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, although he did so in 2006 and again in 2011. 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)
The Cardinals struck first in Game 1 when David Eckstein hit a leadoff single in the first off of starter Andy Pettitte, who was struck by a batted ball during batting practice but made the start as scheduled, then Reggie Sanders's home run two outs later put them up 2−0. Mark Grudzielanek singled to lead off the second, moved to third on Abraham Nunez's single one out later, and scored on Chris Carpenter's sacrifice bunt. In the fifth, Nunez again hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Eckstein's single with Eckstein reaching second on right fielder Jason Lane's throw to home. One out later, Albert Pujols's RBI single made it 5−0 Cardinals. Carpenter pitched six shutout innings before pinch hitter Chris Burke's two-run home run put the Astros on the board in the seventh. Brad Ausmus's sacrifice fly in the ninth off of Jason Isringhausen made it 5−3 Cardinals before pinch hitter Jose Vizcaino grounded out to end the game as the Cardinals went up 1−0 in the series.
|WP: Roy Oswalt (1–0) LP: Mark Mulder (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
STL: Albert Pujols (1)
The Astros struck first in Game 1 when Chris Burke tripled with one out in the second and scored on a passed ball by starter Mark Mulder. In the fifth, Brad Ausmus hit a leadoff double, moved to third on Roy Oswalt's sacrifice bunt and scored on Craig Biggio's ground out. Albert Pujols's leadoff home run off of Oswalt in the sixth put the Cardinals on the board, but they would get nothing more. The Astros scored two insurance runs in the eighth off of Julian Tavarez on Chris Burke's RBI single that scored Lance Berkman from third. followed by Adam Everett's RBI triple. Brad Lidge pitched two shutout innings for the save as the Astros' 4−1 tied the series at 1−1 heading to Houston.
|WP: Roger Clemens (1–0) LP: Matt Morris (0–1) Sv: Brad Lidge (2)
HOU: Mike Lamb (1)
In Game 3, Cardinals' starter Matt Morris pitched three shutout innings before walking Morgan Ensberg to lead off the fourth, then Mike Lamb's home run put the Astros up 2−0. In the fifth, Astros' Roger Clemens allowed back-to-back leadoff singles to Yadier Molina and Abraham Nunez. Morris's sacrifice bunt moved them up one base each before David Eckstein's sacrifice fly put the Cardinals on the board. Clemens again allowed back-to-back leadoff singles next inning to Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds before Larry Walker's sacrifice fly tied the game. In the bottom of the inning, Lamb hit a one-out double and scored on Jason Lane's single. After Brad Ausmus singled, Brad Thompson relieved Morris and Adam Everett hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Lane to score to put the Astros up 4−2. Chad Qualls pitched two hitless innings before Brad Lidge retired the first two batters in the ninth before walking John Rodriguez, who moved to second on defensive indifference before scoring on John Mabry's double This is the first run Lidge 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, 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. The Cardinals struck first in the fourth when David Eckstein drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on Jim Edmonds's double, and scored on Albert Pujols's sacrifice fly, but the Astros tied in the bottom of the inning on Jason Lane's home run off of Jeff Suppan. The Astros loaded the bases in the seventh off of Jason Marquis on two walks and an error when Morgan Ensberg's sacrifice fly put them up 2−1. 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)
The Astros struck first in Game 5 on Craig Biggio's RBI single in the second off of starter Chris Carpenter, but the Cardinals loaded the bases on two hits and a walk off of Andy Pettitte when Mark Grudzielanek's two-run single put them up 2–1. Lance Berkman gave excited Astros fans a 4–2 lead with one swing on a pitch from 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. Jason Isringhausen retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the inning. 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 from 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. The Astros scored a run in the third when Cardinals' Mark Mulder threw a wild pitch to Craig Biggio with runners on second and third, then Biggio's RBI single scored another. Jason Lane's home run in the fourth put them up 3−0. Roy Oswalt pitched seven strong innings, allowing only a sacrifice fly to John Rodriguez in the fifth. The Astros scored one run in the sixth on Adam Everett's sacrifice bunt off of Jason Marquis and another in the seventh on Morgan Ensberg's RBI single off of Julian Tavarez. This was 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.