing four runs, five hits and five walks. Cone made a bigger contribution with his hitting -- he was 2-for-2 with an RBI.
The Braves had gone to their running game, putting Deion Sanders -- whose biggest splash of the postseason had been in dousing CBS announcer Tim McCarver during the National League pennant celebration -- into the lineup, hoping to capitalize on Cone's inability to hold runners. It worked -- Atlanta stole four bases in the first five innings.
If the Blue Jays hadn't won, they might have started a movement to get instant replay into baseball. Toronto lost an apparent run in the fourth, when Roberto Alomar seemed to slide under Smoltz's tag at the plate after a wild pitch, but was called out.
And if Toronto fans didn't think that the umpires were against them, the pre-game ceremonies might have convinced them that the U.S. Marines were. A Marine color guard accidentally presented the Canadian flag upside down.
Toronto 000 020 012 -- 5 9 2
Atlanta 010 120 000 -- 4 5 1
Game 3: Blue Jays 3, Braves 2
Cito Gaston, psychic. The Blue Jays made their manager appear prescient in Game 3.
Before the game, Gaston had said he was sticking with Kelly Gruber -- whose postseason slump would reach a record 0-for-23 in this game -- because "maybe tonight he'll break out of it." Gruber hit a game-tying home run in the eighth.
During the early stages of the Blue Jays' rally in the bottom of the ninth -- when Toronto had one man on with no outs -- Gaston told Candy Maldonado he was going to come through. Maldonado said: "Cito came up to me tonight and said, 'You've got a chance to be the hero of the game.' " Maldonado hit a one-out, bases-loaded single to center to break a 2-2 tie and win Game 3.
The play of the game was made by Blue Jays center fielder Devon White, who raced to the fence for a leaping catch to rob David Justice of an extra-base hit. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks called the catch "right up there with Willie Mays, Duke Snider, all of them."
The catch almost resulted in a triple play. It probably should have resulted in a triple play. Terry Pendleton, acting on the assumption that there was no way White would flag down the ball, passed Deion Sanders on the bases for the second out. But the Blue Jays unnecessarily threw to first base to get Pendleton. This lured Sanders off second base and into a rundown. Gruber chased Sanders back to second and dived at him, seeming to tag Sanders on the foot before he got to the base. But the umpire -- who later admitted his mistake -- ruled that Gruber had missed Sanders.
Atlanta 000 001 010 -- 2 9 0
Toronto 000 100 011 -- 3 8 1
Game 4: Blue Jays 2, Braves 1
Jimmy Key gave himself a little going-away present in Game 4. Actually, it wasn't so little.
Key, who likely is headed for free agency and another team, pitched 7 2/3 strong innings for the Blue Jays, stopping the Braves on one run and five hits.
"I didn't think about it [that it might be his last game for the Blue Jays] while I was out there," Key said. "But I did, for some reason, when I walked off the mound. I really thought about it. That's why I waved my hat to the crowd. I don't usually do that."
After a one-game break, a catcher got a big hit again: Toronto's Pat Borders homered in the third for the game's first run. Devon White had shown everyone his glove in Game 3; in Game 4, he showed off his bat. White went 3-for-4 and drove in the winning run with a single to left that sent Kelly Gruber belly-flopping across the plate.
Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud didn't run or jump like White in Game 3, but he was in the right spot to make Game 4's most important defensive play. Crowding the line, Olerud dived to his left to smother Jeff Blauser's hard grounder for the last out in the eighth. With Braves on second and third, Olerud saved two runs on the play.
Atlanta 000 000 010 -- 1 5 0
Toronto 001 000 10x -- 2 6 0
Game 5: Braves 7, Blue Jays 2
Call it the revenge of Lonnie Smith.
Smith, whose crucial base-running mistake probably cost the Braves the world championship last season, hit a fifth-inning grand slam off Jack Morris to send the Series back to Atlanta.
"It was a tough at-bat," Smith said. "It was a fastball. I've always had trouble pulling Jack. I got a ball out over the plate, so I tried to go with it."
Smith sliced the ball over the 375-foot sign in right field and turned what had been a one-run game into an easy victory for the Braves.
And talk about role reversals, how about Morris? The 1991 Series MVP was hammered for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. Morris finished the 1992 postseason with an 0-3 record and a 7.43 ERA.
John Smoltz pitched a solid six innings, giving up two runs on five hits to earn his fifth career postseason victory without a defeat.
Atlanta 100 150 000 -- 7 13 0
Toronto 010 100 000 -- 2 6 0
Game 6: Blue Jays 4, Braves 3
Will anyone call Dave Winfield Mr. May again? Winfield, 41, delivered the game-winning hit, a two-out, two-run double in the 11th.
Afterward, in the midst of the bubbling Blue Jays clubhouse, Winfield said: "I tell you, I'm the oldest man in the room and the guy who took the longest to get a World Series championship, but there's not a person that's happier than me."
Jeff Reardon was warming up for the Braves, but manager Bobby Cox stayed with Charlie Liebrandt.
"He gave up a ground ball," Cox said of Winfield's hit down the third-base line. "You can't fault him for giving up a ground-ball base hit."
The Braves were almost finished in the ninth, but, down to their last strike, Otis Nixon singled in a run to make it 2-2. In the 11th, it came down to Nixon again, with a runner on third and two outs. Nixon bunted toward the right side, but Mike Timlin fielded the ball and threw out Nixon, setting off the celebration.
Toronto 100 100 000 02 -- 4 14 1
Atlanta 001 000 001 01 -- 3 8 1