By Rene Knott
(KSDK) -- It was back to work Tuesday for Cardinals players after a disappointing loss. Now every game is must win for St. Louis.
One good thing. The Cardinals will not be facing Roger Clemens Wednesday in Game Six. The Astros are starting Eric Munro. The Cardinals shelled Munro back in Game Two. He lasted just four and two-thirds innings giving up 3-runs on 6-hits.
One other good sign for the Cardinals is the home field advantage. They are back at Busch where they have not lost a playoff game this season.
The Cardinals worked out Tuesday afternoon at the stadium. You would not have guessed that they were in such a critical situation. The players were loose. They joked and they remain confident.
"We've got to start tomorrow. We're back in our own environment, back where I think baseball should be played. I think baseball is supposed to be played outdoors with the elements,” said Cards pitcher Ray King.
Outfielder Jim Edmonds said, "We played well all year and we had a couple of road trips where we couldn't wait to get back home. So this is kind of one of those things where you come back home and sometimes that day off in familiar surroundings changes the whole outlook on your team."
One more thing, this is not the first time the Cardinals have faced a 3-2 deficit in postseason. They’ve been there five times, and in each case they came back to win the series.
Kent Makes Cards Pay For One Bad Pitch
Jeff Kent sent the ball out of the park, and that sent the St. Louis Cardinals back home trailing Houston 3-2 in the National League Championship Series.
Kent's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, on the first pitch he saw from St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen, gave the Astros a dramatic 3-0 win Monday.
"It was supposed to be a cutter down and away and it got over the middle of the plate," Isringhausen said. "I just made a bad pitch."
Game 6 will be at 3:19 p.m. or 7:19 p.m. Wednesday, with the Cardinals trying to snap the Astros' three-game winning streak and force a decisive Game 7 Thursday night.
"It's a shame either team had to lose that game," said Cardinals starter Woody Williams, who threw seven shutout innings but was matched pitch-for-pitch by Houston starter Brandon Backe. "It was just a joy to go out there and pitch in that game.
"I've played 30 years to have an opportunity to pitch in a game like that."
Kent's homer was only the fourth hit of the game -- the Astros had three and the Cardinals one -- as Houston swept all three of its home games, this time before 43,045.
To add insult to injury, the Minute Maid Park loudspeakers blared "Celebrate" -- the anthem of the 1982 Cardinals World Series team -- after Kent's homer gave the Astros 12 round-trippers in the series.
Isringhausen, who had saves in the first two games of the NLCS, gave up a leadoff single by Carlos Beltran in the ninth, retired Jeff Bagwell on a flyout to center, and then intentionally walked Lance Berkman after Beltran swiped second.
That brought up Kent, who smashed Isringhausen's first pitch into the crowd above the left-field scoreboard.
"I was up there looking to hack right away," Kent said. "I didn't want to get cheated at all. I wasn't going to take three pitches."
Backe allowed one hit in eight innings and retired the first 13 to face him before issuing a 3-1 walk to Jim Edmonds in the fifth.
He gave up a two-out single by Tony Womack in the sixth -- the only Redbird hit in the game.
"You can't really describe what happened out there," Backe said of his duel with Williams. "We were just both in a rhythm and feeling good about ourselves.... You just feel like nobody can hit you."
Williams gave up Bagwell's two-out single in the first but didn't allow another hit. He retired the last 10 hitters to face him and allowed only one Houston base runner to reach second base.
Williams issued two walks the first four innings and hit Morgan Ensberg with a pitch to put two men aboard in the fourth. But he got Jose Vizcaino to roll out to first base to end that threat, and didn't allow another base runner.
The Cardinals hit only four balls hard: Reggie Sanders lined out to third base to open the third inning, and Williams lined out to second with one out in the sixth.
Edgar Renteria made a bid for an extra-base hit with two out in the seventh, but Beltran raced into left-center and dove to snare the ball. He made his second strong fielding play to open the eighth, when he ran halfway up the center-field slope in front of the 436-foot sign to catch Sanders' long drive.
"You can't say enough about that guy," Backe said of Beltran, batting .471 (8-for-17) in the series after his leadoff hit in the ninth led to the three-run rally. "He's an unbelievable athlete ... a great, great player."
The Cards were retired 1-2-3 in seven innings and had only one runner in scoring position -- Womack, after his two-out single and a walk to Larry Walker in the sixth. On the next pitch, Albert Pujols popped out to Kent, ending the Cards' lone scoring threat.
"That's part of this game, and you can't figure it out," Pujols said after going 0-for-4 to end a five-game hitting streak in the postseason. "I can't do it every time. That's part of the game.
"We were up two games and now we're down one game. That's the way it goes. You need to win four games, and they haven't won four games yet."
The game Wednesday is scheduled for the afternoon unless the ALCS ends tonight between Boston and New York; in that case, the Cards-Astros game would be played at night.... The 5 2/3 innings without a hit marked the longest the Cards have gone in a postseason game without hitting safely since Boston's Jim Lonborg held the 1967 team hitless until Julian Javier's two-out eighth-inning double in Game 2 of the World Series Oct. 5 that year. It was the only hit for the Redbirds in a 5-0 loss, but they rebounded to beat the Red Sox in seven games.... Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth, fanning two, to get the win.... Former President George H.W. Bush watched the game from his customary box seat behind home plate.