The Colorado Rockies did in three seasons what no other expansion team had done in less than eight.
The upstart Rockies won the N.L. wild card spot in dramatic fashion Sunday, rallying from a six-run deficit as Larry Walker and Eric Young hit two-run homers to spark a 10-9 victory over the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Colorado will meet the Atlanta Braves in the first round of divisional play beginning Tuesday night at Coors Field. The Rockies qualified for the postseason quicker than the 1969 New York Mets and the 1976 Kansas City Royals, who both made it in their eighth seasons.
Trailing 8-2 in the third after another poor starting performance from Bret Saberhagen, the Rockies got four runs in their half to make it 8-6, then added four more in the fifth to take a 10-8 lead.
“None of our wins come easy,” majority owner Jerry McMorris. “I guess this is a come-from-behind organization. Don’t ever count us out until it’s over.”
Astros 8, Cubs 7 Chicago
Houston rallied from a six-run deficit and beat Chicago but failed to make the playoffs as Colorado beat San Francisco.
Houston, which went ahead on Tony Eusebio’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly, needed Colorado to lose to force a one-game playoff today in Denver for the N.L. wild card postseason berth.
Derrick May homered, tripled and singled twice for the Astros, who last reached the N.L. playoffs in 1986.
Dodgers 4, Padres 1 San Diego
Tony Gwynn finished off his sixth N.L. batting title in style and Randy Smith saw what was likely his last game as San Diego general manager, but former replacement player Mike Busch had the last word.
Busch, ostracized when called up by Los Angeles earlier this year, hit a tiebreaking three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning as the N.L. West champion Dodgers beat the Padres.
Mets 1, Braves 0 (11) New York
Brad Woodall walked Tim Bogar with the bases loaded in the 11th inning as New York beat Atlanta and completed a seasonending sweep of the N.L. East champions.
New York stretched its winning streak to six and tied a club record by winning its 11th consecutive home game. The Mets also swept two other playoff teams coming down the stretch: Los Angeles and Cincinnati.
Reds 5, Expos 1 Montreal
Tim Pugh pitched one-hit ball over five innings and Bret Boone hit a three-run homer to lead Cincinnati over Montreal.
The Central Division champion Reds will play at Los Angeles on Tuesday in its first playoff series since they won the World Series in 1990. The Reds won three of four in Montreal to finish 5-5 on a 10-game roadtrip.
Marlins 8, Phillies 2 Miami Ryan Bowen won for the third time in two years and Florida concluded the season with a club-record 67th victory, beating Philadelphia.
Pirates 10, Cardinals 4 St. Louis
Midre Cummings drove in four runs as Pittsburgh wound up a season-ending series between the N.L.’s worst teams with the victory over St. Louis.
Clearing the bases
Manager Jim Riggleman was rewarded for the Chicago Cubs’ unexpected run at the playoffs, when he received a contract extension through the 1997 season. … San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn has hit higher than .350 for three straight seasons, the first player since Joe Medwick did it from 1935-37… . Tom Henke of the Cardinals, who had 36 saves in 38 chances, won his first Rolaids Relief award… . The Rockies finished the year with a league-leading 200 home runs.