Best Pitching Performance (2006)

Roy Oswalt, Game 7 of the 2005 National League Championship Series

Admit it -- upon watching Albert Pujols's titanic bomb off Brad Lidge in Game 5 of last year's NLCS, you had that sick feeling that you were witnessing yet another in the Astros' long history of dismal postseason choke-jobs. With the series returning to the soon-to-be-imploded Busch Stadium, the cosmic script seemed all but written for the Cards to go to one last World Series in that crumbling old hulk. Luckily for us, Roy Oswalt thought otherwise. The atmosphere at Busch was electric, and it reached a fever pitch when Pujols dug in the batter's box with a man on in the first inning. Whereupon Oswalt made the slugger look like a beer-buzzed softball hacker -- the slender pitcher uncorked a 95 mile-per-hour fastball in on Pujols's fists that had him swinging and diving out of the way at the same time. That one at-bat seemed to take the crowd out of the game and turn the series back toward the Astros -- Oswalt surrendered just three hits and one run on his way to the Astros' pennant-clinching 5-1 victory and NLCS MVP honors.


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