NLCS Game 6 pregame notes

NLCS Game 6 pregame notes

PRESENTATION OF COLORS: The colors will be presented tonight by the United States Marine Corps.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Tonight's National Anthem will be performed by country music duo Hometown News.

FIRST PITCH: Throwing out tonight's ceremonial first pitch will be former Cardinal Jose Oquendo.

GOD BLESS AMERICA: Tonight's rendition of God Bless America will be performed by Hometown News.

TONIGHT: St. Louis hosts Houston in Game Six of the 36th National League Championship Series...Houston was one out away from its first World Series berth before St. Louis' Albert Pujols hit a three-run home run off Brad Lidge Monday night at Minute Maid Park...Lidge retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth before David Eckstein singled and Jim Edmonds drew a walk...Pujols then lifted a towering shot into left field to send the series back to St. Louis...The Astros advanced to the LCS after defeating the Atlanta Braves three games to one in their best-of-five Division Series while the Cardinals swept the San Diego Padres 3-0 in the Division Series round.

GAME SIX NOTABLES: This is now the 15th NLCS to last at least six games since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1985.
• This is the 11th time since the best-of-seven format began in 1985 that a team has jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the NLCS...Eight of the previous 10 teams went on to advance to the World Series...The only two teams to lose with a 3-1 lead were the 1996 Cardinals (led Atlanta 3-1, lost 4-3) and the 2003 Chicago Cubs (led Florida 3-1, lost 4-3).
• Since 1985 the home team is 6-8 in Game Six of the NLCS...Last year the Cardinals returned home for Game Six trailing Houston 3-2 in the series before winning the final two games.
• In the 10 previous times a club held a 3-1 lead, four of the series ended in five games, four ended in six games and two went to a seventh and deciding game...The last team to hold a 3-1 lead and close out the series in six games was Atlanta over New York in 1999.

ASTROS IN GAME SIX: The Astros are 0-2 in the previous two times the club played in a Game Six in the NLCS...Houston was eliminated from the 1986 NLCS by New York after the Mets won 7-6 in 16 innings at the Astrodome...The Astros also lost 6-4 in 12 innings against the Cardinals last year in Game Six here at Busch Stadium when Jim Edmonds hit a two-run walkoff home run off Dan Miceli.

CARDS IN GAME SIX: The Cardinals are 3-1 in the four previous times the club has played in a Game Six of the NLCS...St. Louis clinched a berth to the World Series in Game Six of the 1985 LCS over the Dodgers...The Cards also forced a seventh and deciding game in 1987 after winning 1-0 over the San Francisco Giants in Game Six here at Busch Stadium...The Cards lost Game Six of the 1996 NLCS against Atlanta that evened the series at 3-3...St. Louis went on to lose in the final game and become the first NL team to blow a 3-1 lead in a seven game NLCS...The Cards also won last year against the Astros at home when Jim Edmonds lifted St. Louis to a 6-4 win with a two-run walkoff home run off Astros reliever Dan Miceli in the 12th inning.

BE LIKE MIKE: Game Two winner Roy Oswalt takes the mound tonight with a 3-0 lifetime record in six postseason games (five starts)...Oswalt will attempt to become the first starting pitcher to beat the Cardinals twice in a postseason series since New York's Mike Hampton did so in the 2000 LCS...In that series, Hampton twirled 16.0 shutout innings in two starts, including a series-clinching complete game in Game Five at Shea Stadium.

I WON'T BACK DOWN: Game Two loser Mark Mulder will make his seventh career start in the postseason tonight...Mark has a career record of 3-3 with a 1.91 ERA (37.2ip/8er) in his six career postseason starts...He has never lost back-to-back starts in the playoffs...He has also posted a 1.69 ERA (26.2ip/5er) in his last four starts in the playoffs.

