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NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Padres Are at the Point of No Return

October 08, 2005|From Associated Press

Two games into the postseason, the San Diego Padres certainly look like a .500 team. After winning the West Division with an 82-80 record, they dropped two straight playoff games to the St. Louis Cardinals -- including Thursday's 6-2 loss.

Mistakes and missed chances have plagued San Diego in both games.

The Padres outhit the Cardinals, 10-6, and put men on base in every inning but two Thursday. But walks, a crucial error, a misjudged fly ball, two slightly off throws to the plate and a lack of clutch hitting -- they hit into four double plays -- put them on the verge of elimination in the best-of-five series.

"We had our chances," Manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're just missing the big hit. It was similar to the first game."

The series moves to San Diego's Petco Park tonight for Game 3. Right-hander Matt Morris (14-10) will start for St. Louis. The Padres counter with right-hander Woody Williams (9-12), who made four postseason starts for the Cardinals last year, including Game 1 of the World Series against Boston.

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Roy Oswalt is the No. 3 pitcher in the Houston Astros' playoff rotation.

Back in Houston for Game 3 of their division series and needing a victory to take control, the Astros finally get to their 20-game winner against the Atlanta Braves. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens started the first two games, which the teams split.

Oswalt (20-12) is the first pitcher since 2001-02 with consecutive 20-win seasons. In his two starts in last year's playoff series against Atlanta, he yielded three runs in 11 1/3 innings. He won Game 5 to give Houston its first postseason series victory in eight tries.

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