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1995 World Series Rewind: Braves fail to close out Indians in Game 5

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The Atlanta Braves had the opportunity to close things out in Cleveland, but were unable to slam the door in Game 5.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 1995 Atlanta Braves were supposed to close things out at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

At least that is one theory, as the Braves fell short in Game 5 of the 1995 World Series with the opportunity to raise the trophy in Cleveland. Atlanta entered the game on October 26, 1995 with a 3-1 lead in the series, and with Greg Maddux on the mound, the stars were aligned for the team's first championship.

However, the Indians were not done fighting, and that was on display with a first-inning home run from Albert Belle. That two-run blast placed the Braves in a hole that they would never fully emerge from, even with the fact that Atlanta tied the game at 2-2 after a home run from Luis Polonia (in the fourth) and an RBI single from Marquis Grissom against Orel Hershisher in the fifth.

From there, though, optimism quickly evaporated as Maddux was touched up for two additional runs in the sixth inning. Those runs were pushed across by back-to-back RBI singles from Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez (this Cleveland offense was insane), and after Maddux was removed from the game, Thome returned with a solo home run off Brad Clontz that gave the Indians some insurance and a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning.

The Braves would not go too quietly, as Ryan Klesko blasted a two-run home run in the final frame to make Cleveland fans uneasy, but that was as close as the margin would come in what would be a 5-4 defeat. Atlanta would be kicking themselves over the next two days for several reasons, including two double plays offensively (one by Grissom and one by Polonia) over the course of the game, as well as some questionable pitching from the best pitcher alive in Maddux.

To be fair, Hershiser simply out-pitched Maddux on this night (which is bizarre to consider), and Cleveland wasn't about to be closed out on its own field. As we know by this point, Atlanta would not be deterred by this result for very long, but at the time, Braves fans who were stung by memories of previous playoff failures allowed thoughts of doubt to creep in as the Indians seemingly snatched momentum.

Fortunately, October 28, 1995 was coming, and we will pick things up there in the future.