2004 National League Division Series
The 2004 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2004 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 5, and ended on Monday, October 11, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
- (1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 105–57) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 93–69): Cardinals win series, 3–1.
- (2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 92–70): Astros win series, 3–2.
The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Cardinals played the Dodgers, rather than the wild card Astros, because the Cardinals and Astros are in the same division.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Cardinals became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 
St. Louis won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 5||Los Angeles Dodgers – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 8||Busch Stadium (II)||3:11||52,127|
|2||October 7||Los Angeles Dodgers – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 8||Busch Stadium (II)||3:36||52,228|
|3||October 9||St. Louis Cardinals – 0, Los Angeles Dodgers – 4||Dodger Stadium||2:23||55,992|
|4||October 10||St. Louis Cardinals – 6, Los Angeles Dodgers – 2||Dodger Stadium||3:21||56,268|
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros 
Houston won the series, 3–2.
|1||October 6||Houston Astros – 9, Atlanta Braves – 3||Turner Field||3:08||41,464|
|2||October 7||Houston Astros – 2, Atlanta Braves – 4 (11 innings)||Turner Field||3:27||40,075|
|3||October 9||Atlanta Braves – 5, Houston Astros – 8||Minute Maid Park||3:19||43,547|
|4||October 10||Atlanta Braves – 6, Houston Astros – 5||Minute Maid Park||3:24||43,336|
|5||October 11||Houston Astros – 12, Atlanta Braves – 3||Turner Field||3:12||54,068|
St. Louis vs. Los Angeles 
Game 1, October 5 
|WP: Woody Williams (1–0) LP: Odalis Pérez (0–1)
LAD: Tom Wilson (1)
STL: Albert Pujols (1), Larry Walker 2 (2), Jim Edmonds (1), Mike Matheny (1)
Odalis Pérez faced Woody Williams in Game 1. Albert Pujols got the Cardinals started with a solo homer to make it 1–0 in the first. Then in the third, Perez reached his limit after surrendering five two-out runs. Larry Walker's solo homer made it 2–0. Then Edgar Rentería doubled in two runs before scoring on Jim Edmonds's two-run homer—that made it 6–0 Cardinals. And Mike Matheny homered to make it 7–0 in the fourth. Kiko Calero and Ray King followed Williams' six solid innings with a perfect seventh and eighth. Jason Isringhausen closed out the game after allowing a home run in the ninth.
Game 2, October 7 
|WP: Dan Haren (1–0) LP: Jeff Weaver (0–1)
LAD: Jayson Werth (1), Shawn Green (1), Milton Bradley (1)
Jeff Weaver faced Jason Marquis in Game 2. The Dodgers gave Weaver a lead when Jayson Werth homered in the first to make it 1–0. But Weaver's luck would start to run out in the second. His error allowed the Cardinals to tie the game and set up Tony Womack for a big triple that gave the Cardinals the lead. Then he would score on Larry Walker's double. The Cardinals now had a 3–1 lead. But back-to-back homers by the Dodgers to lead off the fourth tied the game. Marquis was removed in favor of Cal Eldred. With Weaver still pitching in the fifth, the Cards put up three runs, the final two driven in by Mike Matheny's RBI hit. Matheny would also come through in the seventh with another two-run hit. The Cardinals' solid bullpen held the Dodgers as they cruised to another 8–3 win.
Game 3, October 9 
|WP: José Lima (1–0) LP: Matt Morris (0–1)
LAD: Shawn Green 2 (3)
With time running out, the Dodgers called on José Lima for Game 3. Opposing him would be Matt Morris. Both pitchers kept the game quiet until the third. The Dodgers would take the lead for only the second time in the series with a two-run double by Steve Finley. Then Shawn Green followed with a leadoff homer in the fourth. Lima would keep the Cardinals silent all night and Green would homer once again the sixth to make it 4–0. Lima would pitch a complete-game five-hit shutout to give the Dodgers their first postseason win since the clinching Game 5 of the 1988 World Series.
Game 4, October 10 
|WP: Jeff Suppan (1–0) LP: Wilson Álvarez (0–1)
STL: Reggie Sanders (1), Albert Pujols (2)
LAD: Jayson Werth (2)
All the momentum the Dodgers might have had disappeared in Game 4. Jeff Suppan faced Odalis Pérez and Jayson Werth would strike against Suppan with a one-out homer in the first to make it 1–0 Dodgers. But Reggie Sanders would homer as well to tie the game in the second. Then a base hit by Edgar Rentería gave the Cardinals the lead in the third. But the Dodgers would tie the game on a sac fly by Adrián Beltré. However, Wilson Álvarez would face Albert Pujols with two men on in the fourth and surrender a three-run homer to give the Cardinals a commanding 5–2 lead. Then Pujols would single home Larry Walker to give the Cardinals a 6–2 lead in the seventh. That marked the end for the Dodgers as Alex Cora struck out to end the series in the ninth.
Composite line score 
|St. Louis Cardinals||1||4||6||4||3||0||4||0||0||22||33||0|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||2||0||3||3||1||2||0||0||1||12||25||3|
|Total attendance: 216,615 Average attendance: 54,154|
Atlanta vs. Houston 
Game 1, October 6 
|WP: Roger Clemens (1–0) LP: Jaret Wright (0–1)
HOU: Brad Ausmus (1), Lance Berkman (1), Carlos Beltrán (1), Jason Lane (1)
ATL: Andruw Jones (1)
Roger Clemens faced Jaret Wright in Game 1. Clemens would allow a run to score in the bottom of the first on Johnny Estrada's sac fly. Wright cruised through the first two inning but ran into trouble in the third. Brad Ausmus's leadoff homer tied the game and after two quick outs, Carlos Beltrán singled. Jeff Bagwell followed with the go-ahead double. Then Lance Berkman homered to put the Astros up 4–1. In the fifth, the Astros got two more on Beltrán's two-run homer to make it 6–1. The bullpen gave way and allowed yet another run to make it 7–1. But the Braves would scratch out runs in the fifth and sixth on a homer by Andruw Jones and an RBI groundout by Marcus Giles. But no more could be done against the Astros as they tacked on two more to win Game 1, 9–3.
