As the St. Louis Cardinals moved to take a 3-1 series lead on the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, let's take a look back at the highlights of three previous NLCS involving the Redbirds.
2005After sweeping the San Diego Padres 3-0 in the 2005 NLDS, the Cardinals shifted their attention towards divisional rival Houston for the best-of-seven NLCS. Backed by MVP Albert Pujols and Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals took Game 1 in St. Louis by the count of 4-3. The Cardinals would not fare well after their opening game win, dropping the next three to the Astros. Supported by dominant starting pitchers Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt and a "lights out" closer in Brad Lidge, the Cardinals had their backs against the wall down three games to one. In Game 5 the Cards still proved they had some fight left after Albert Pujols launched a massive home run off of Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth inning to lead Redbirds past the Astros 5-4. Their glimmer of hope faded, however, as yet another dominating pitching performance by Roy Oswalt in Game 6 closed the door on the Cardinals' 2005 season.
Even after posting a mediocre 83-78 record in the 2006 regular season, the Cardinals managed to take the National League Central Division title. In a repeat matchup of the 2005 NLDS, the Cards defeated the Padres three games to one. The Cardinals, making their third straight NLCS, were set to face the New York Mets next. The Mets took Game 1 of the series 2-0 propelled by a two-run home run by current St. Louis Cardinal Carlos Beltran. The Redbirds won an exciting Game 2 after pinch-hitter So Taguchi launched a solo home run in the top of ninth, breaking a 6-6 tie. The Cardinals would go on to take the game 9-6. After splitting the next four games, the pivotal Game 7 was played at Shea Stadium. Highlighted by electric performances by starting pitchers Oliver Perez and Jeff Suppan, the game moved to the top of the ninth inning tied at one run apiece. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina provided the ninth inning power, launching a two run homer off of Mets' reliever Aaron Heilman to take a 3-1 lead. The drama continued into the bottom of the inning however as closer Adam Wainwright faced a bases loaded jam against perineal Cardinal headache Carlos Beltran. Wainwright would end the threat with an 0-2 strikeout and send the Cardinals to the World Series where they would go on to defeat the Detroit Tigers in five games.
Claiming the National League Wild Card in dramatic fashion on the last day of the season, the Cardinals were pitted against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. After defeating the Phillies 3-2, the Cards advanced to the NLCS where they faced off against the Milwaukee Brewers. After jumping out to a promising 5-2 lead in Game 1, the Redbirds would go on to lose 9-6. The Brewers' power proved to be too much as Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt all hit home runs. In Game 2, The Cardinals erupted for 12 runs, backed by a dominating effort by Pujols which included a home run, three doubles, and five RBI's. After taking two of the next three games and taking a 3-2 lead, the series moved back to Milwaukee for Game 6. The powerful Cardinal offense, led by NLCS MVP David Freese's three run home run, would be the difference in a 12-6 win which clinched the series. The Cardinals would go on to beat the American League pennant winner Texas Rangers in a dramatic seven game series for their eleventh World Series title.
2012Will the Cardinals defeat the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 and earn another World Series berth? Or will it be the Giants who take the momentum and send the series back to the City by the Bay for Game 6? Tune in Friday, October 19th at 9:07 EST/ 8:07 CST and catch all the excitement on Fox.
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