2006 National League Championship Series

Infobox LCS


year = 2006
champion = St. Louis Cardinals (4)
champion_manager = Tony La Russa
champion_games = 83-78, .516, GA: 1½
runnerup = New York Mets (3)
runnerup_manager = Willie Randolph
runnerup_games = 97-65, .599, GA: 12
date = October 11October 19
MVP = Jeff Suppan (St. Louis)
television = FOX
announcers = Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Luis Gonzalez
radio_network = ESPN Radio
radio_announcers = Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell
umpires = Tim Welke, Jim Joyce, Jerry Layne, Fieldin Culbreth, Jeff Kellogg, Gary Darling
LDS1 = New York Mets over Los Angeles Dodgers (3-0)
LDS2 = St. Louis Cardinals over San Diego Padres (3-1)
The by|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 upset the heavily-favored New York Mets in seven games to advance to the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cardinals and Mets took the series to the limit, reaching the ninth inning of Game 7 tied at 1-1, but the Cardinals benefited from Yadier Molina's two-run home run in the ninth to win the game, 3-1, and earn their second pennant in three years. St. Louis captured the 17th NL pennant in club history, placing them one behind the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for the most in the league after 1900. 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 had defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers three games to none in the NL Division Series, while the Cardinals had 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.

ummary

t. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets

St. Louis wins the series, 4-3†: Game 1 was postponed due to rain on October 11. Game 2 was subsequently pushed back a day as well.
‡: Game 5 was postponed due to rain on October 16.

Game summaries

Game 1

Thursday, October 12, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
R1=0|R2=0|R3=0|R4=0|R5=0|R6=0|R7=0|R8=0|R9=0|RR=0|RH=4|RE=0
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYM
H1=0|H2=0|H3=0|H4=0|H5=0|H6=2|H7=0|H8=0|H9=X|HR=2|HH=6|HE=0
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Tom Glavine (1-0)|LP=Jeff Weaver (0-1)|SV=Billy Wagner (1)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Carlos Beltrán (1)|

On a game pushed back a day by rain, both pitchers pitched magnificently. Tom Glavine earned the win with seven innings of shutout baseball. The only two runs came from a two-run homer by Carlos Beltrán off losing pitcher Jeff Weaver. Weaver pitched 5.2 shutout innings before giving up a single to Paul Lo Duca and then the home run by Beltrán. Glavine was aided by his defense, as the Mets turned two double plays. In the third inning, with runners on first and second, third baseman David Wright caught a line drive off the bat of David Eckstein and threw to second to double up Yadier Molina. In the following inning, Juan Encarnación flied out to shallow center to Beltrán, who threw to first on the run, doubling up Albert Pujols, who went 0-for-3 with a walk. Left fielder Endy Chávez also made an excellent diving play on a flare hit by Ronnie Belliard. He replaced Cliff Floyd, who left in the second inning when he reaggravated his injured Achilles tendon. Following the game, Albert Pujols was critical of Glavine's performance, saying that the Cards would have dominated him if they were on their "A" game.

Game 2

Friday, October 13, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
R1=0|R2=2|R3=2|R4=0|R5=0|R6=0|R7=2|R8=0|R9=3|RR=9|RH=10|RE=1
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYM
H1=3|H2=1|H3=0|H4=0|H5=1|H6=1|H7=0|H8=0|H9=0|HR=6|HH=9|HE=2
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Josh Kinney (1-0)|LP=Billy Wagner (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=So Taguchi (1), Jim Edmonds (1)|HomeHR=Carlos Delgado 2 (2)|

In an exciting back-and-forth game, the Cardinals erased three deficits en route to a 9-6 victory. In the first inning, Carlos Delgado hit a three-run home run and added another home run in the fifth, both off the Cardinals' ace, Chris Carpenter. Yadier Molina then drove in two runs with a double in the second inning. José Reyes and Paul Lo Duca added an RBI each, but Scott Spiezio, who started the game at third base in place of an injured Scott Rolen, had two hits and three RBIs, including a two-run triple on an 0-2 pitch in the seventh inning to tie the game, 6-6. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Julio Franco pinch-hit for Met pitcher Aaron Heilman, which made obvious that lefty closer Billy Wagner was coming into the game in the top of the ninth inning. Left fielder Chris Duncan, a lefty hitter, was due to lead off the top of the ninth. So, Duncan was pulled in favor of So Taguchi, a right-handed-hitting outfielder who was a better defensive option than Duncan. Taguchi led off the top of the ninth with a solo homer off Mets closer Billy Wagner to put the Cardinals ahead, 7-6. St. Louis would never look back, adding two more insurance runs.