A RISING STAR: Albert Pujols has already amassed 26 hits in his first 17 career games in League Championship Series games...The only three players to have more hits than Pujols after their first 17 LCS games were Will Clark (29), Pete Rose (28) and Roberto Alomar (27).

TWO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: Houston has outscored the Cardinals by a total of two runs (17-15) after the first five games of this year's series...In last year's seven game series between these two clubs, the Cardinals outscored the Astros by a total of three runs (34-31)...In the previous 35 NLCS, five series have had a run differential of two runs or less (most recently Chicago and Florida in 2003).

LIVING ON THE EDGE: Since 1996, Tony La Russa's club is 4-5 when facing elimination in the playoffs...Two of those wins came last year when the Cards returned to St. Louis trailing 3-2 in the LCS before rallying to win the series 4-3 over the Astros...The Cards are 3-3 since 1996 in the League Championship Series round of the playoffs when facing elimination.

SEALING THE DEAL: Houston is 2-9 all-time in the postseason in series-clinching opportunities...The Astros have gone 0-5 in potential LCS clinching games, including 0-2 last year after losing a 3-2 lead in the series and in 1980 when they led Philadelphia 2-1 before losing the series in five games.

THE TOUGHEST THREE OUTS: Houston's Brad Lidge is now just one of seven pitchers to collect three saves in a NLCS...The only pitcher to record four saves in a LCS was Dennis Eckersley, who did so in 1988 with the Oakland A's...In addition, Sunday's save for Lidge was the fifth of his career in the NLCS...He is now tied with St. Louis' Jason Isringhausen, Tug McGraw and Robb Nen for most career saves in the NLCS.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

HOUSTON ASTROS
The Astros were the NL's wild card winner, finishing in second place in the Central Division with an 89-73 record...Houston finished 11.0 games behind St. Louis in the division.

Houston advanced to the LCS by defeating the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the Division Series...The Astros clinched their berth to the LCS after winning in 18-innings Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid.

DATE SITEWINNERSCORE
10/5 ATLPettitte 10-5
10/6 ATL Smoltz 1-7
10/8 HOU Oswalt7-3
10/9 HOUClemens 7-6


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
The Cardinals won the NL Central, finishing 11.0 games ahead of the Houston Astros.

St. Louis won 100 games for the second straight season for the second time in club history...The Cards also posted triple digits in wins in three straight years from1942-44. The Cards swept San Diego three games to none in the Division Series.

DATE SITEWINNERSCORE
10/4STLCarpenter W, 8-5
10/6STL Mulder W, 6-2
10/8 SDMorris W, 7-4


POST-SEASON RECAP

HOUSTON ASTROS
The Astros are playing in the LCS for the fourth time in club history...Here is how they have fared in the previous three . . .

YEAROPPONENTRESULT
1980PhiladelphiaL, 2-3
1986New YorkL, 2-4
2004St. LouisL, 3-4


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
St. Louis is playing in its eighth LCS....Here is how the Redbirds have fared in the previous seven...

YEAROPPONENTRESULT
1982AtlantaW, 3-0
1985Los AngelesW, 4-2
1987San FranciscoW, 4-3
1996AtlantaL, 3-4
2000New YorkL, 1-4
2002 San FranciscoL, 1-4
2004HoustonW, 4-3


SERIES-LY: Houston enters tonight's game with an opportunity to advance to the World Series for the first time in club history...The Astros are one of six current teams in Major League Baseball that has yet to play in the World Series (also Washington/Montreal, Colorado, Seattle, Texas and Tampa Bay).

A CENTRAL CHAMPION: Sunday night the American League Central Division champion Chicago White Sox clinched a berth to the World Series for the first time since 1959...Last year the Cardinals became the first NL Central representative to advance to the World Series since Major League Baseball switched to six divisions in 1994...No Central team has ever won the World Series since the six division format began in 1994...Here's a look at each division and how many World Series representaives they've each had over the last 11 years (no World Series in 1994)...underline indicates World Champions...

