Braves defeat Astros
3 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Oct. 5||HOU 6||ATL 1|
|2||Oct. 6||ATL 5||HOU 1|
|3||Oct. 8||ATL 5||HOU 3|
|4||Oct. 9||ATL 7||HOU 5|
Managers: Cox, Bobby, ATL; Dierker, Larry, HOU
Path to the NLDS: Atlanta (103-59) won the NL East by 6 1/2 games; Houston (97-65) won the NL Central by 1 1/2 games.
It was goodbye to the Astrodome, and hello to an eighth straight NLCS for the Braves.
Larry Dierker's Astros won the NL Central for the third year in a row, and for the third straight year they were dismissed in the first round as leaders Jeff Bagwell (2-for-13, .154) and Craig Biggio (2-for-19, .105) once again were shut down at the plate.
Ken Caminiti was a notable exception for Houston, going 8-for-17 (.471) with three home runs and eight RBIs, but there was not enough support as Atlanta went deep into October again.
Shane Reynolds won a pitchers duel with Greg Maddux in the opener at Turner Field, where Caminiti's three-run homer in the ninth sealed it. In Game 2, Atlanta right-hander Kevin Millwood came a Caminiti homer and an error away from a perfect game, so the series was split going to Houston.
The pivotal moment in the series happened in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 3. Houston had the bases loaded with no outs, and Braves manager Bobby Cox called in John Rocker from the bullpen. Carl Everett ripped a grounder up the middle, and shortstop Walt Weiss was able to pounce on it, spin and throw a bullet to catcher Javy Lopez to tag out Bagwell at home. Atlanta held on to win, 5-3, on Brian Jordan's two-run double in the 12th.
The next day, a crowd of 48,533 gathered for the final game inside what had been famously dubbed in the '60s as "The Eighth Wonder of the World." Atlanta built a 7-0 lead through six innings with John Smoltz on the mound. Caminiti and the Astros rallied to score five runs, and then it came down to the final at-bat. With Stan Javier on second and two out, Caminiti was back up against Rocker, and the result was a fly ball to center to end the series.
The following spring, the Astros would open a new, retractable-roof ballpark called Enron Field.