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Tickets: tough and expensive

Some Atlanta fans figured the NL playoffs would never return in 1992, not after the Braves took series leads of 2-0 and 3-1 over Pittsburgh.

That hasn't kept them from driving up scalpers' prices for tickets to Game 6 tonight, and if necessary, Game 7 on Wednesday.

Scalpers say tickets in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium cost $75 to $300. They are even more expensive for the World Series, with even outfield seats going for $250 minimum.

Unlike Pittsburgh, which sold tickets for Sunday's Game 5 up until game time, few tickets were placed on public sale for the games in Atlanta. Season-ticket holders bought all but about 1,000 tickets per game, and those sold in minutes.

Pirates have comeback history

The Pirates wasted a 3-2 series lead against Atlanta last year; now they're trying, as shortstop Jay Bell said, "to pull a role reversal" and do likewise to the Braves.

History shows if any team can do it, it's the Pirates.

They trailed 3-1 in 1925 to Washington and 3-1 to Baltimore in 1979, yet rallied to win both World Series. They also recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win a seven-game series with Baltimore in 1971.

There's more. The 1960 Pirates were outscored 55-27 by the New York Yankees and took three of the worst losses in World Series history (16-3, 12-0, 10-0), yet took Game 7 10-9 on Bill Mazeroski's memorable ninth-inning home run.

No National League team has rallied from a 3-1 playoff deficit since the league adopted a best-of-seven format in 1985.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Avery

Steve Avery's one-third of an inning Sunday in Game 5 was the shortest of his career and raised his series ERA to 10.80, even though he pitched six shutout innings in a 13-5 victory in Game 2.

"I really don't have an explanation. You don't think that's going to happen," Avery said.

Avery has been awful or awesome against Pittsburgh. He shut them out for a playoff record 22 innings over three starts, but has allowed eight runs in his last inning against them.

_ TIMES WIRES

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