Game 3

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYM
R1=0|R2=0|R3=0|R4=0|R5=0|R6=0|R7=0|R8=0|R9=0|RR=0|RH=3|RE=0
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
H1=2|H2=3|H3=0|H4=0|H5=0|H6=0|H7=0|H8=0|H9=X|HR=5|HH=8|HE=0
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Jeff Suppan (1-0)|LP=Steve Trachsel (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Jeff Suppan (1)|

In St. Louis for the first of three games, St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan pitched eight scoreless innings and helped his own cause with a homer as the Cardinals defeated the Mets, 5-0. Scott Spiezio hit a two-run triple (his second two-run triple in as many games) in the bottom of the first inning to put the Cardinals ahead, 2-0. St. Louis would add three more runs in the second to finish the scoring for the game. Met reliever Darren Oliver pitched six shutout innings to give the bullpen a rest after Met starter Steve Trachsel would only last one inning before being pulled after getting hit by a line drive off the bat of Preston Wilson, leaving with a bruised thigh. After the game, the Mets had not scored in 12 consecutive innings, making it 14 before scoring in the third inning of Game 4. On an interesting note, Jeff Suppan has only two career home runs, both of which have been hit off Steve Trachsel. His first career home run was hit on September 10, 2005.

Game 4

Sunday, October 15, 2006 at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYM
R1=0|R2=0|R3=2|R4=0|R5=3|R6=6|R7=1|R8=0|R9=0|RR=12|RH=14|RE=1
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
H1=0|H2=1|H3=1|H4=0|H5=1|H6=2|H7=0|H8=0|H9=0|HR=5|HH=11|HE=1
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Oliver Pérez (1-0)|LP=Brad Thompson (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Carlos Beltrán 2 (3), Carlos Delgado (3), David Wright (1)|HomeHR=David Eckstein (1), Jim Edmonds (2), Yadier Molina (1)|

Game 4 was a pivotal game for the Mets, who were staring down a potential three-games-to-one deficit. They sent young Oliver Pérez, who was picked up at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Pirates, to face the Cardinals' own young starter, Anthony Reyes. In a game that would see an NLCS-tying record seven home runs, the Cardinals grabbed an early lead in the bottom of the second on a Yadier Molina single. It seemed to be a repeat of the night before, but in the top of the third the Mets belted two home runs, one on Carlos Beltrán's second of the series and sixth against the Cardinals in NLCS play, and another on David Wright's first hit of the series and first homer of the playoffs. Perez couldn't hold the resulting 2-1 lead for long, allowing a two-out RBI triple to Juan Encarnacion that tied the game. The game would stay tied until the top of the fifth inning when Paul Lo Duca reached on an error by Cardinal second baseman Ronnie Belliard. Beltran managed a walk, and then Carlos Delgado blasted an opposite field three-run homer, his third of the series, to make it 5-2. David Eckstein pulled the Cards back in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff homer. But, in the top of the sixth, the Mets blew the game open. José Reyes and Lo Duca hit back-to-back singles, and Beltran walked to load the bases. Delgado then hit a ground-rule double to drive in two, and then Wright walked. Shawn Green singled to drive in one run and José Valentín, who, at that point, was only 3-for-20 in the playoffs, shot a bases-clearing double down the left field line to make it 11-3. The Cards got solo home runs from Edmonds and Molina to make it an 11-5 game, but Mets manager Willie Randolph then pulled starter Perez and bought in submarine pitcher Chad Bradford to limit the damage. Beltran would tie the NLCS record of seven home runs with another in the seventh en route to a final score of 12-5. Beltran also tied Babe Ruth for the all-time postseason record of home runs against the Cardinals hitting a total of seven home runs. He hit four home runs against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 National League Championship Series while playing for the Houston Astros.

Game 5

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYM
R1=0|R2=0|R3=0|R4=2|R5=0|R6=0|R7=0|R8=0|R9=0|RR=2|RH=8|RE=0
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
H1=0|H2=0|H3=0|H4=2|H5=1|H6=1|H7=0|H8=0|H9=X|HR=4|HH=10|HE=0
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Jeff Weaver (1-1)|LP=Tom Glavine (1-1)|SV=Adam Wainwright (1)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Albert Pujols (1), Chris Duncan (1)|

