2006 National League Championship Series
year = 2006
St. Louis Cardinals(4)
Tony La Russa
champion_games = 83-78, .516, GA: 1½
New York Mets(3)
runnerup_games = 97-65, .599, GA: 12
October 11– October 19
Jeff Suppan(St. Louis)
television = FOX
Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Luis Gonzalez
radio_network = ESPN Radio
Dan Shulmanand Dave Campbell
Tim Welke, Jim Joyce, Jerry Layne, Fieldin Culbreth, Jeff Kellogg, Gary Darling
New York Metsover Los Angeles Dodgers(3-0)
St. Louis Cardinalsover San Diego Padres(3-1)The by|2006 National League Championship Series(NLCS), the second round of the 2006 National Leagueplayoffs, began on October 12and ended on October 19; it was scheduled to begin on October 11, but was postponed a day because of inclement weather. The St. Louis Cardinalsupset the heavily-favored New York Metsin seven games to advance to the 2006 World Seriesagainst 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 runin 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 Athleticsfrom 1988-90, became the first manager in history to win multiple pennants in both leagues.
The Mets had defeated the
Los Angeles Dodgersthree games to none in the NL Division Series, while the Cardinals had defeated the San Diego Padresthree 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.
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.
October 12, 2006at Shea Stadiumin New York, New YorkLinescore
Tom Glavine(1-0)|LP= Jeff Weaver(0-1)|SV= Billy Wagner(1)
On a game pushed back a day by rain, both pitchers pitched magnificently.
Tom Glavineearned the win with seven innings of shutout baseball. The only two runs came from a two-run homer by Carlos Beltránoff losing pitcher Jeff Weaver. Weaver pitched 5.2 shutout innings before giving up a single to Paul Lo Ducaand 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 driveoff the bat of David Ecksteinand threw to second to double up Yadier Molina. In the following inning, Juan Encarnaciónflied 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 Chávezalso 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 Pujolswas critical of Glavine's performance, saying that the Cards would have dominated him if they were on their "A" game.
October 13, 2006at Shea Stadiumin New York, New YorkLinescore
Josh Kinney(1-0)|LP= Billy Wagner(0-1)|SV=
So Taguchi(1), Jim Edmonds(1)|HomeHR= Carlos Delgado2 (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 Delgadohit a three-run home run and added another home run in the fifth, both off the Cardinals' ace, Chris Carpenter. Yadier Molinathen drove in two runs with a double in the second inning. José Reyesand Paul Lo Ducaadded 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 Francopinch-hit for Met pitcher Aaron Heilman, which made obvious that lefty closer Billy Wagnerwas 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 Wagnerto put the Cardinals ahead, 7-6. St. Louis would never look back, adding two more insurance runs.
October 14, 2006at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Jeff Suppan(1-0)|LP= Steve Trachsel(0-1)|SV=
In St. Louis for the first of three games, St. Louis starter
Jeff Suppanpitched eight scoreless innings and helped his own cause with a homer as the Cardinals defeated the Mets, 5-0. Scott Spieziohit 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 Oliverpitched six shutout innings to give the bullpen a rest after Met starter Steve Trachselwould 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 Suppanhas 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.
October 15, 2006at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Oliver Pérez(1-0)|LP= Brad Thompson(0-1)|SV=
Carlos Beltrán2 (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 Molinasingle. 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 Encarnacionthat tied the game. The game would stay tied until the top of the fifth inning when Paul Lo Ducareached on an error by Cardinal second baseman Ronnie Belliard. Beltran managed a walk, and then Carlos Delgadoblasted an opposite field three-run homer, his third of the series, to make it 5-2. David Ecksteinpulled 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 Reyesand 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 Greensingled 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 Randolphthen pulled starter Perez and bought in submarine pitcher Chad Bradfordto 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 Ruthfor 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 Serieswhile playing for the Houston Astros.
October 17, 2006at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Jeff Weaver(1-1)|LP= Tom Glavine(1-1)|SV= Adam Wainwright(1)
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 Glavinecould not stifle the Cardinals' offense. After the Mets jumped out to a 2-0 lead, the next half-inning Albert Pujolsstruck 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 Wilsondouble, the Cardinals increased their lead thanks to a pinch-hit solo blast by rookie Chris Duncanthat made the final score 4-2, Cardinals. Powered by a strong pitching effort by Jeff Weaverand 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.
October 18, 2006at Shea Stadiumin New York, New YorkLinescore
John Maine(1-0)|LP= Chris Carpenter(0-1)|SV=
Facing elimination, the Mets'
John Mainestood 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 Reyeshit 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 Dykstrain Game 3 of the 1986 World Seriesagainst 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 Encarnaciónwith a pitch to load the bases, Scott Rolenflew out. In the top of the third, with a runner on second and nobody out, Maine struck out Scott Spiezioand intentionally walked Albert Pujols. Edmonds then flew out and Maine struck out Encarnación to finish the job. Shawn Greenhit an RBI single in the fourth and Paul Lo Ducaadded two more with an RBI hit in the seventh. Billy Wagnercame on in the ninth and made things interesting, giving up a two-RBI double to So Taguchibefore retiring David Ecksteinto end the game.
October 19, 2006at Shea Stadiumin New York, New YorkLinescore
Randy Flores(1-0)|LP= Aaron Heilman(0-1)|SV= Adam Wainwright(2)
In the decisive Game 7, the Mets sent Game 4 winner
Oliver Pérezto the mound against Jeff Suppan. The Mets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when David Wright drove in Carlos Beltránin the first with a bloop single into right field. The Cardinals tied the game in the second when Ronnie Belliardhit a sacrifice bunt that scored Jim Edmondsfrom third. In the fifth, with runners on first and second and two gone, Albert Pujolscame up to the plate. Even with Chad Bradfordwarming up in the bullpen, Willie Randolphdecided 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 Rolenhit a long fly ball to left field. The ball cleared the fence but Endy Chávezbrought 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 Cohendescribed it this way: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth, José Valentínand Chávez failed to get the go-ahead run in.
With the score 1-1 in the top of the ninth,
Yadier Molinahit 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 Wainwrightyielded singles to Valentín and Chávez leading off the ninth. After getting a strikeout and a flyout, Wainwright walked Paul Lo Ducato 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.
2006 NLCS (4-3):
St. Louis Cardinalsover New York MetsLinescore
St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets
| Total Attendance: 365,500 Average Attendance: 52,214
* First time since the
1975 World Seriesthat 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 Seriesin which the Mets beat the Boston Red Sox8-5 to win the World Championship.
*Mets' left fielder
Endy Chavezearned 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 Seriesagainst the Los Angeles Dodgersas young hurler Orel Hershiserpitched a complete game shutout at Dodger Stadium.
*"That is a bomb to right!!, Mets up 2 zip!!" – Buck, after Mets' center fielder
Carlos Beltranhits 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 Pujolson 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 Chávezrobs Scott Rolenof 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 Shannoncalling the final out of the Series on KTRS
2006 St. Louis Cardinals season
*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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