- Associated Press - Thursday, October 4, 2012

For sheer drama, there’s nothing quite like a one-game, winner-take-all scenario _ and that’s about to become a lot less rare in baseball with the debut of a new postseason format this year. The two wild cards in each league play Friday to determine which teams advance to the division series.

Until this year, one-game playoffs occurred only if there was a tie in the regular season that needed to be broken _ and even then, the format wasn’t always the same. For example, Bobby Thomson’s famous “Shot Heard `Round the World” in 1951 that gave the New York Giants the National League pennant was in the deciding game of a best-of-three tiebreaker against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

There have been nine one-game playoffs in major league history. Here’s a look back at each:

OCT. 4, 1948. CLEVELAND 8, BOSTON 3. FOR THE AL PENNANT.

The Indians went to Fenway Park and defeated the Red Sox to advance to the World Series, where they beat another Boston team _ the Braves _ in six games. Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since.

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OCT. 2, 1978. NEW YORK 5, BOSTON 4. FOR THE AL EAST TITLE.

Two words: Bucky Dent. The Yankees were 14 games behind the Red Sox in July, but in the end it was Boston that needed to win eight in a row just to force this playoff. Dent’s three-run homer over the Green Monster in the seventh put New York ahead 3-2, and the Yankees never trailed again. It was only Dent’s fifth homer of the season.

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OCT. 6, 1980. HOUSTON 7, LOS ANGELES 1. FOR THE NL WEST TITLE.

The Dodgers took three in a row from the Astros in the final series of the regular season to knot things up atop the division, but they fell short in this tiebreaker. Don Sutton, Jerry Reuss and Burt Hooton had started for Los Angeles in the other must-win games against Houston. In the playoff, the Dodgers sent Dave Goltz to the mound against Joe Niekro, and it was no contest.

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OCT. 2, 1995. SEATTLE 9, CALIFORNIA 1. FOR THE AL WEST TITLE.

This rout capped a 12-26 collapse down the stretch that cost the Angels the division and a playoff shot. Randy Johnson tossed a three-hitter for the Mariners in the playoff and struck out 12. California started Mark Langston, which was noteworthy because Seattle acquired Johnson in 1989 when it traded Langston to Montreal.

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