With their ace in the hole, and after Game 5 was pushed back a day by rain, giving their starter now four days' normal rest instead of three days' short rest, the New York Mets sought a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. However, pitcher Tom Glavine could not stifle the Cardinals' offense. After the Mets jumped out to a 2-0 lead, the next half-inning Albert Pujols struck for his first home run and RBI of the series to cut the Mets' lead in half. After tying the score in the bottom of fourth inning and later taking the lead in the fifth by virtue of a Preston Wilson double, the Cardinals increased their lead thanks to a pinch-hit solo blast by rookie Chris Duncan that made the final score 4-2, Cardinals. Powered by a strong pitching effort by Jeff Weaver and his bullpen cohorts, St. Louis brought New York back to earth after the Cardinals' disastrous Game 4 performance. This win moved the Cardinals within one win of their second National League pennant in three years.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
R1=0|R2=0|R3=0|R4=0|R5=0|R6=0|R7=0|R8=0|R9=2|RR=2|RH=7|RE=1
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYM
H1=1|H2=0|H3=0|H4=1|H5=0|H6=0|H7=2|H8=0|H9=X|HR=4|HH=10|HE=0
RSP=|HSP=
WP=John Maine (1-0)|LP=Chris Carpenter (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=José Reyes (1)|

Facing elimination, the Mets' John Maine stood on the mound for his biggest start of his career at that point. He allowed no runs in 5⅓ innings, earning the win for the Mets. José Reyes hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, giving the Mets a lead that would never be relinquished. Reyes became the first Met to lead off with a home run in the 1st inning of a postseason game since Mets' former outfielder Lenny Dykstra in Game 3 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals stranded several runners against Maine. In the top of the first inning, with runners on second and third and one out, Maine struck out Jim Edmonds. After hitting Juan Encarnación with a pitch to load the bases, Scott Rolen flew out. In the top of the third, with a runner on second and nobody out, Maine struck out Scott Spiezio and intentionally walked Albert Pujols. Edmonds then flew out and Maine struck out Encarnación to finish the job. Shawn Green hit an RBI single in the fourth and Paul Lo Duca added two more with an RBI hit in the seventh. Billy Wagner came on in the ninth and made things interesting, giving up a two-RBI double to So Taguchi before retiring David Eckstein to end the game.

Game 7

Thursday, October 19, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
R1=0|R2=1|R3=0|R4=0|R5=0|R6=0|R7=0|R8=0|R9=2|RR=3|RH=6|RE=1
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYM
H1=1|H2=0|H3=0|H4=0|H5=0|H6=0|H7=0|H8=0|H9=0|HR=1|HH=4|HE=1
RSP=|HSP=
WP=Randy Flores (1-0)|LP=Aaron Heilman (0-1)|SV=Adam Wainwright (2)
RoadHR=Yadier Molina (2)|HomeHR=|

In the decisive Game 7, the Mets sent Game 4 winner Oliver Pérez to the mound against Jeff Suppan. The Mets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when David Wright drove in Carlos Beltrán in the first with a bloop single into right field. The Cardinals tied the game in the second when Ronnie Belliard hit a sacrifice bunt that scored Jim Edmonds from third. In the fifth, with runners on first and second and two gone, Albert Pujols came up to the plate. Even with Chad Bradford warming up in the bullpen, Willie Randolph decided to stay with Pérez. He got Pujols to pop out. Pérez ran into some more trouble in the sixth with a runner on and one out, when Scott Rolen hit a long fly ball to left field. The ball cleared the fence but Endy Chávez brought it back with an amazing catch. He snow-coned the ball, jumping from the edge of the warning track to grab what looked to be an easy home run. He then threw the ball in to first base quickly to double off Jim Edmonds, who had rounded second on his way to third, to end the inning. He received two curtain calls from the Shea crowd. Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen described it this way: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth, José Valentín and Chávez failed to get the go-ahead run in.

With the score 1-1 in the top of the ninth, Yadier Molina hit a deep fly off Aaron Heilman, in the same general direction as the one Rolen hit in the sixth. This one was too high to allow Chávez to make another circus catch, and it went for a two-run home run, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead with only three outs in the bottom of the ninth separating them from a pennant. However, the Mets would not go quietly. Rookie closer Adam Wainwright yielded singles to Valentín and Chávez leading off the ninth. After getting a strikeout and a flyout, Wainwright walked Paul Lo Duca to bring up Carlos Beltrán with the bases loaded and two men out. All involved, including the capacity crowd at Shea, were acutely aware of Beltran's history against the Cardinals, and the tension mounted accordingly. Down 0-2 to the rookie Wainwright, Beltran looked at a called strike three, a curveball on the outside corner at the knees, and the ballgame was over. The Cardinals had won their record 17th National League pennant.

