The Cincinnati Reds won the National League pennant with a one-hitter, a game-saving catch and, of course, the Nasty Boys.
So it's goodbye Killer B's, hello Mighty A's.The Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 in Game 6 Friday night, and will play the Oakland A's in the World Series starting here Tuesday night.
As they had in their previous three victories in the best-of-seven series, the Reds beat the Pirates with good pitching and defense.
Starter Danny Jackson and relievers Norm Charlton and Randy Myers combined to hold the Pirates to one hit. Pittsburgh made three errors.
"We did what we set out to accomplish. I'm not sure people gave this team credit," Myers said.
Ron Oester, the remaining link to the Big Red Machine of the 1970s, led off the seventh inning with a single off Zane Smith. Barry Larkin popped out on a bunt attempt, but Billy Hatcher's single moved Oester to third.
"We're going to enjoy this for a couple of days," said manager Lou Piniella, who came up with a big play of his own.
In a surprising move, Piniella then pinch-hit Luis Quinones for Paul O'Neill, who was 8-for-17 in the series.
"It was a gutsy, tremendous call by Lou," Pirates manager Jim Leyland said. "They made the big plays and we didn't."
Quinones, 0-for-7 lifetime against Smith, delivered a single to drive in Oester and send the Reds to their ninth NL pennant. Quinones was 13-for-36 as a pinch hitter this season.
"I feel a great sense of pride," Piniella said. "These guys played hard all year and I think we all had something to prove."
The Reds' championship comes only a little more than a year after former manager Pete Rose was banned from baseball for gambling - leaving Cincinnati baseball at its lowest point. Piniella and general manager Bob Quinn came in and turned the Reds into winners again.
Now the Reds get to play the A's, who want to win the World Series again. Oakland is expected to use Dave Stewart in the opener against Jose Rijo.
Two of the Nasty Boys, Charlton and Myers, finished the job started brilliantly by Jackson. The other Nasty Boy, Rob Dibble, struck out 10 of the 15 batters he faced in the series.
Perhaps fittingly, Dibble and Myers, the latter with three saves, shared series MVP honors. The Nasty Boys pitched a combined 16 2-3 innings, giving up six hits, one earned run and striking out 20 to guide the Reds to the World Series for the first time since 1976, when Cincinnati swept the New York Yankees.
"There's no MVP on this team," Myers said. "We all did the job."
With one out in the ninth, Barry Bonds walked and Carmelo Martinez followed with a drive that right fielder Glenn Braggs caught at the top of the wall. Myers fanned Don Slaught to end the game, as fireworks exploded above Riverfront Stadium.
"It's a play you dream about as a kid," Braggs said. "It was better than in real life."
Pittsburgh's one hit was the lowest total in league playoff history. On four occasions, there have been two-hitters. In the World Series, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game against Brooklyn on Oct. 8, 1956.
The expected pitching duel between Jackson and Smith eventually materialized, anyway. Jackson was just short of perfect for the Reds, giving up the lone Pirate run and hit in six-plus innings.
To almost everyone's surprise, the Pirates announced several hours before the game that reliever Ted Power would start instead of Smith. But after the first inning, it looked like Leyland should have started a different shortstop and second baseman instead.
Larkin was credited with a charitable single when shortstop Jay Bell couldn't get the ball out of his glove. With Hatcher batting, Larkin stole second and continued to third when catcher Slaught's throw went into center field for an error.
Larkin held at third on Hatcher's groundout to first and Power walked the hot-hitting O'Neill. Eric Davis then hit a potential inning-ending double play to short, but second baseman Jose Lind could not make the relay to first when the ball got stuck in his glove as Larkin scored.
It was an ugly inning in a series dominated by spectacular defensive play. During the season the Reds were 39-13 when they scored in the first inning.
Power, who saved Game 1, made 40 appearances during the season without making a start. The last pitcher to start a postseason game who worked exclusively in relief during the season was Philadelphia's Jim Konstanty in the first game of the 1950 World Series.
Power, a former Red, entered the game with an 0-4 lifetime record and 6.75 ERA against Cincinnati.
Larkin singled with one out in the third and Smith, as originally billed, finally got in the game. Hatcher followed with a hit-and-run single to send the runner to third but first baseman Martinez came home with O'Neill's grounder to nail Larkin at the plate.
Bell bobbled Davis' grounder for his second error to load the bases. Chris Sabo then ended the inning when Andy Van Slyke caught his fly ball just in front of the 404-mark in dead center field.
Meanwhile, Jackson was perfect until walking Bonds with one out in the fifth. It proved costly when Martinez followed with an RBI double to right field for the Pirates' only hit.
The Reds blew another chance in the sixth when they left the bases loaded again.
O'Neill led off with a single and moved to third when right fielder R.J. Reynolds lost Davis' sinking liner for a single and an error leaving runners at second and third. After Sabo popped out, Todd Benzinger was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Smith came back to strike out Mariano Duncan and get Joe Oliver on a pop to second. Oliver hit three homers off Smith this season.
The Pirates chased Jackson when Bonilla and Bonds led off the seventh with walks. Charlton came on and retired the side without and damage.
The failure of Bonds and Bonilla to get the big hits doomed the Pirates' chances of winning their first NL pennant since 1979.