AL East 7 -- (New York '96, '98, '99, '00, '01, '03, Boston '04)
AL Central 3 -- (Cleveland '95, '97, Chicago '05)
AL West 1 -- (Anaheim '02)
NL East 6 -- (Atlanta '95, '96, '99, Florida '97, '03, New York '00)
NL Central 1 -- (St. Louis '04)
NL West 3 -- (San Diego '98, Arizona '01, San Francisco '02)

MR. BIG-GIO: Houston's Craig Biggio went a combined 7-for-54 (.130) with a double, RBI and four runs scored in his first four postseason appearances from 1997-2001...In the last two years, Biggio has gone 26-for-90 (.289) with seven doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and 15 runs scored.

THE E-XTRA OUT: St. Louis (4) and Houston (3) have committed a combined seven errors after the first five games of this year's series after making a combined three miscues in last year's seven game series...Since 1996, the club that committed fewer errors in the NLCS has advanced to the World Series (San Francisco and St. Louis each committed one miscue in 2002).

BROKEN CLUTCH: The Astros have gone 4-for-39 (.103) with runners in scoring position in the first five games of this year's LCS...Houston hit .261 with RISP during the regular season.

MAKING HIMSELF AT HOME: Reggie Sanders has driven in 10 of his 12 RBI during this year's postseason at Busch Stadium...Only four players have collected more RBI at home in a season during the playoffs according to statspass.com...Here's a look at the top four players and their postseason RBI numbers at home in a single postseason.

PlayerTeam YearHome RBI
John ValentinBoston199915
David OrtizBoston200414
Sandy Alomar Jr.Cleveland199713
Scott SpiezioAnaheim200212


LAST CALL FOR BUSCH: The Cardinals finished with an all-time record of 1760 wins and 1409 losses during the regular season in the 40 year-history of Busch Stadium...The Redbirds are 35-17 all-time in the postseason at Busch Stadium.

FAMILIAR FACES: This is the first time two teams are facing each other in the NLCS in back-to-back seasons since Pittsburgh and Atlanta in 1991-92...Los Angeles and Philadelphia also met in the NLCS in back-to-back years in 1977-78.

WILD BOYS: Each of the last three World Series Champions has been a Wild Card team (Anaheim in 2002, Florida in 2003 and Boston in 2004)...The NL Wild Card team has advanced to the World Series in two of the last three seasons (San Francisco in 2002 and Florida in 2003).

GO THE DISTANCE: The last two National League Championship Series have gone seven games (also Chicago vs. Florida in 2003) after each of the previous three were decided in five games...Since the league went to a seven-game format in 1985, 15 of the last 20 (75 percent) NLCS have now gone at least six games...Prior to tonight, that breaks down to seven that went the full seven games and seven that were decided in six games.

CLOSE ONES: Since the beginning of the 2004 season, the Cardinals have posted a 24-18 record against the Astros (including postseason)...

Here's a breakdown of the two clubs against each other since the beginning of 2004.

 St. LouisHouston
Runs200198
Hits405 406
Home Runs 52 50
ERA 3.694.23


MVP TALK: Since the National League began naming an MVP in 1977, a total of 11 pitchers, eight infielders, four outfielders and five catchers have won the award...Albert Pujols was named last year's MVP after batting .500 (14-for-28) with four home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored...The last starting pitcher to win the award was New York's Mike Hampton in 2000...The only relievers to win MVP were the "Nasty Boys" Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, who shared the award in 1990 with Cincinnati...Only two players have won MVP honors on a losing team when Houston's Mike Scott did so in 1986 and San Francisco's Jeffrey Leonard took home the award in 1987.

