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For the third time in their history, the Astros were in the NLCS. And, as was the 1980 and 1986 series, it was a classic series for the ages.
The home team won each of the first five games, including a 3-0 thriller in Game 5 when Jeff Kent ended a scoreless tie with a walk off three-run jack.
The Astros were one win from the World Series when starter Pete Munro was knocked out of the game in the third inning. Phil Garner had to go to his bullpen much earlier than he wanted, and that would come back to haunt the Astros.
The Cardinals took a 4-3 lead into the ninth inning and closer Jason Isringhausen was one out away from sending the series to a seventh game. But Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell got a two-out RBI single to tie the game at 4.
A double steal by Carlos Beltran and Bagwell put two runners in scoring position for Lance Berkman and a chance to put the Astros ahead going into the bottom of the ninth was 90 feet away. But Lance Berkman struck out.
Now Garner had to bring in his closer Brad Lidge to keep the Cardinals at bay. He responded with a perfect 9th, 10th and 11th. But the Astros, looking to win the pennant with a run and a scoreless bottom of the inning, couldn't get on base.
Finally, an exhausted Lidge was lifted and Dan Miceli came in to pitch the 10th. Pujols walked and with one out, Jim Edmonds launched a walk-off shot to tie the series up.
The Cardinals would come from behind the next game and clinch the National League pennant.