Composite Box

2006 NLCS (4-3): St. Louis Cardinals over New York MetsLinescore
Road=St. Louis Cardinals
R1=2|R2=7|R3=3|R4=2|R5=2|R6=3|R7=2|R8=0|R9=7|RR=28|RH=56|RE=4
Home=New York Mets
H1=5|H2=1|H3=2|H4=3|H5=4|H6=9|H7=3|H8=0|H9=0|HR=27|HH=54|HE=4Total Attendance: 365,500 Average Attendance: 52,214|

Trivia

* First time since the 1975 World Series that a team trailing 3-2 in games going into game six did not win game seven when they were the home team.
*The seventh game of the series was the second Game 7 played at Shea Stadium; the only other seventh game was in the 1986 World Series in which the Mets beat the Boston Red Sox 8-5 to win the World Championship.

*Mets' left fielder Endy Chavez earned a 2006 "This Year in Baseball" Award (TYIB), in the category of "best postseason play of the year" for making the leaping grab at the left field wall in game 7 robbing a home run from Cardinals' Scott Rolen and afterwards turning it into a double play.

*The Mets' record in seventh games is 1-3. Their last Game 7 loss was the seventh game of the 1988 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as young hurler Orel Hershiser pitched a complete game shutout at Dodger Stadium.

Quotes

*"That is a bomb to right!!, Mets up 2 zip!!" – Buck, after Mets' center fielder Carlos Beltran hits a 2-run home run in Game 1 at Shea Stadium.

*"He wasn't good. He wasn't good at all. I think we hit the ball hard, we didn't get some breaks. I say he wasn't good at all. We just didn't get some opportunities and that's it...(Glavine did the) same thing that he always does. Throw a changeup, fastball and that was it. I just think we should've done a better job than we did"." – St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols on Mets' starting pitcher Tom Glavine's Game One performance after going 0-for-3 with a walk, and being thrown out at first base on a base-running gaffe.

*"I'd hate to see what happens if he got me on a good day"." – Glavine in response to Pujols' comments.

*"And in the air to left field, back at the track, at the wall, it is ... its a home run, and Pujols has just impressed Glavine"." – Joe Buck (FOX) calling Pujols' home run off of Glavine in the Bottom of the Fourth Inning of Game 5.

*"That is hit into right, back at the track, at the wall, and that's a start for the Mets, one-to-nothing New York"." – Joe Buck (FOX) calling Mets' shortstop Jose Reyes' leadoff homer in the Bottom of First Inning of Game 6.

*"And Scott Rolen hits one into deep left field, back at the wall, a leap...and a catch! Endy Chávez takes a home run away and turns it into a double play! Unbelievable! ... Have you ever seen better?" – Buck, after Endy Chávez robs Scott Rolen of a home run in the top ot the 6th of Game 7.

*"Edmonds at first and one out, and Pérez deals...fastball hit in the air to left field, that's deep. Back goes Chávez, back near the wall, leaping...and...HE MADE THE CATCH! HE TOOK A HOME RUN AWAY FROM ROLEN! Trying to get back to first Edmonds, he's doubled off! And the inning is over! Endy Chávez saves the day!" - broadcaster Gary Cohen (WFAN), after Endy Chávez robs Scott Rolen of a home run in the top ot the 6th of Game 7.

*"He hits it in the air to left field, back is Chávez, at the wall, THIS BALL IS GONE! Two-run home run Yadier Molina! And St. Louis takes a 3-1, ninth-inning, Game 7 lead!"." – Buck, calling Yadier Molina's go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth.

*"Breaking ball, struck him out, and the Cardinals have won the pennant! Molina leaps into the arms of Adam Wainwright as the rookie closer strikes out Beltran looking with the bases loaded and the Cardinals celebrate before their trip to Detroit." – Buck calling the final out of the Series

*"The 0-2 delivery. Curve, struck him out looking! The Cardinals are going to Michigan to take on the Tigers! They mob, they mob Adam Wainwright on the mound! They are National League champions and headed for Detroit as they mob the pitcher and now Yadier Molina. In come the bullpenners to pile on! The Cardinals have won this game 3-1 on a two-run home run by their catcher, Yadier Molina." – Mike Shannon calling the final out of the Series on KTRS

ee also

*2006 St. Louis Cardinals season

Notes

External links

*2006 NLCS [http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2006/VSLN22006.htm box scores and play-by-play] at Retrosheet
*2006 NLCS [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/2006_NLCS.shtml statistics] at Baseball Reference
* [http://proxy.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2006/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=2632739 "Cardinals win unlikely pennant"] , ESPN.com
* [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1115809/index.htm "Seventh Heaven"] , "Sports Illustrated"


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