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Astros postseason history
10/04/2004 8:00 AM ET
1980 -- Philadelphia Phillies over the Astros in the NLCS, 3-2
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.

NL Wild Card Champions

Second-half highlights
First-half highlights
• The Astros' road to the playoffs: 56K | 350K
• The Astros clinch the NL Wild Card: 56K | 350K

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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 Astros' season.

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 prematurely.

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.

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