Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17, 2005: Albert Pujols Rocks Brad Lidge in Game 5 of The NLCS

On October 17, 2005, Albert Pujols hit one of his most memorable home runs in a Cardinals uniform in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Astros in Houston. The defending National League Champion Cardinals came into the game with their backs against the wall down 3 games to 1 and Chris Carpenter on the mound in hopes of staving off elimination. The Astros got on the board in the bottom of the second with an RBI by Craig Biggio. Then the Cards struck back in the top of third when Mark Grudzielanek picked up a bases loaded 2 out bloop single off of Andy Pettite that scored 2 runs and suddenly the Cardinals had the advantage. Carpenter held the dangerous Houston lineup off until Lance Berkman launched a three run shot in the seventh inning that gave the Astros a 4-2 lead that the Astros bullpen was able to hold onto until they called on their closer Brad Lidge to pick up three outs that would send the Houston club to the Fall Classic. Lidge got the first two men to strikeout looking before David Eckstein got on with a single, then Jim Edmonds walked which set the stage for the Cardinals first baseman. The damage he did was more than just to the scoreboard as he crushed the second pitch of the at bat all the way to the train tracks above the left field wall at Minute Made Park. The monster shot put the Cards up 5-4 and after Jason Isringhausen tossed his second scoreless inning of the ball game the Cardinals had forced a Game 6 in St. Louis. The most memorable thing other than the crushing blow, was the reaction in Houston, you could hear a pin drop at the park that just minutes earlier had been on the edge of eruption with a World Series appearance just one out away. Unfortunately for the Cardinals and their fans, the Astros would win the next one and find themselves facing the White Sox in the World Series. They got swept in that series in which Lidge served up a walkoff shot to Scott Posednik in Game 2. The home run by Pujols seemed to have a long lasting effect on Lidge, he just wasn't the same pitcher as he was before the legendary blast. While he was able to recover from it and even earned the save in the deciding game of the 2008 World Series when he was a member of the Phillies. I can tell you this with no doubt in my mind... that swing by Pujols had to haunt him in his dreams.

Watch it here:

Here's the box score:

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