This year marks the 14th time in 44 years that the National League Championship Series has come down to a winner-take-all, deciding game.
Tonight marks just the 14th National League Championship series Game 7 (or Game 5, for the first 16 years of its existence) since the playoffs expanded in 1969, and the first since 2006, when the Cardinals beat the Mets 3-1 on the road in Game 7.
Hopefully this year's NLCS doesn't end with Carlos Beltran watching strike three go by.
The last two times the National League Championship Series has gone seven games, the finale was won by the Cardinals. A look back at previous NLCS Games 7, which included the Cardinals and Giants facing off 25 years and eight days ago:
- 2006 (at New York): Cardinals 3, Mets 1 (Yadier Molina hit a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth)
- 2004 (at St. Louis): Cardinals 5, Astros 2 (Jeff Suppan out-dueled Roger Clemens)
- 2003 (at Chicago): Marlins 9, Cubs 6 (Cubs led 5-2 after four innings in first game post-Bartman)
- 1996 (at Atlanta): Braves 15, Cardinals 0 (the last time, before this year, that St. Louis was up 3-1 in NLCS)
- 1992 (at Atlanta): Braves 3, Pirates 2 (the Francisco Cabrera game)
- 1991 (at Atlanta): Braves 4, Pirates 0 (John Smoltz was a boss)
- 1988 (at Los Angeles): Dodgers 6, Mets 0 (Orel Hershiser pitched a shutout, the eighth of nine times in a 10-start span that he went into the ninth with no runs allowed. Ho hum)
- 1987 (at St. Louis): Cardinals 6, Giants 0 (Danny Cox pitched a shutout, Jose Oquendo homered)
- 1984* (at San Diego): Padres 6, Cubs 3 (down 0-2, Padres won their first pennant)
- 1981* (at Montreal): Dodgers 2, Expos 1 (Blue Monday north of the border)
- 1980* (at Houston): Phillies 8, Astros 7 (the last of four straight extra-inning games in the series)
- 1973* (at New York): Mets 7, Reds 2 (the 82-79 Mets beat the 99-win Big Red Machine)
- 1972* (at Cincinnati): Reds 4, Pirates 3 (Johnny Bench hit the tying home run in the ninth; wild pitch scored winning run)
*from 1969-1984, the NLCS was five games
Home teams are 9-4 in deciding games of the NLCS, including 6-2 in Games 7.