St. Louis (AP) - The St. Louis Cardinals jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning of the first game and never looked back as the Redbirds defeated the Houston Astros 4 games to 1 in their Quarter Final Playoff Series. St. Louis won the first three games behind strong pitching by scores of 7-3 (Nomo complete game three-hitter), 2-0 (5 hit shutout by Woody Williams) and 5-2 (Matt Morris pitched strong into the 8th inning).
Facing elimination, Houston rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to win game 4 by a score of 7-2 as the 'Stros banged out 13 hits. In Game 5, Melvin Mora hit a two-run homer and Hideo Nomo and the St. Louis bullpen made the lead stand up for a 3-2 win. Houston, unable to get the clutch hits throughout the series, left 12 runners on base in the finale. Amazingly, Houston star closer Billy Wagner did not see action in the series. St. Louis will now face the winner of the Philly-Anaheim series.