2005 National League Championship Series
|Dates:||October 12 – 19|
|MVP:||Roy Oswalt (Houston)|
|TV announcers:||Thom Brennaman, Steve Lyons and Bob Brenly|
|Radio announcers:||Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell|
|Umpires:||Tim McClelland, Greg Gibson, Wally Bell, Phil Cuzzi, Larry Poncino, Gerry Davis|
|NLDS:||St. Louis Cardinals over San Diego Padres (3–0)|
|Houston Astros over Atlanta Braves (3–1)|
|2005 World Series|
The 2005 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2005 National League playoffs, matched the Central Division champion and defending league champion St. Louis Cardinals against the wild card qualifier Houston Astros, a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. The Cardinals, by virtue of having the best record in the NL during the 2005 season, had the home-field advantage. The Astros won the series four games to two, and became the National League champions; they faced the American League champion Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.
The Cardinals and Astros were victorious in the NL Division Series (NLDS), with the Cardinals defeating the West Division champion San Diego Padres three games to none, and the Astros defeating the East Division champion Atlanta Braves three games to one. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who won AL pennants with the Oakland Athletics in 1988–89–90 and the NL flag in 2004, fell short in his bid to become the first manager in history to win multiple pennants in both major leagues. The NLCS also closed with the last game ever played at St. Louis' Busch Stadium (II), which the Cardinals departed after 40 seasons.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros
Houston won the series, 4–2.
|1||October 12||Houston Astros – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 5||Busch Stadium (II)||2:29||52,332|
|2||October 13||Houston Astros – 4, St. Louis Cardinals – 1||Busch Stadium (II)||3:03||52,358|
|3||October 15||St. Louis Cardinals – 3, Houston Astros – 4||Minute Maid Park||3:00||42,823|
|4||October 16||St. Louis Cardinals – 1, Houston Astros – 2||Minute Maid Park||3:11||43,010|
|5||October 17||St. Louis Cardinals – 5, Houston Astros – 4||Minute Maid Park||3:19||43,470|
|6||October 19||Houston Astros – 5, St. Louis Cardinals – 1||Busch Stadium (II)||2:53||52,438|
|WP: Chris Carpenter (1–0) LP: Andy Pettitte (0–1) Sv: Jason Isringhausen (1)
HOU: Chris Burke (1)
STL: Reggie Sanders (1)
In the series opener, the Cardinals won 5–3 behind a strong pitching performance by Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and a two-run home run by Reggie Sanders in the first inning. Houston starter Andy Pettitte was struck by a batted ball during batting practice but made the start as scheduled.
|WP: Roy Oswalt (1–0) LP: Mark Mulder (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
STL: Albert Pujols (1)
Roy Oswalt provided the lift the Astros needed, scattering five hits over seven innings. The Cardinal bullpen continued its playoff struggles, giving up two runs in the eighth. Brad Lidge continued his dominance over the Cardinals, pitching the final two innings for the save.
|WP: Roger Clemens (1–0) LP: Matt Morris (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (2)
HOU: Mike Lamb (1)
Roger Clemens pitched a solid six innings, Chad Qualls pitched two hitless innings, and Brad Lidge gave up the first run he has allowed against the Cardinals since May 29, 2003, but held on for the save to give the Astros a 2–1 series lead. It was Clemens' twelfth career postseason win, and his fifth in League Championship Series games.
|WP: Chad Qualls (1–0) LP: Jason Marquis (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (3)
HOU: Jason Lane (1)
Brandon Backe provided a strong outing, and the Astro bullpen continued its strong performance. Tony La Russa and Jim Edmonds were both ejected for arguing balls and strikes on separate instances—LaRussa in the bottom of the seventh, Edmonds in the top of the eighth, at a key moment. Edmonds's ejection came with a 3–2 count, two outs, and a runner on base. Edmonds was replaced by pinch hitter John Rodríguez, who flied out to deep center field to end the scoring threat. The Cardinals once again had an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead in the ninth inning against closer Brad Lidge. Albert Pujols and Larry Walker led off the inning with back-to-back singles, putting runners at first and third base with no outs. Reggie Sanders grounded to third; Pujols went home on contact and was thrown out at the plate. Larry Walker advanced to third when the Astros failed to call timeout after the play at the plate. John Mabry ended the threat by grounding into a double play. La Russa's ejection marked the first time a manager was ejected from a postseason game since 1998, when Mike Hargrove was thrown out of a game between his Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees. Houston was one game away from the franchise's first visit to the World Series after a 2–1 Game 4 win.
|WP: Jason Isringhausen (1–0) LP: Brad Lidge (0–1)
STL: Albert Pujols (2)
HOU: Lance Berkman (1)
Lance Berkman erased a 1–2 Astros deficit and gave excited Astros fans a 4–2 lead with one swing on a pitch from Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Astros were one strike away from claiming their first NL Pennant and trip to the Fall Classic before David Eckstein singled with no one on base, Jim Edmonds walked, and Albert Pujols hit a dramatic, towering three-run home run off Astros closer Brad Lidge that bounced off the side of the closed Minute Maid Park roof before landing on the railroad tracks in left field. The home run gave the Cardinals a 5–4 lead in the top of the ninth inning and, eventually, a 5–4 win. The Cardinals guaranteed that another game would be played at historic Busch Stadium (II). The win also broke the Cardinals' seven-game losing streak in road NLCS games. The game was eerily reminiscent of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS between the California Angels and the Boston Red Sox. The Angels were one strike away from going to the franchise's first trip to the World Series in front of their home crowd when Dave Henderson hit a two-run home run off Angels closer Donnie Moore in a game the Red Sox went on to win in extra innings. The Red Sox won the final two games of the series in Boston to complete the comeback from a three games to one deficit. The Astros' lead was trimmed to two games to one in the series.
|WP: Roy Oswalt (2–0) LP: Mark Mulder (0–2)
HOU: Jason Lane (2)
The Astros shook off the effects of their Game 5 loss, and rolled to win their first National League pennant in 44 seasons of existence with a decisive 5–1 win over the Cardinals. Roy Oswalt pitched seven strong innings and Jason Lane contributed with a home run as the visiting Houston Astros defeated St. Louis which would become the final game at Busch Stadium (II).
|St. Louis Cardinals||2||1||2||1||4||2||0||0||4||16||39||5|
|Total attendance: 286,431 Average attendance: 47,739|
- "2005 NLCS Game 1 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2005 NLCS Game 2 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2005 NLCS Game 3 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2005 NLCS Game 4 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2005 NLCS Game 5 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2005 NLCS Game 6 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.