Year -- Recipient, Team
2004 -- Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2003 -- Ivan Rodriguez, Florida
2002 -- Benito Santiago, San Francisco
2001 -- Craig Counsell, Arizona
2000 -- Mike Hampton, New York
1999 -- Eddie Perez, Atlanta
1998 -- Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego
1997 -- Livan Hernandez, Florida
1996 -- Javy Lopez, Atlanta
1995 -- Mike Devereaux, Atlanta
1993 -- Curt Schilling, Philadelphia
1992 -- John Smoltz, Atlanta
1991 -- Steve Avery, Atlanta
1990 -- Randy Myers/Rob Dibble, Cincinnati
1989 -- Will Clark, San Francisco
1988 -- Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles
1987 -- Jeffrey Leonard, San Francisco
1986 -- Mike Scott, Houston
1985 -- Ozzie Smith, St. Louis
1984 -- Steve Garvey, San Diego
1983 -- Gary Matthews, Philadelphia
1982 -- Darrell Porter, St. Louis
1981 -- Burt Hooton, Los Angeles
1980 -- Manny Trillo, Philadelphia
1979 -- Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh
1978 -- Steve Garvey, Los Angeles
1977 -- Dusty Baker, Los Angeles

GAME 1 RECAP
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FIRST PITCH/TEMP 7:29 p.m./68 degrees
ATTENDANCE: 52,332 (sellout)
TIME OF GAME: 2:29
WINNING PITCHER: CHRIS CARPENTER (1-0)
LOSING PITCHER: ANDY PETTITTE (0-1)
SAVE: JASON ISRINGHAUSEN (1)
HOME RUNS: SANDERS (1), BURKE (1)

COLONEL SANDERS LEADS THE WAY: Reggie Sanders has knocked in 12 runs in his first four games of this postseason...Sanders' first inning bomb was also his first in 20 career LCS games...Reggie has also knocked in at least one run in 10 straight games dating back to the regular season (a total of 22 RBI).

PETTITTE IN THE POSTSEASON: The start by Andy Pettitte was the 32nd of his career in the postseason, tied for most among active pitchers along with Tom Glavine...Andy also had his five game LCS winning streak come to an end...The five runs allowed by Pettitte were also the most in his postseason career since surrendering six on Novemer 3rd in Game Six of the 2001 World Series in a 15-2 loss vs. Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

SHORT AND SWEET: Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein has gone 7-for-17 in his first four games of this postseason...Eckstein finished second among all major leaguers in hits from August 1 thru the remainder of the regular season with a total of 79...San Francisco's Randy Winn had a major league high 83 base knocks in that time period.

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Houston and St. Louis have scored a combined 19 first-inning runs in the last two NLCS...The only game neither team scored a run in the first inning came in Game Five in Houston before Jeff Kent broke a 0-0 game with a three-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

THE POWER OF ONE: The winner of Game One of the NLCS has advanced to the World Series in each of the last 12 years...The 1991 Atlanta Braves were the last team to lose Game One of the NLCS but still advance to the World Series.

BIRDS OF PREY: The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 16-0 in the first four innings of this postseason.

WELCOME HOME: The home team has won each game played between these two clubs in the last two NLCS...In addition, the Cardinals have won nine straight games at Busch Stadium in the LCS and Division Series rounds of the playoffs (their last home loss in the first two rounds of the playoffs came in Game Two of the 2002 NLCS vs. San Francisco).

PINCH ME: Houston's Chris Burke has homered in his last two at bats this postseason...In addition to Wednesday, his 18th inning walkoff home run Sunday afternoon vs. Atlanta ended the Division Series...Burke's pinch-hit blast was the 11th in NLCS history...It was also the third pinch hit homer by an Astro in postseason play (also Mike Lamb in Game One of the 2004 NLCS and Daryle Ward in Game Three of the 2001 NL Division Series).

HOW MAY I ASSIST YOU: Mark Grudzielanek's eight assists tied a NLCS record for assists by a second baseman in a nine inning game...Grudzielanek also had eight assists as a member of the Chicago Cubs on October 8, 2003...Philadelphia's Manny Trillo also recorded eight assists on October 7, 1980.

