2004 National League Championship Series

The 2004 National League Championship Series (NLCS) was a Major League Baseball playoff series played from October 13 to 21 to determine the champion of the National League, between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild-card qualifying Houston Astros. This marked the first time in either Major League that two teams from the Central Division met in a Championship Series.

In a series in which all seven games were won by the home team, the Cardinals won 4–3 to advance to the World Series against the American League champion Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox reached their first World Series since 1986, with the Cardinals playing in their first since 1987. While the NLCS was an exciting back-and-forth series, it was overshadowed in media attention by Boston's comeback in the ALCS.

The Cardinals would go on to lose in a sweep to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series in four games.

2004 National League Championship Series
2004NLCSLogo
Teams
Team (Wins) Manager Season
St. Louis Cardinals (4) Tony La Russa 105–57, .648, GA: 13
Houston Astros (3) Phil Garner 92–70, .568, GB: 13
DatesOctober 13–21
MVPAlbert Pujols (St. Louis)
UmpiresTim Welke, Eric Cooper, Gary Darling, Mike Winters, Angel Hernandez, Ed Rapuano
NLDS
Broadcast
TelevisionFox
TV announcersThom Brennaman, Steve Lyons and Bob Brenly
RadioESPN
Radio announcersDan Shulman and Dave Campbell

Summary

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros

St. Louis won the series, 4–3.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 13 Houston Astros – 7, St. Louis Cardinals – 10 Busch Stadium (II) 3:15 52,323[1] 
2 October 14 Houston Astros – 4, St. Louis Cardinals – 6 Busch Stadium (II) 3:02 52,347[2] 
3 October 16 St. Louis Cardinals – 2, Houston Astros – 5 Minute Maid Park 2:57 42,896[3] 
4 October 17 St. Louis Cardinals – 5, Houston Astros – 6 Minute Maid Park 3:01 42,760[4] 
5 October 18 St. Louis Cardinals – 0, Houston Astros – 3 Minute Maid Park 2:33 43,045[5] 
6 October 20 Houston Astros – 4, St. Louis Cardinals – 6 (12 innings) Busch Stadium (II) 3:54 52,144[6] 
7 October 21 Houston Astros – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 5 Busch Stadium (II) 2:51 52,140[7]

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 13, 2004 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 1 7 10 1
St. Louis 2 0 0 0 2 6 0 0 X 10 12 0
WP: Woody Williams (1–0)   LP: Chad Qualls (0–1)   Sv: Jason Isringhausen (1)
Home runs:
HOU: Carlos Beltrán (1), Jeff Kent (1), Lance Berkman (1), Mike Lamb (1)
STL: Albert Pujols (1)

The series opener at St. Louis' Busch Stadium was a slugfest involving five home runs, 17 runs, and 22 hits, eventually won by St. Louis, 10–7. Houston struck the first blow of the series when Carlos Beltrán hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning after a leadoff single off Woody Williams. The Cardinals answered with a home run by Albert Pujols in the bottom half after a one-out triple off Brandon Backe, tying the game at two. Houston took a 4–2 lead in the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Jeff Kent, but the Cards tied it again in the fifth on Larry Walker's RBI double off Backe and Scott Rolen's RBI single off Chad Qualls. In the sixth, Edgar Renteria and Reggie Sanders hit back-to-back leadoff singles before a sacrifice bunt moved them up one base. Pinch hitter Roger Cedeno's groundout scored Renteria to put the Cardinals up 3–2 for the first time in this game. Tony Womack followed with an RBI single, then stole second before scoring on Walker's single aided by shortstop Jose Vizcaino's error. After Qualls walked Pujols, Chad Harville in relief walked Rolen to load the bases before Jim Edmonds cleared them with a double to put the Cardinals up 10-4. The Astros cut it to 10−6 with a two-run home run from Lance Berkman in the eighth off Ray King. Next inning, a two-out solo home run from Mike Lamb off Julian Tavarez made it 10−7. Craig Biggio then hit a ground-rule double before Jason Isringhausen relieved Julian Tavarez and got Beltran to ground out to first on the first pitch to end the game.[1] All seven of the Astros' runs in Game 1 were scored on home runs.

