ST. LOUIS – On this wild night of celebration, the Houston Astros owed it all to Roy Oswalt. He took their dreams, hopes and gritty resolve and pitched his teammates into their first World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 Wednesday night with help from Craig Biggio. Coming off a crushing loss in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series at home on Albert Pujols’ stunning homer, the stubborn Astros refused to be shaken. They jumped to an early lead behind Biggio and Jason Lane (USC), got perhaps a little help from the umpires and watched Oswalt shut down St. Louis for seven innings in earning the series MVP award. Oswalt threw 77 of his season-high 118 pitches for strikes, and allowed just three hits in the Game 6 clincher. “It’s unbelievable, I can’t even describe it,” Lance Berkman said. “To be a big part of bringing the World Series – the first World Series ever – to Houston is just tremendous.” For St. Louis, the loss marked the end of the season for the team that led the majors with 100 wins. It also was the final game at Busch, scheduled to be demolished by a wrecking ball to make room for the city’s new ballpark. “We were ready to play, but the guy pitched an outstanding game and shut us down,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. The Astros won this rematch in six games after losing last year in Game 7 at Busch. Born in 1962 as the Colt .45s, the Astros didn’t make the playoffs until 1980 and didn’t win a postseason series until last year. Not until Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens came home to join Oswalt in a stellar rotation did the Astros get over the hump. No game in this postseason would be complete without a disputed call by an umpire. With the Cardinals trailing 3-0 in the fifth, Mark Grudzielanek was hit by a pitch and Molina singled for their first hit. Oswalt knocked down Abraham Nunez’s comebacker and threw wide to second, where Adam Everett made a lunging grab and tried to tag Molina, who jumped back in an effort to dodge the shortstop’s glove. Second base ump Greg Gibson initially spread his arms – perhaps signaling safe, perhaps just to show that Everett was off the bag. Then Gibson made two emphatic out calls, apparently ruling that Everett tagged Molina. Replays appeared to show that Everett missed the tag, and La Russa argued briefly to no avail. During an in-game TV interview, La Russa said the umpire told him there had been a tag. McClelland said Gibson did not ask for help, but another umpire would have come forward if he had a view that clearly showed the call was wrong. Instead of having the bases loaded with none out, the Cardinals had runners at the corners with one out. Pinch-hitter John Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly and Eckstein struck out, ending the inning. Astros manager Phil Garner took a page out of La Russa’s playbook in the sixth, when Everett’s suicide squeeze made it 4-1. Morgan Ensberg (USC) added a two-out RBI single in the seventh. Oswalt advanced two runners with a sacrifice bunt in the third, though St. Louis passed up a chance to cut down the lead runner at third. Mulder’s wild pitch behind Biggio gave Houston the lead, and Biggio’s RBI single made it 2-0. “Once we got a two-run lead, I knew I could go right at ’em,” Oswalt said. Lane connected for a solo shot in the fourth, prompting the Cardinals to get their bullpen up. Oswalt, who also beat the Cardinals in Game 2 of this series, made sure they didn’t have to worry about a Game 7 this year in St. Louis. “It ranks right up there with winning the gold medal,” said Oswalt, who pitched for the United States at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. MOLI-NO With Bengie and Jose Molina seeing their hopes to play in a World Series ended when the Angels were eliminated, it was up to younger brother Yadier, a St. Louis catcher, to try to get a Molina into the Fall Classic. Yadier finished 1 for 4 Wednesday, but the Cardinals could not solve Astros starter Roy Oswalt. NOT JUST EXCELLING ON THE GRIDIRON All the attention has been lavished on USC’s football team, but former Trojans baseball stars Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg will try to help the Astros claim their first World Series title. Both drove in one run in the NLCS clincher on Wednesday night, with Lane hitting a solo homer off Cardinals starter Mark Mulder. GOODBYE, BUSCH STADIUM The Cardinals’ loss meant it also was the final game at Busch, scheduled for demolition to make room for the city’s new ballpark. After the final out, St. Louis fans stood and applauded, then chanted “Let’s Go Cardinals!” The video board played highlights of great Cardinals players and moments at Busch Stadium, featuring Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire and late broadcaster Jack Buck. NUMBERS GAME 5 Active Major League Baseball franchises – the Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Washington Nationals – that have never gone to the World Series. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Yeah, I would classify it as one of the biggest games,” Oswalt said. “Just because of the history of the team, of not being in the World Series after so many years and getting so close.” Now that this wild-card team has its first NL pennant, the Astros will travel to Chicago to take on the AL champion White Sox in the World Series, which begins Saturday night. “It’s been a long time, you know. I’m not greedy, I’m not selfish, just wanted go one time,” Biggio said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am, it took us a long time and we’ve got 5 million people in Houston who are very pumped up right now.” Cameras flashed all over Busch Stadium as Dan Wheeler got Yadier Molina on a flyball for the final out. NL champions for the first time in their 44-season history, the Astros rushed to the mound to celebrate, bouncing in unison before heading to the clubhouse for what was sure to be a more raucous party.