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10/13/05 1:05 AM ET

Astros short hops

Pettitte unable to contain Cards in Game 1

ST. LOUIS -- Andy Pettitte came to Houston to do one thing: win in the postseason.

Pettitte will have to wait for another start as he lost for the first time in a League Championship Series since 1998. The left-hander gave up five earned runs in six innings as the Astros lost Game 1 to the Cardinals, 5-3.

The Astros offense threatened, but didn't do much against the superb pitching of Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals defense.

Behind the numbers
Whether they were missed opportunities or opportunities robbed from them, the Astros were unable to score when it mattered the most.

The Astros had runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and ninth innings and pushed across only one run. Two of the three runs they scored came on another pinch-hit homer by Chris Burke, a two-run bomb in the seventh.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 1 of the NLCS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 5.62 Up from the 4.30 ERA they posted in the NLDS
BA .226 Missed opportunities were the story
BA w/ RISP .000 Unable to deliver clutch hits
Runs 3 Astros have scored four runs in their last 18 innings
Errors 0 Solid defense in Game 1

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Chris Burke 1.000 average (1-for-1), 1 HR, 2 RBIs Had two of the team's three RBIs

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Andy Pettitte 7.50 ERA, lost his first League Championship Series Game since 1998 Cardinals bats were too much

Frozen moment
Down 3-0 in the third inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Lance Berkman grounded into a double play to end the threat.

Second guess
With two outs and a runner on first base the Astros elected to pitch to MVP candidate Albert Pujols instead of walk him to get to Reggie Sanders. Pujols made them pay, ripping a long single to score David Eckstein from first base for the fifth and final run of the game for the Cardinals.

Modern history
The winner of the first game in the LCS has advanced to the World Series in each of the last 12 seasons.

Last word
"I don't remember who won the first game here last year -- well, they did because we played here. But clearly, we'll have our work cut out for us. We knew that. But stranger things have happened. This club bounces back, and we'll bounce back."
-- Houston manager Phil Garner, on losing Game 1 of the NLCS

Stephen A. Norris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.