The St. Louis Cardinals won their second National League title in four years by beating the Dodgers 7–5, in what many consider to be one of the most exciting playoff games ever played. The Dodgers returned to Los Angeles trailing three games to two….but comfortable knowing the last two games would be played in Chavez Ravine…..and for Game 6, it was Orel Hershiser for the Dodgers against Joquin Andujar for the Cards.
Unlike the previous three games, it was the Dodgers and not the Cardinals who got the scoring started quickly when Mariano Duncan’s double and Bill Madlock’s single put the Dodgers ahead, 1–0. An inning later, a walk to Greg Brock and singles by Hershiser and Duncan scored Brock to give the Dodgers a 2–0 lead.
Both pitchers helped themselves with hits….when after Hershiser’s single in the second….the Cards Andújar led off the third with a double off the wall….and scored on Herr’s single to cut the lead to 2–1….but then Andújar hurt himself with a throwing error in the fifth that put Duncan on base…..who promptly stole second and went to third on a ground out by Landreaux….who then scores on Pedro Guerrero‘s deep fly to center field…..then Madlock homered for the third time in the series….and the Dodgers led 4 – 1.
In the top of the seventh, Darrell Porter singled, as did Tito Landrum….when Steve Braun pinch-hit for Andújar and grounded out….but moved the runners to second and third….when Willie McGee’s single then plated both runners….thus leading Tommy Lasorda to call on reliever Tom Niedenfuer…..when his last pitch had landed in the seats to end Game 5…..and the first batter he faced was nearly the same as Ozzie Smith drilled a triple that just barely missed being a second left-handed homer….but Niedenfuer struck out Jack Clark on three fastballs to end the threat….albeit the Cardinals had now tied the game at four.
In the bottom of the eighth, Mike Marshall lifted a towering fly ball to right off of Todd Worrell….which looked like a routine out….but the wind carried the ball just out of Andy Van Slyke’s reach and over the wall for a home run….and the Dodgers were now just three outs from forcing Game 7.
In the ninth, Niedenfuer struck out César Cedeño….but Willie McGee singled and stole second….so, with Ozzie Smith’s prior success against Niedenfuer, a homer and triple, in his last two at-bats…..as the Dodgers walked him and induced a ground out from Tommy Herr….then with runners at second and third and two out, the obvious question faced Lasorda….“do you walk Clark to the open first base or do you pitch to him?”….as Niedenfuer had struck out Clark in the seventh….and by contrast, the next two hitters in the Cardinal line-up, Van Slyke and Pendleton, were having miserable series. But Lasorda opted to pitch to Clark. Clark promptly drilled Niedenfuer’s first fastball 450 feet into the left field stands for a pennant-winning home run. Demoralized, the Dodgers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, with Pedro Guerrero popping up for the final out.
The Cardinals would eventually lose in 7 games to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.