Game 2

Thursday, October 14, 2004 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 4 10 1
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 2 X 6 9 0
WP: Julián Tavárez (1–0)   LP: Dan Miceli (0–1)   Sv: Jason Isringhausen (2)
Home runs:
HOU: Carlos Beltrán (2), Morgan Ensberg (1)
STL: Larry Walker (1), Scott Rolen 2 (2), Albert Pujols (2)

The Astros scored three runs off Cardinals' Matt Morris on home runs by Carlos Beltran in the first and Morgan Ensberg in the fourth. Lance Berkman added an RBI single in the fifth with two on, but in the bottom of the inning, two-run home runs from Larry Walker off starter Peter Munro and Scott Rolen off reliever Chad Harville put the Cardinals up 4−3. The Astros tied it in the seventh off Kiko Calero when Berkman hit a leadoff double, stole third and scored on Ensberg's single, but the Cardinals retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back home runs from Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen off Dan Miceli. Jason Isringhausen pitched a scoreless ninth despite allowing two walks as the Cardinals' 6−4 win put them up 2−0 in the series heading to Houston.

Game 3

Saturday, October 16, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
Houston 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 X 5 8 0
WP: Roger Clemens (1–0)   LP: Jeff Suppan (0–1)   Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
Home runs:
STL: Larry Walker (2), Jim Edmonds (1)
HOU: Jeff Kent (2), Carlos Beltrán (3), Lance Berkman (2)

In the first game of the series played in Houston's Minute Maid Park, the Cardinals went up 1−0 in the first on Larry Walker's one-out home run, but the Astros tied it in the bottom of the inning off Jeff Suppan on Lance Berkman's RBI single before Jeff Kent's two-run home run put them up 3−1. Jim Edmonds' leadoff home run in the second cut it to 3−2, but the Astros added two insurance runs in the eighth on home runs from Carlos Beltran off Dan Haren and Berkman off Ray King. Roger Clemens pitched seven innings for the 5−2 win, which left the Astros trailing 2–1 in the series.

Game 4

Sunday, October 17, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 9 0
Houston 1 0 2 0 0 2 1 0 X 6 9 0
WP: Dan Wheeler (1–0)   LP: Julián Tavárez (1–1)   Sv: Brad Lidge (2)
Home runs:
STL: Albert Pujols (3)
HOU: Lance Berkman (3), Carlos Beltrán (4)

The Cardinals struck first in Game 3 when Roy Oswalt walked Larry Walker with one out before Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run. Scott Rolen then doubled, moved to third on a groundout, and after a walk, scored on John Mabry's single to put the Cardinals up 3−0. The Astros cut it to 3−1 in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Beltran walked with one out off Jeff Bagwell's double off Jason Marquis. In the top of the third, Pujols drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on Rolen's single and scored on Jim Edmonds' sacrifice fly, but the Astros cut the lead to 4−3 when Beltran and Bagwell singled with one out and scored on Lance Berkman's double. Pujols's single with two on in the fourth put the Cardinals up 5−3, but the Astros cut the lead back to one on Berkman's leadoff home run in the sixth off Kiko Calero. Jose Vizcaino doubled two outs later and scored on Raul Chavez's single to tie the game. Next inning, Beltran's home run off Julian Tavarez put the Astros up 6−5. Brad Lidge pitched two shutout innings for the save as the Astros evened the series with the Cardinals at two games apiece. Beltrán tied records for the most home runs in a single postseason (8) and most consecutive postseason games with a home run (5). The latter record would be broken by Daniel Murphy in Game Four of the 2015 NLCS.

Game 5

Monday, October 18, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Houston 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 0
WP: Brad Lidge (1–0)   LP: Jason Isringhausen (0–1)
Home runs:
STL: None
HOU: Jeff Kent (3)

The Astros defeated the Cardinals 3–0 in Game 5 with Jeff Kent driving in the winning runs with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth off Jason Isringhausen. Astros starter Brandon Backe took a perfect game into the fifth inning, when he walked Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds, and allowed only one hit (a single to second baseman Tony Womack in the sixth) in eight innings. The Cardinals' Woody Williams was nearly as effective, allowing only one hit (a two-out single to Jeff Bagwell in the first) and two walks over seven innings. Houston led the best-of-seven series 3–2 and was one win away from their first World Series appearance.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Houston 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 10 0
St. Louis 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 15 0
WP: Julián Tavárez (2–1)   LP: Dan Miceli (0–2)
Home runs:
HOU: Mike Lamb (2)
STL: Albert Pujols (4), Jim Edmonds (2)

