10/04/2004 8:00 AM ET
Astros postseason history
Houston seeks its first World Series berth
1980 -- Philadelphia Phillies over the Astros in the NLCS, 3-2
|Craig Biggio is ready to make another run at a World Series title with the Astros. (Pat Sullivan/AP)
After being forced to a one-game playoff against the Dodgers to decide
the division winner, the Astros' first postseason appearance turned out to be a
bitter pill to swallow as they lost to the Phillies in an evenly matched NLCS. The
five-game series, which went the distance, saw the last four games go to extra
innings. The Astros held two-run leads in each of the last two games and were just five outs away from clinching, only to lose both
contests in heartbreaking fashion.
1981 -- Los Angeles Dodgers over the Astros in the NLDS, 3-2
After losing All-Star fireballer J.R. Richard to a stroke, the Astros acquired former Dodger Don Sutton to replace him.
After a players' strike forced a split season, the Astros won the second half
and faced the Dodgers in the first round of the postseason to determine the NL
West champions. The Astros won the first two games at the Astrodome and traveled
to Los Angeles needing just one victory to clinch the division title. However,
the Dodgers swept all three games, winning the division and eliminating the
Astros from the postseason.
1986 -- New York Mets over the Astros in the NLCS, 4-2
Although not much was expected of the Astros, outstanding pitching from
right-hander Mike Scott, who would win the NL Cy Young, future Hall of Famer
Nolan Ryan, and left-hander Bob Knepper, who compiled 17 victories, led Houston
to the NLCS against the powerful Mets. After splitting the first four games of
the series, the Mets won Game 5 at Shea Stadium and the Astros were in a
must-win situation in Game 6 back at the Astrodome. In one of the most memorable
NLCS games in history, the Mets prevailed, 7-6, in 16 innings, ending the
1997 -- Atlanta Braves over the Astros in the NLDS, 3-0
The Astros ended a long drought of not appearing in the postseason by winning
the NL Central Division title behind manager Larry Dierker. Unfortunately, the
Astros were facing a dominating Atlanta Braves pitching staff, led by Greg
Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Astros' "Killer B's" of Craig Biggio,
Jeff Bagwell and Derek Bell were a combined 0-for-12 in Game 1 against Maddux.
The Braves romped, 13-3, in Game 2 and completed the sweep as Smoltz tossed a
three-hitter at the Astros in Game 3.
1998 -- San Diego Padres over the Astros in the NLDS, 3-1
A strong starting rotation and potent offense made the Astros a favorite to make
it to the World Series, however the Padres had other ideas and eliminated
Houston in four games in the NLDS. After dropping Game 1, 2-1, to San Diego, the
Astros evened the series behind Bill Spiers' game-winning RBI single in the
bottom of the ninth. After losing Game 3 in San Diego, Randy Johnson
started for Houston in Game 4, but the Astros could only muster three hits
against San Diego's Sterling Hitchcock, who struck out 11 batters as the Padres
brought the Astros' season to a shocking, disappointing end.
1999 -- Atlanta Braves over the Astros in the NLDS, 3-1
Pitted against their nemesis, the Atlanta Braves, the Astros jumped on Maddux in
Game 1 and went on to win, 6-1. After the Braves evened the series with a 5-1
win in Game 2, the series switched from Atlanta to Houston, where Game 3 went to
extra innings. After the Astros were unable to capitalize with the bases loaded
and no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Braves scored twice in the top
of the 12th and won the game, 5-3. After spotting the Braves a seven-run lead in
Game 4, the Astros fought back, but came up short and saw their season again end
2001 -- Atlanta Braves over the Astros in the NLDS, 3-0
As the top seed in the playoffs, the Astros gained home-field advantage against
Atlanta in the NLDS, but that didn't bother the Braves, who swept the Astros.
Mistakes in the field and on the mound cost the Astros in Game 1, and Houston
dropped a 1-0 decision in the second game. Atlanta's John Burkett completed the
sweep, setting aside the Astros in Game 3.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.