Take a trip down Astros playoffs memory lane

How have the Astros fared in deciding games

HOUSTON – The Houston Astros are set for a deciding game five in the American League Division Series Friday at Minute Maid Park. After taking the first two game of the series at home, they dropped the next two games on the road to the Rays. Houston will send game two winner Gerrit Cole to the mound. The Rays will counter with game one losing pitcher, Tyler Glasnow.

Here’s a look at the Astros history in deciding games in a postseason series.

1980 NLCS - Game 5, 8-7 loss vs Phillies in 10 innings

This series is still among those regarding as the most entertaining and intense in major league history. Game five at the Astrodome was the fourth consecutive game in the series to be decided in extra innings. The Phillies had won game four the day before, 5-3 in 10 innings to push the series to a fifth game. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan made the start for the Astros and held the Phillies in check for seven innings allowing just two runs. Houston scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-2 lead. Ryan took the mound to start the eighth inning, but allowed three consecutive singles before issuing a walk to force in a run. Ryan left the game as the Phillies proceeded to take a 7-5 lead with a 5-run eighth inning. 

Houston answered in their half of the eighth with four singles, the last two drove home the runs that tied the game at seven after eight innings. The game went to the 10th still tied at seven. Philadelphia scored a run in the 10th on a pair of doubles of off Frank LaCorte and the Astros went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end the wildly exciting series with the Phillies moving on to the World series. 

1981 NLDS - Game 5, 4-0 loss at Dodgers

The strike-shortened 1981 season necessitated division series prior to the league championship series between the NL west division foes. Houston won the first two games at the Astrodome before dripping the next two at Dodger Stadium. In game five in Los Angeles, again it was the great Nolan Ryan getting the ball for the Astros in the series deciding game. He started strong, battling Dodgers lefty Jerry Reuss through five scoreless innings. But the Dodgers scored three times in the sixth inning on a walk, three singles and an error on first baseman Denny Walling. Houston managed just five singles in the game off Reuss, who tossed a complete game shutout to eliminate the Astros. 

2004 NLDS - Game 5, 12-3 win vs Braves

The two teams split a pair of games in each team’s ballpark over the first four games leading up to the decisive game five at Turner Field in Atlanta. Astros game five starter Roy Oswalt pitched well allowing just two runs n five innings, but it was the Astros offense that carried them to the franchise’s first ever series victory. Houston scored a pair of runs in the second inning on a sacrifice fly from Morgan Ensberg and a groundout from Jose Vizcaino. Then in the third inning Carlos Beltran hit his 3rd home run of the series to put Houston in front 3-0 in the third inning. 

Houston led 3-2 in the sixth inning when Beltran hit his second home run of the game. The Astros broke the game open with five runs in the seventh inning, including Jeff Bagwell’s two-run home run. Dan Wheeler got the final three outs in the ninth inning, with Jason Lane squeezing a fly ball to left field for the series ending putout and the Astros advanced to the National League Championship series. 

2004 NLCS - Game 7, 5-2 loss at Cardinals

The first six games of this series were won by the home team, with Houston falling at the Cardinals in game six, 6-4 in 12 innings to force the game seven. Houston immediately took the lead with a lead off home run from Craig Biggio and were up 2-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning with Roger Clemens on the mound. Clemens allowed a single to Roger Cedeno, a double to Albert Pujols, then a first-pitch home run to Scott Rolen and the Cardinals went in front 4-2. Houston would not get a hit the rest of the game and the Cardinals advanced to the World Series.

2015 Wild Card game: 3-0 win at Yankees

Houston played in the wild card game for the first time in team history and gave the ball to Cy Young award-winner Dallas Kuechel. Keuchel was brilliant. He shut the Yankees out over six innings, allowing just three singles. The Astros got on the board in the second inning when Colby Rasmus hit the first pitch he saw over the fence to lead off the inning. Carlos Gomez would do the same in the fourth inning, hitting Masahiro Tanaka’s first pitch of the inning over the wall and the Astros led 2-0. 

A trio of relievers would finish off the 3-hitter and the Astros advanced to the American League division series. 

2015 ALDS: Game 5, 7-2 loss at Royals

Houston won game one in Kansas City and held the 2-1 series lead into game four at Minute Maid Park. The Astros led 6-2 in the eighth inning when the Royals put together five consecutive singles to open the inning on their way to a five-run outburst which put the Astros behind and ultimately led to game five two days later in Kansas City. 

Houston took the lead in this game in the second inning on a two-run home run from Luis Valbuena. Collin McHugh, the game one winning pitcher, was not as sharp in this game, allowing a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth. The Astros would never mount a challenge after that. In fact, following the second inning home run from Valbuena, the Astros would not get another hit and would not have another baserunner. The final 22 Astros batters were retired in order. 

2017 ALCS: Game 7, 4-0 win vs Yankees

This memorable seven game series featured the home team winning all seven games. Houston’s pitching was sensational all series long at Minute Maid Park and game seven was no different.THe Astros allowed just a single run in each of the first three games in Houston, then shut the Yankees out in the deciding game seven. Charlie Morton got the start and allowed just two hits while striking out five. Lance McCullers, Jr. came out of the bullpen and handled the final four innings, allowing just one hit - and that came to the first batter he faced. Houston opened the scoring with a solo home run from Evan Gattis in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Jose Altuve hit a solo home run and Brian McCann drove in two runs with a double and that was all the scoring Houston needed to advance to the second World Series in franchise history.

2017 World Series: Game 7, 5-1 win at Dodgers

Houston and Los Angeles went the distance in this series playing the deciding game seven on the first day of November. The Astros took control of the game immediately scoring two runs in the first inning and three more in the second inning - all off Yu Darvish. Lance McCullers, Jr., Brad Peacock, Francisco Liriano and Chris Devenski shut out the Yankees over the first five innings. Charlie Morton came out of the bullpen to record the final 12 outs. Morton retired the final 11 batters in order, including the memorable ground out from Corey Seager to Jose Altuve, who threw to Yuli Gurriel at first base and the celebration was on as the Astros won their first ever World Series.