GAME 2 RECAP
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FIRST PITCH/TEMP: 7:29/67 DEGREES
ATTENDANCE: 52,358 (sellout)
TIME: 3:03
WINNING PITCHER: ROY OSWALT (1-0)
LOSING PITCHER: MARK MULDER (0-1)
SAVE: BRAD LIDGE (1)
HOME RUNS: PUJOLS (1)


STREAKY NUMBERS: Thursday's win by the Astros snapped a six game road losing streak in LCS games...Houston is now 3-8 on the road in NLCS history...The Houston victory also put an end to St. Louis' seven game winning streak dating back to the regular season... St. Louis' nine game winning streak at home in the first two rounds of the playoffs also ended Thursday.

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY: The Cardinals trailed in a game Thursday for the first time since the fourth inning in the final game of the regular season against the Cincinnati Reds on October 2.

DEALING WITH THE CARDS: In his last two starts against St. Louis, Roy Oswalt has allowed two earned runs in 14.0 innings of work (1.29 ERA)...Oswalt also allowed one run over 7.0 innings in his start at Busch Stadium last month on September 27.

LET'S GET IT STARTED: Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder have posted a combined 1.80 ERA (15.0ip/3er) in the first two games of this series.

GAME TWO TRENDS: The road team has now won Game Two of the NLCS on 22 of 36 occasions...In 19 of the 36 NLCS, the loser of Game One has bounced back to win Game Two...In NLCS history, the loser of Game One has come back to win the series on 10 occasions (the most recent was the 1991 Atlanta Braves).

HITTING THEIR STRIDE: The Astros are 4-0 this year in the postseason when they bang out 10 or more hits.

FROM THE TOP: Houston's 1-2-3 hitters went a combined 6-for-14 on Thursday.

PHAT ALBERT: Albert Pujols' home run in the sixth inning was the sixth of his career in the NLCS...Steve Garvey has a NLCS-high eight career home runs.

LIGHTS OUT LIDGE: Brad Lidge has not allowed a run in 10.0 innings of work in five career appearances in the NLCS...He also picked up his third career NLCS save in this evening's tilt.

PEN POWER: Houston's bullpen has posted a 1.82 ERA (24.2ip/5er) in the first six games of this year's playoffs.

SANDERS UPDATE: St. Louis' Reggie Sanders left the game with a lower back sprain.

GAME 3 RECAP
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HOUSTON00020200x41108


FIRST PITCH/TEMP: 3:30/72 DEGREES INSIDE (84 OUTSIDE)
ATTENDANCE: 42,823 (sellout)
TIME: 3:00
WINNING PITCHER: ROGER CLEMENS (1-0)
LOSING PITCHER: MATT MORRIS (0-1)
SAVE: BRAD LIDGE (2)
HOME RUNS: LAMB (1)


ROCKET IN THE LCS RECORD BOOK: Roger Clemens started his 14th League Championship Series Game (includes AL & NL), which is now tied for second all-time along with Greg Maddux...Tom Glavine has made a LCS-high 15 starts...Saturday was also Roger's 32nd career start in the postseason, which is tied for most along with Andy Pettitte and Tom Glavine...Clemens is also one of just three pitchers to appear in nine League Championship Series, joining Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

PITCHING IN: Roger Clemens picked up his second career postseason hit with a single in the bottom of the third inning...His other base knock came as a member of the New York Yankees on October 22, 2003 in Game Four of the World Series off Florida's Carl Pavano.

THE VETERAN: Roger Clemens became the third-oldest pitcher to appear in a LCS game at 43 years-old and 72 days...Only Phil Niekro (43 years, 191 days) and Dennis Martinez (43 years, 151 days) were older to appear in a LCS game.

THE HEART OF THE MATT-ER: The loss by Matt Morris dropped his record to 0-3 in seven career NLCS games (five starts).

