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MLB Postseason: 10 Most Memorable Home Runs of 21st Century

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MLB Postseason: 10 Most Memorable Home Runs of 21st Century

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David Ortiz.

There's nothing quite like the drama of a postseason home run, particularly when a series is at stake or when a team has its back to the wall and is trying to stave off elimination.

Listed here are the 10 most memorable home runs in Division Series or League Championship Series play since 2001:

1. Aaron Boone extends the curse (New York Yankees 6, Boston Red Sox 5, 2003 ALCS Game 7)

After the Yankees had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, a tightly contested Game 7 between longtime rivals Boston and New York continued on deep into the night at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Boone, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the fateful eighth, stepped to the plate for the first time in the game to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning. He belted a Tim Wakefield knuckleball into the left field seats. That gave the Yankees a 6-5 win and a trip to the World Series (click here for video).

2. David Ortiz starts the long road back (Boston Red Sox 6, New York Yankees 4, 2004 ALCS Game 4)

Trailing three games to none, the Boston Red Sox had their backs against the wall at Fenway Park in Game 4. Boston managed to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth off closer Mariano Rivera. After Manny Ramirez led off the bottom of the 12th with a single, David Ortiz took Paul Quantrill's 2-1 offering over the right field wall to keep the Red Sox alive with a 6-4 win (click here for video).

3. Chris Burke finally ends it for the Astros (Houston Astros 7, Atlanta Braves 6, 2005 NLDS Game 4)

The Houston Astros were one out away from having to head back to Atlanta for a fifth game when Brad Ausmus tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. Nine innings later, the Astros were able to close out the series when Chris Burke hit a one-out solo home run off Braves reliever Joey Devine in the bottom of the 18th inning to give Houston a 7-6 series-clinching win (click here for video).

4. Yadier Molina shocks the Mets (St. Louis Cardinals 3, New York Mets 1, 2006 NLCS Game 7)

In 2006, Yadier Molina was known much more for his defensive prowess behind the plate than for his slugging at it. Molina hit just six home runs in 461 at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 but with Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth, Molina powered an Aaron Heilman delivery out of Shea Stadium for a two-run home run to give the Cardinals a shocking 3-1 win and the National League pennant (click here for video).

5. Magglio Ordonez wins it for the Tigers (Detroit Tigers 6, Oakland Athletics 3, 2006 ALCS Game 4)

The Detroit Tigers hadn't been to the World Series for 22 years, or to the postseason for 19, and were just three years removed from a 119-loss season when they reached the playoffs in 2006. With two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Magglio Ordonez sent Comerica Park into delirium with a three-run homer off Huston Street to give the Tigers the pennant (click here for video).

6. Adam Kennedy gets his Babe Ruth on (Anaheim Angels 13, Minnesota Twins 5, 2002 ALCS Game 5)

Only five times in postseason history had a player belted three home runs in a game prior to Oct. 13, 2002, and Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Edison Field in Anaheim, Calif. Three of the names on the list were Hall of Famers and the fourth was a bonafide slugger in his time. Babe Ruth turned the trick twice and so did Reggie Jackson, George Brett, and Bob Robertson. Anaheim Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy seemed an unlikely candidate to join that list. Kennedy hit just seven homers in 2002 and had 23 for his career at the time. But a three-run shot off Minnesota Twins reliever Johan Santana in the seventh inning gave Kennedy his third round-tripper of the game and a place in postseason history (click here for video).

7. Nelson Cruz provides a grand finale (Texas Rangers 7, Detroit Tigers 3, 2011 ALCS Game 2)

Nelson Cruz had tied Game 2 of the 2011 American League Championship Series with a solo homer off Max Scherzer in the bottom of the seventh, so it was fitting that it was Cruz who ended the game in grand fashion. Cruz hammered a grand slam off Detroit Tigers reliever Ryan Perry in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Rangers a 7-3 win. It was the first walkoff grand slam in postseason history (click here for video).

8. Albert Pujols launches a moonshot in Houston (St. Louis Cardinals 5, Houston Astros 4, 2005 NLCS Game 5)

Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge was one out away from securing the franchise's first pennant when Albert Pujols struck. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger came up with two on and two outs in the top of the ninth of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and launched a rocket to left field at Minute Maid Park. The ball caromed off the back wall behind the short Campbell seats in left and propelled the Cardinals to a series-extending 5-4 victory (click here for video).

9. David Ortiz clears the monster to finish the Angels (Boston Red Sox 8, Anaheim Angels 6, 2004 ALDS Game 3)

David Ortiz was done with the Anaheim Angels, apparently. The Boston Red Sox designated hitter came up with a man at second and two outs in the bottom of the 10th and hit left-hander Jarrod Washburn's second pitch the opposite way. Ortiz' shot cleared the Green Monster in left field and gave the Red Sox an 8-6 win and a series sweep of the Halos (click here for video).

10. Jim Edmonds keeps the Cardinals alive (St. Louis Cardinals 6, Houston Astros 4, 2004 NLCS Game 6)

Trailing in the 2004 National League Championship Series three games to two, the St. Louis Cardinals had squandered a chance to force a seventh game when the Houston Astros tied the game in the top of the ninth inning. After Albert Pujols walked and Scott Rolen popped out, Jim Edmonds belted a two-run walkoff homer off reliever Dan Miceli in the bottom of the 12th to give St. Louis a 6-4 victory (click here for video).

Phil Watson is a veteran sportswriters and longtime New York Yankee fan.

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