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Astros–Cardinals rivalry: Wikis

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The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros rivalry began before the existence of the Astros because the Cards had a minor league team in Houston called the Buffaloes from the 1920s until 1961. Since the second realignment in 1994, Houston and St. Louis have been together in the National League Central Division. There have been exciting divisional races between the two teams in 1996, 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Important figures

One notable ballplayer who played for both the Astros and Cardinals was Darryl Kile. He helped lead the Astros to a .500 record (81-81) record in 1992, winning records in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996, and a NL Central title in 1997. After the his disastrous tenure with the Rockies, Kile landed in St. Louis helping the Cardinals get to the NLCS in 2000, playoffs in 2001, and contributing to the Cardinals' success in 2002 before his untimely death on June 22, 2002. Both the Cardinals and Astros have honored Darryl Kile with in their respective ballparks since his death. Both teams annually present the Darryl Kile (Good Guy) Award to the player on each team who best exemplifies Kile's characteristics of "a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man."

Another notable player is Preston Wilson. Wilson signed with the Astros in 2006. Around the all-star break, he lost his left field job to Luke Scott. He was then released and signed with the Cardinals. He helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series.

Recent history

The rivalry between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals was re-kindled in 2004 when the Astros acquired Carlos Beltran during midseason and stormed back to finish 2nd in their division and win the wildcard. Then, the Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves in 5 games in the division series and led the Cardinals in the NLCS 3 games to 2 after winning Game 5 in Houston by a walk-off home run by Jeff Kent. However, St. Louis went on to win the series with a Jim Edmonds walk-off home run in Game 6 and a defeat of Roger Clemens in Game 7. St. Louis was ultimately swept by the long suffering Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

In 2005, however they met again in the Championship Series and the Astros had the upper-hand in the series leading 3 to 1. In Game 5 the Astros led late, thanks to Lance Berkman's go ahead home run in the 8th but in the 9th, Brad Lidge gave up a famous home run to Albert Pujols and the Cardinals brought the series back to St. Louis. The Astros finally won the series in Game 6 behind a dominant outing by Roy Oswalt. This was the first (and to date, only) pennant in Astros history. The Astros ended up suffering a similar fate to the one that befell the Cardinals a year earlier - being swept out of the World Series by a team that had suffered through an epically long title drought - this time the culprit was the Chicago White Sox.

The Cardinals lead the all-time series 331-294 but the two teams have only been division rivals since 1994 making the rivalry series record 104-101 Cardinals lead. Houston currently leads the postseason series 7-6.

In 2006, the Astros released OF Preston Wilson due to lack of playing time, and the Cardinals signed him for the rest of the 2006 season. The Astros missed the playoffs although they won 10 of their last 12 games, including a four game sweep of the Cards, and erased what had been an 8 1/2 game lead to finish 1 1/2 games behind the eventual World Champion Cardinals.

References

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