Returning to St. Louis, Matt Morris started Game 6 for the Cardinals, as did Pete Munro for the Astros. The scoring began with Carlos Beltrán walking with one out, stealing second, moving to third on a single, and scoring on Lance Berkman's sacrifice fly in the first. The Cardinals responded in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run by Albert Pujols. In the third, Beltrán singled with two outs and scored on Jeff Bagwell's double to tie the game. Again, the Cardinals responded when Édgar Rentería hit a two-run single scoring Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen in the bottom of the inning. Mike Lamb's home run in the fourth cut the Cardinals' lead to 4−3. In the top of the ninth inning Bagwell hit a two-out single off Jason Isringhausen, scoring Morgan Ensberg for the tying run. The game went into extra innings and ended when Jim Edmonds, who hit 42 home runs in the regular season, hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the twelfth off Dan Miceli, sending the series to a Game 7 showdown.

Game 7

Thursday, October 21, 2004 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0
St. Louis 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 1 X 5 9 1
WP: Jeff Suppan (1–1)   LP: Roger Clemens (1–1)   Sv: Jason Isringhausen (3)
Home runs:
HOU: Craig Biggio (1)
STL: Scott Rolen (3)

The final, deciding Game 7 started off with Astros' leadoff man Craig Biggio smacking a home run in the game's first at-bat off Cardinals' starter Jeff Suppan to make it 1–0. The Astros' threat continued in the second by putting two men on, but, thanks to a tremendous catch by center fielder Jim Edmonds, the Cardinals were able to get out of the inning unscathed. In the third, however, the Astros made it 2–0 with Carlos Beltrán, who walked and stole second, scoring on Jeff Bagwell's sacrifice fly aided by Edmonds's error. The Cardinals cut it to 2−1 in the bottom of the inning when Tony Womack hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Jeff Suppan's bunt groundout. Then in the sixth Albert Pujols doubled to score Roger Cedeno from third to tie the game and Scott Rolen put the Redbirds ahead with a two-run home run off Roger Clemens. St. Louis added another run in the eighth off Roy Oswalt when pinch hitter Marlon Anderson hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Larry Walker's single. Jason Isringhausen shut down Houston in the ninth to win the Cardinals their first National League pennant in seventeen years.

Composite box

2004 NLCS (4–3): St. Louis Cardinals over Houston Astros

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 8 1 4 1 6 9 0 3 0 0 0 2 34 60 1
Houston Astros 9 0 4 4 1 2 2 4 5 0 0 0 31 53 2
Total attendance: 337,655   Average attendance: 48,236

Notes

  1. ^ a b "2004 NLCS Game 1 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 2 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 3 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 4 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 5 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 6 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "2004 NLCS Game 7 - Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

2006 National League Championship Series

The 2006 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2006 National League playoffs, began on October 12 and ended on October 19; it was scheduled to begin on October 11, but was postponed a day because of inclement weather. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the heavily favored New York Mets in seven games to advance to the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cardinals and the Mets took the series to the limit, reaching the 9th inning of Game 7 tied at 1–1. The Cardinals took the lead with Yadier Molina's two-run home run off Mets reliever Aaron Heilman in the 9th to put his team ahead, 3–1. Adam Wainwright would then hold the Mets scoreless in the bottom of the 9th to give St. Louis their second pennant in three years and 17th in club history, placing them one behind the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for most in NL modern history (since 1903). The Cardinals were making their third consecutive appearance in the NLCS; manager Tony La Russa, who led St. Louis to the 2004 pennant and previously won AL titles with the Oakland Athletics from 1988–90, became the first manager in history to win multiple pennants in both leagues.

The Mets, handicapped after season-ending injuries to Pedro Martínez and Orlando Hernández, qualified for postseason play for the first time since 2000. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers three games to none in the NL Division Series, while the Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres three games to one. The Mets had home-field advantage due to their better record in the regular season (the Mets were 97–65, the Cardinals 83–78). The Mets and Cardinals previously met in the 2000 NLCS, which the Mets won in five games.

The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series in five games.

2011 World Series

The 2011 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2011 season. The 107th edition of World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Texas Rangers and the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals; the Cardinals defeated the Rangers in seven games to win their 11th World Series championship and their first since 2006.