DEEP THOUGHTS: The Astros have gone deep a total of 15 times in 10 playoff games at Minute Maid Park and have homered in all but one of those games (October 10, 2001 vs. Atlanta in a 1-0 loss in the Division Series).

MIKE-D UP: Mike Lamb's two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning was his third in four career LCS games...He also went deep in Games One and Six last year.

HOLD YOUR CARDS: This is the second straight season the Cardinals have trailed in the NLCS...St. Louis has bounced back to win the NLCS a total of three times after trailing in the series...Here's a look at those three occasions.

YEAROPPONENTTRAILING RESULT
1985Los Angeles2-0Won Series 4-2
1987San Francisco3-2Won Series 4-3
2004Houston3-2Won Series 4-3


MR. CONSISTENCY: Albert Pujols has hit safely in 14 of 15 career games in the NLCS, going 23-for-58 (.397).

CLOSE CALLS: The Astros and Cardinals have been involved in six one run games (including postseason) against each other this year...The Astros have gone 3-3 in those games.

ZEROING IN: St. Louis' run in the top of the fift

h inning snapped a streak of 18 consecutive innings without a run at Minute Maid Park in the postseason.

DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS: Lance Berkman has hit safely in seven of his last eight home games in the postseason...Berkman has gone 12-for-28 (.429) with two doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI in those eight games.

THE HIT PARADE: Houston banged out 10 or more hits for the second straight game...The Astros are now 5-0 this year in the postseason when they collect 10 or more hits.

GAME THREE FACTS: St. Louis is now 6-2 all-time in Game Three of the NLCS...The Cards have lost in Game Three in back-to-back LCS...The home team has won Game Three 13 times since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1985.

HOME BOYS: The Astros have won six straight postseason games at Minute Maid Park...Houston improved to 7-3 all-time at Minute Maid Park in the playoffs.

OOPS: The throwing error by Hector Luna was St. Louis' second of the series...The Cards committed just one error in seven games during last year's NLCS and one miscue in five games in the 2002 LCS vs. San Francisco.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Brad Lidge's scoreless streak of 16.2 innings in the postseason came to an end...Prior to Saturday, he also did not allow a run to St. Louis in his last 30.1 innings over 23 appearances dating back to 9/14/03 (includes regular and postseason).

GAME 4 RECAP
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ST. LOUIS0001000001515
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FIRST PITCH/TEMP: 3:46/ 72 DEGREES INSIDE (84 OUTSIDE)
TIME: 3:11
ATTENDANCE: 43,010 (SELLOUT)
WINNING PITCHER: CHAD QUALLS (1-0)
LOSING PITCHER: JASON MARQUIS (0-1)
SAVE: BRAD LIDGE (3)
HOME RUNS: LANE (1)

UNDER PRESSURE: The Astros are now the 11th team since the seven-game format began in 1985 to jump out to a 3-1 lead in the NLCS...Eight of the previous 10 teams went on to advance to the World Series...The only two teams to lose with a 3-1 lead were the 1996 Cardinals (led Atlanta 3-1, lost 4-3) and the 2003 Chicago Cubs (led Florida 3-1, lost 4-3).

BACK-E BREAKER: The run allowed by Brandon Backe in the top of the fourth inning snapped his streak of 11.0 consecutive scoreless innings against St. Louis in the playoffs.

STREAKY NUMBERS: The run allowed by Jeff Suppan in the bottom of the fourth inning snapped a streak of 13.0 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to his September 20 start at Cincinnati.

GET IN THE FAST LANE JASON: Jason Lane hit his second career postseason home run with a solo blast in the bottom of the fourth inning...He also went deep in his first career playoff game last year at Atlanta in Game One of the Division Series.

FOUR YOUR INFORMATION: In the 18 occasions a series stood at 2-1 heading into Game Four, the winner of Game Three has now won Game Four eight times, including four out of the last five seasons.

