Special to ESPN.com
CARDINALS COMEBACK IS NATIONAL NIGHTMARE
From Elias: The Cardinals rallied from a 6-0 deficit to defeat the Nationals, 9-7, and win their playoff series. They were the fifth team in major-league history to win a postseason game after trailing by at least six runs, joining the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics (World Series vs. Cubs), 1956 Dodgers (World Series vs. Yankees), 1996 Yankees (World Series vs. Braves) and 2008 Red Sox (LCS vs. Rays).
But no team had ever before overcome a deficit of five or more runs to capture a winner-take-all postseason game. The previous largest comeback victory in such a game was four runs, by the Pirates in Game Seven of the 1925 World Series against the Senators, and the 2003 Yankees in Game Seven of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.
The Cardinals, who trailed 7-5 after eight innings, became the second team to win a winner-take-all game in which they were behind by two or more runs in the ninth inning or later. The other was the 1992 Braves, who scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Pirates in Game Seven of the NLCS, 3-2.
From Elias: The Cardinals have now won the last six postseason games in which a loss would have eliminated them, tying a major-league record: Games Four and Five of their Division Series against the Phillies last year, Games Six and Seven of the World Series over the Rangers, last week's Wild Card Playoff in Atlanta and Friday night's historic comeback versus the Nationals.
The other teams to win six consecutive "do or die" postseason games were the Tigers (1945-1972), Royals (all in 1985) and Twins (1987-2002).
From Elias: Pete Kozma, whose two-run single in the ninth inning provided the margin of victory, was the first rookie in 88 years to produce the game-winning RBI in a winner-take-all playoff matchup. The Washington Senators won the 1924 World Series when rookie Earl McNeely hit a walk-off-double in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game Seven against the Giants.
From Elias: Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, Bryce Harper followed with a triple and then Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals. Only one other team in major-league history began a postseason game with three (or more) consecutive extra-base hits. The Mets did that in Game Four of the 2000 NLCS against the Cardinals, with four straight doubles (hit by Timo Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura).
SABATHIA AND VERLANDER WIN OPENERS AND CLINCHERS
From Elias: The Yankees edged the Orioles three-games-to-two in their Division Series with CC Sabathia recording the victory for New York in Games One and Five. The Yankees move on to the American League Championship Series where they will face the Tigers, who won their Division Series against the Oakland A's in five games with Justin Verlander winning the first and last games.
Before this year, only six major-league pitchers won Games One and Five of a best-of-five postseason series: Steve Rogers (1981 Expos), Curt Schilling (2001 Diamondbacks), Russ Ortiz (2002 Giants), Brad Radke (2002 Twins), Kerry Wood (2003 Cubs) and Cliff Lee (2010 Rangers).
CC GOES THE DISTANCE
From Elias: CC Sabathia went the distance in the 3-1 win. He's only the third pitcher in Yankees history to record a complete-game victory in a winner-take-all postseason game. The other Yankees to do that were Johnny Kucks in Game Seven of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field and Ralph Terry in Game Seven of the 1962 World Series versus the Giants at Candlestick Park. Kucks and Terry each pitched a shutout in their decisive-game wins.
YANKEES BATTING AVERAGE IS LOWEST IN SERIES WIN SINCE 1962
From Elias: The Yankees' .211 team batting average in the ALDS versus the Orioles was their lowest in a victorious postseason series in exactly 50 years -- since they won the 1962 World Series in seven games versus the Giants, despite a .199 batting average from Mantle, Maris and company.
BALTIMORE BATS SILENCED
From Elias: The Orioles became the third team in major-league history to score three or fewer runs in every game of a playoff series of at least five games. The others were the Reds in the 1973 League Championship Series and the 1981 Astros in the NL West Division Playoff.
BUCK STOPS BEFORE LCS
From Elias: Buck Showalter has managed in three Division Series, with three different teams (the 1995 Yankees, 1999 Diamondbacks and 2012 Orioles), and his team lost each one of those series. Showalter's career total of 2097 games managed during the regular season is the third-highest among managers who debuted during the divisional-play era (1969 to date) and have never brought a team to a League Championship Series. The higher totals belong to Art Howe (2266 games) and Frank Robinson (2241).