The Series was noted for its back-and-forth Game 6, in which the Cardinals erased a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning, then did it again in the 10th. In both innings, the Rangers were one strike away from their first World Series championship. The Cardinals won the game in the 11th inning on a walk-off home run by David Freese. The Series was also known for the blowout Game 3, in which Cardinals player Albert Pujols hit three home runs, a World Series feat previously accomplished only by Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth, and subsequently by Pablo Sandoval (in 2012).

The Series began on October 19, earlier than the previous season so that no games would be played in November. The Cardinals enjoyed home-field advantage for the series because the NL won the 2011 All-Star Game 5–1 on July 12. The 2011 World Series was the first World Series to go all seven games since the 2002 Series.

2017 American League Championship Series

The 2017 American League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the Houston Astros against the New York Yankees for the American League pennant and the right to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. The Astros defeated the Yankees in 7 games after falling behind 3 games to 2. The home team won every game in the series.

This was the first time in history that the ALCS and NLCS teams were from the four most populous U.S. cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.For the first time, Major League Baseball sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series; this ALCS was sponsored by Camping World and was officially known as the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World.The Astros would go on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in seven games, winning their first World Series championship in franchise history.

Game seven

A game seven is the final game of a best of seven series. This game can occur in the postseasons for Major League Baseball (MLB) (League Championship Series and World Series), the National Basketball Association (NBA) (all rounds of the NBA playoffs), and the National Hockey League (NHL) (all rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs).

The game is generally played at the site of the team holding the home advantage across the series.

The nature of a best-of-seven series requires that the series be tied 3–3 going into game seven, such that either team can take the series (advancing further in the playoffs or winning the championship) by winning the game. Because of this decisive nature, game sevens add an element of drama to their sports.

Aside from North American sports leagues, game sevens are also a fixture in many other sports around the world, mostly in baseball, basketball, and ice hockey leagues. Most codes of football do not employ a best-of-seven series (or any best-of-x series in general), hence game sevens are not played in those leagues.

Some playoff rounds (such as MLB's current Division Series) are played in a best of five format, such that game 5 has similar qualities to those described above, though the suspense and drama have less time to build in a shorter series. Furthermore, the World Series of 1903, 1919, 1920, and 1921 were played in a best of nine format, though none of the four went to a decisive game 9.

The game seven is comparable to a final or to a single game in a single-elimination tournament or to a one-game playoff. A championship series' game seven is equivalent to the Super Bowl game in the National Football League in that the game's winner is the league's champion for the season.

Jeff Kent

Jeffrey Franklin Kent (born March 7, 1968) is an American former professional baseball second baseman. He played seventeen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1992 to 2008 for the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kent won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2000 with the San Francisco Giants, and is the all-time leader in home runs among second basemen. He drove in 90 or more runs from 1997 to 2005, a streak of run production for a second baseman which is a position typically known for its defense. Kent is a five-time All-Star, and his 560 career doubles put him tied for 21st on the all-time doubles list.

Jim Edmonds

James Patrick Edmonds (born June 27, 1970) is an American former center fielder in Major League Baseball and a broadcaster for Fox Sports Midwest. He played for the California/Anaheim Angels, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cincinnati Reds from 1993 to 2010.

Although perhaps best known for his defensive abilities, particularly his catches, Edmonds also was a prolific hitter, batting .284 with 393 home runs and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .903. He is affectionately known by Cardinal fans as "Jimmy Baseball" and "Jimmy Ballgame".

Jim Hickey (baseball)

James Joseph Hickey (born October 12, 1961) is a former pitching coach and a retired American Minor League Baseball pitcher. Hickey was the pitching coach for the Tampa Bay Rays for eleven seasons, as well as the Chicago Cubs for one season.

Jimy Williams

James Francis "Jimy" Williams (born October 4, 1943) is an American former professional baseball infielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was born in Santa Maria, California, and briefly appeared in two MLB seasons as a second baseman and shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. After his playing career, he managed in the California Angels' minor league system before managing at the MLB level for the Toronto Blue Jays (1986–89), Boston Red Sox (1997–2001) and Houston Astros (2002–04), and was the American League Manager of the Year in 1999. He has also coached for Toronto, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.

Sports-related curses

A sports-related curse is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a "curse" for many negative things, such as their inability to win a sports championship, or unexpected injuries.

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