Astros History

Astros have checkered history in Game Five of Division Series

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 16: Carlos Beltran #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammate Lance Berkman #17 after hitting a solo homerun in the top of the ninth inning in game three of National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs on October 16, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo By Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - OCTOBER 16: Carlos Beltran #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammate Lance Berkman #17 after hitting a solo homerun in the top of the ninth inning in game three of National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs on October 16, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo By Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The Astros are 1-2 all time in Game Five of a division series.

As the Astros prepare to send Gerrit Cole to the mound in the do-or-die Game Five of the ALDS, it’s interesting to look at the team’s history in these situations. This will be the fourth time they have faced a deciding Game Five in a division series, with the team carrying a 1-2 record in those games into tonight.

The Astros have played in plenty of division series, but it’s not often they’ve gone to five games. Most recently, they defeated Boston 3-1 in 2017 and swept Cleveland in 2018. They also had four appearances from 1997 to 2001, but won a total of two games.

Here’s a look at the team’s history in division series winner-take-all games.

1981 NLDS Game Five: Dodgers 4, Astros 0

The Astros went into Dodger Stadium and sent Nolan Ryan to the mound to try and clinch the series. Unfortunately the defense committed three errors and Ryan gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings. The offense was held to five hits in a complete game shutout by Dodgers lefty Jerry Reuss.

Ryan had outlasted Fernando Valenzuela to win Game One, while a duel between Joe Niekro and Reuss left Game Two scoreless until pinch hitter Denny Walling hit a walk-off single in the 11th. Interestingly, the Astros won the first two games of that series at home, just as they’ve done this year.

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The difference is that Game Five was played on the road, while they come back home for this one. The 1981 NLDS was also marred by poor offensive production, as the Astros scored a total of six runs in the five-game set.

2004 NLDS Game Five: Astros 12, Braves 3

This was the year of Carlos Beltran, and he was at his best in this Game Five at Turner Field. Beltran hit two homers and drove in five to lead an offensive onslaught. Jeff Bagwell also went deep, while Craig Biggio, Beltran, Lance Berkman, Jeff Kent and Morgan Ensberg all had multi-hit games.

Roy Oswalt started the game and battled through five innings, throwing 111 pitches but holding the Braves to two runs. The bullpen kept them at bay as the Astros advanced to their first NLCS since 1986.

The bullpen was actually pretty bad in this series, as they blew leads in each of the team’s losses. The offense had no problem scoring runs in this series, and Oswalt and Roger Clemens each started twice, with Brandon Backe getting the start and win in Game Three.

2015 ALDS Game Five: Royals 7, Astros 2

This series stung, and the pain didn’t go away until the final out of the 2017 World Series. The Astros took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning at Kauffman Stadium thanks to a home run from the late Luis Valbuena. Unfortunately that would be their last baserunner of the game.

Johnny Cueto silenced the bats the rest of the way. By the time Dallas Keuchel gave up three runs in relief in the 8th inning, it was all said and done. There was no way the Royals bullpen was going to give up a five-run lead.

Game Four was actually the more painful loss, as the Astros had a 2-1 lead in the series and took a 6-2 lead into the 8th inning at Minute Maid Park. But Will Harris and Tony Sipp combined to allow five runs (three earned) in that frame, and Josh Fields yielded another two in the 9th.

Fields, of course, was later traded to the Dodgers for Yordan Alvarez, so that worked out pretty well. But this was the team’s first postseason appearance since getting swept in the 2005 World Series, and it ended with more heartbreak.

Next. Former Astros catcher Brian McCann retires. dark

Let’s hope they can ride Cole’s arm and feed off the home crowd to keep their season alive. The game starts at 6:07 p.m. and is broadcast on FS1.

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