Game 2, October 7 
|WP: Antonio Alfonseca (1–0) LP: Dan Miceli (0–1)
HOU: Jeff Bagwell (1), Raul Chavez (1)
ATL: Rafael Furcal (1)
The Astros jumped off to an early 2–0 lead off Braves starter Mike Hampton thanks to two solo homers by Jeff Bagwell in the first and Raul Chavez in the third. Hampton would leave in the seventh with an injured arm having allowed only two runs. In the seventh, Astros starter Roy Oswalt, who was working on a shutout, began to falter as he allowed a pinch-hit double to DeWayne Wise. Then Rafael Furcal would single him home to make it 2–1. In a bizarre incident, the Astros' bullpen phone stopped working and someone had to check the status of their relievers. It caused a delay that Braves manager Bobby Cox protested. This occurred after Oswalt gave up his only run of the game. The bullpen would save the inning and the game remained 2–1 until the bottom of the eighth. Then Adam LaRoche would tie the game with an RBI double with the Astros five outs away from taking a commanding 2–0 lead in the series. As the game moved to extra innings, Charles Thomas would single with one out in the bottom of the eleventh. After Eli Marrero struck out, Thomas stole second. Then Rafael Furcal would hit a game-winning two-run homer to tie the series at one game apiece.
Game 3, October 9 
|WP: Brandon Backe (1–0) LP: Paul Byrd (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
ATL: Johnny Estrada (1), Andruw Jones (2)
HOU: Carlos Beltrán (2)
John Thomson faced Brandon Backe in Game 3. Thomson would leave the game in the first with a strained muscle on his left side after surrendering a double and a walk with one out. Paul Byrd came on in relief and got out of the inning. But in the third, Carlos Beltrán put the Astros on top with a two-run homer. In the fourth, the Braves issued their response with a homer from Johnny Estrada and an RBI hit by Byrd. The game was now tied at two. The Astros, however, would waste little time in taking back the lead. Jeff Kent would hit an RBI double off the scoreboard and would later score on Morgan Ensberg's RBI hit. It was now 4–2 Astros and Byrd was gone. Against Antonio Alfonseca in the bottom of the sixth, the Astros put two men on and Alfonseca would leave in favor of Tom Martin. He could do little to stop the rally as three runs would score and he could record no outs. It was now 7–2 Astros. Then a sac fly in the seventh by Mike Lamb made it 8–2. But the Braves would not go quietly. The Braves would put their first two men on in the eighth and, after two strikeouts, Andruw Jones hit a three-run homer to cut the lead in half. But Brad Lidge would hold down the opposition in the ninth for the win.
Game 4, October 10 
|WP: John Smoltz (1–0) LP: Russ Springer (0–1)
ATL: Adam LaRoche (1)
HOU: Craig Biggio (1)
With their backs to the wall in Game 4, the Braves sent Russ Ortiz to the mound to face the Roger Clemens. The Braves would get off to a good start with a two-run second inning thanks to three straight hits to open the inning. But the Astros would strike back against Ortiz. They would put two men on for the face of the Astros franchise, Craig Biggio. He would then hit a three-run homer to give the Astros a 4–2 lead. Then Carlos Beltrán would double and score to make it 5–2 Astros. Behind Clemens, the Astros were closing in on their first ever postseason series win. But Clemens left the game in favor of Chad Qualls. However, Qualls would surrender the lead when he gave up a three-run homer to Adam LaRoche to tie the game in the sixth. The game was now tied and the life was sucked out of the crowd. The game remained 5–5 until the ninth when the Braves would take the lead thanks to J.D. Drew's RBI single. But the Astros would put the winning run on for Jeff Kent. But John Smoltz would get Kent to ground into a double play to send the series back to Atlanta.
Game 5, October 11 
|WP: Roy Oswalt (1–0) LP: Jaret Wright (0–2)
HOU: Carlos Beltrán 2 (4), Jeff Bagwell (2)
ATL: Rafael Furcal (2), Johnny Estrada (2)
Roy Oswalt took on Jaret Wright in the clinching Game 5. In the top of the second, the Astros took a 2–0 lead on a groundout and a sac fly. Then Carlos Beltrán homered in the third to make it 3–0. But the Braves brought the game back to life with a pair of homers by Rafael Furcal and Johnny Estrada in the fifth. But Beltrán's second homer in the sixth made it 4–2. When Chris Reitsma took the mound in the seventh, the Astros were able to put the series away with a five-run explosion. The most notable hit was Jeff Bagwell's two-run homer. And in the eighth the Astros added insult to injury with three more runs, an inning capped by Beltrán's two-run single. Dan Wheeler would come on the shut the door on the Braves in the ninth. Chipper Jones's flyout to left gave the Astros the win in Game 5 and gave them their first ever postseason series win. After 43 years and multiple losses to the Braves in the playoffs, the Astros exorcised the demons and moved on to the NLCS.
Composite line score 
|Total attendance: 222,490 Average attendance: 44,498|
- "2004 NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "2004 NLDS - Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves - Game 5". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.