SAVING THE DAY: Brad Lidge picked up his third save of this series...Dennis Eckersley is the only pitcher to pick up four saves in a League Championship Series (1988 with Oakland)...Lidge is now the seventh pitcher in NLCS history to have three saves in a LCS (the last was St. Louis' Jason Isringhausen in 2004).

MR. CONSISTENCY: Albert Pujols has hit safely in 15 of 16 career games in the NLCS...In addition, Pujols' two hits gave him 25 hits for his career in the NLCS, moving him ahead of Willie McGee (24) for the most in Cardinals history.

AND THE WHIFF: Brandon Backe's seven strikeouts were a postseson-high...His previous high was six in Game One of last year's NLCS.

BROKEN CLUTCH: Houston has now gone 2-for-31 (.065) with runners in scoring position in the first four games of this series...The Cardinals are hitting .178 (8-for-45) in the postseason with RISP.

HOUSE OF HORRORS: St. Louis has scored a combined four runs in their last three postseason games at Minute Maid Park...In addition to Sunday, the Cards were held to three runs Saturday and were shut out in Game Five of the 2004 LCS.

STUCK IN A MOMENT: St. Lous has lost three consecutive games against Houston for the first time since also dropping three straight in Games Three thru Five of last year's NLCS.

CLOSE CALLS: The Astros and Cardinals have been involved in seven one run games (including postseason) against each other this year...The Astros have gone 4-3 in those games.

HOME BOYS: The Astros have won seven straight postseason games at Minute Maid Park...Houston improved to 8-3 all time at Minute Maid Park in the playoffs.

THE LAUNCH PAD: The Astros have gone deep a total of 16 times in 11 playoff games at Minute Maid Park and have homered in all but one of those games.

GAME 5 RECAP
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FIRST PITCH/TEMP: 7:28/ 72 DEGREES INSIDE (78 OUTSIDE)
TIME: 3:19
ATTENDANCE: 43,470 (SELLOUT)
WINNING PITCHER: JASON ISRINGHAUSEN (1-0)
LOSING PITCHER: BRAD LIDGE (0-1)
SAVE: NONE
HOME RUNS: BERKMAN (1), PUJOLS (2)

HEARTBREAK IN HOUSTON: The Cardinals staved off elimination after winning in their final at bat to force a Game Six Wednesday night in St. Louis...It's St. Louis' first win in their last at bat in the NLCS since Jim Edmonds hit a walkoff homer off Dan Miceli in the 12th inning in Game Six of last year's LCS at Busch Stadium.

PHAT ALBERT: Albert Pujols hit his seventh career home run in the NLCS...The only NL player to hit more is Steve Garvey with eight.

BLOWN AWAY: Brad Lidge suffered his first blown save in the postseason since October 7, 2004 in Game Two of the Division Series in Atlanta...Lidge is now 6-for-8 in save opportunities in his career in postseason play...Lidge also suffered his first career loss in the postseason.

YOU CAN LANCE: Lance Berkman hit his sixth career postseason home run in the bottom of the seventh inning...The Astros have now gone 4-2 in postseason play when Berkman goes deep in a game.

SEVEN: Houston's seven game home winning streak in the playoffs came to an end...It was the club's first playoff loss at home since Game Four of the 2004 Division Series vs. Atlanta.

AND SEVEN: The Cardinals snapped their LCS-record seven game road losing streak...Their last win on the road in a LCS game prior to Monday came in Game Three of the 2002 LCS in San Francisco.

CELEBRATION ON HOLD: Houston is now 2-9 all-time in the postseason in series clinching opportunities...The Astros are now 0-5 in potential LCS clinching games.

STAYING ALIVE: St. Louis is now 4-5 since 1996 when facing elimination in the playoffs under Tony La Russa.

HANGING IN THERE: The Cardinals are attempting to become the third National League team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in a seven game series in the NLCS (also the Florida Marlins in 2003 and 1996 Atlanta Braves).