The 1995 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of baseball's 1995 National League playoffs, matched the East Division champion Atlanta Braves against the Central Division champion Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had the home field advantage.
The two teams were victorious in the NL Division Series (NLDS), with the Braves defeating the wild card qualifier Colorado Rockies three games to one, and the Reds defeating the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers three games to none. The Braves won the series four games to none to become the National League champions, and defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series.
This NLCS was notable as it matched up what had been the two easternmost teams in the National League West Division from 1969–1993, both teams having been placed there at the insistence of the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs (the former team wanted the Cubs' rivals St. Louis Cardinals, then the dominating power of the NL, in the National League East Division, and the Cubs wanted in the same division as St. Louis). It was also the first NLCS since 1989 not to feature either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two teams reigned exclusively as NL East champions from 1990 to 1993.
Atlanta won the series, 4–0.
Tuesday, October 10, 1995, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
The opening game of the 1995 NLCS would be well-pitched and decided in extra innings. The only run allowed by Tom Glavine, who would go seven innings, came on a Ron Gant single following a Barry Larkin triple in the fourth. Pete Schourek was lights out the entire game, but allowed the Braves to plate a run in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. In the eleventh inning, bench player Mike Devereaux singled in Fred McGriff to give Atlanta a 2–1 lead. Manager Bobby Cox needed to use three pitchers in the bottom of the inning, but Greg McMichael induced a double play that ended the game.
Wednesday, October 11, 1995, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
With John Smoltz on the mound, the Braves took an early 1–0 lead, then got a second run in the fourth on a Mike Devereaux RBI double. Jeff Branson stealing home in the fifth tied the game at two. That score held until the tenth inning, when the Braves scored four runs and took the game. Cincinnati reliever Mark Portugal's wild pitch allowed Mark Lemke to scamper home with the go-ahead run. Javy López followed with a three-run blast that blew the game open. This would be the final postseason game ever played in Riverfront Stadium.
Friday, October 13, 1995, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
Greg Maddux went eight innings and only gave up one run in another strong start for an Atlanta starter. Lefty David Wells, acquired by Cincinnati in anticipation of facing the predominantly left-handed Braves lineup in the playoffs, matched Maddux with a scoreless first five innings. Later, right-handed Atlanta catcher Charlie O'Brien belted a three-run homer in the sixth off Wells. Rookie Chipper Jones hit a two-run shot in the seventh to make it 5–0 Braves. Mark Wohlers earned the save in the ninth as the Braves held on for a 5–2 victory.
Saturday, October 14, 1995, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
Steve Avery, who was inconsistent all season, got the start for Atlanta and tossed six scoreless innings. Mark Lemke hit an RBI single in the third to give Atlanta a 1–0 lead. The game remained close until the seventh, when series MVP Mike Devereaux hit a three-run shot in a five-run Atlanta inning. Ahead 6–0, Bobby Cox took no chances and used closer Mark Wohlers to finish off the Reds in the ninth. The shutout victory completed a surprisingly easy sweep of Cincinnati and sent the Braves to their third World Series in five years.
The Reds offense only managed to score five runs in four games off Atlanta's pitching staff, even with the fact that the first two contests went to extra-innings.
This was the only NLCS to end in a four-game sweep until 2007, when the Colorado Rockies defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in four games.
Former Brave Ron Gant would play against his former team with the Reds, then again the next year as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
1995 NLCS (4–0): Atlanta Braves over Cincinnati Reds