Astros Look to Get Even With Cards

Roy Oswalt (search), a 20-game winner in each of the past two seasons, will take the mound Thursday night as the Houston Astros try to even the best-of-seven NL Championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mark Mulder (16-9) gets the ball for St. Louis, which won Game 1 5-3 Wednesday night.

As for Oswalt, he didn't blink, smirk or squirm when the first question asked of him during a news conference concerned Roger Clemens (search).

The 28-year-old right-hander has become accustomed to being overshadowed by Houston teammates Clemens and Andy Pettitte (search). According to his manager, that's the way he likes it.

"Roy himself is not a self-promoter," Phil Garner said. "He's very laid back, as you all know, and that's not a show he puts on. That's the way he is. He's very comfortable being in the back room."

"He just likes going out and pitching, doing his job and saying, 'Thank you very much,' and going home."

The Cardinals have played two straight postseason series and one game of this one without the lead changing hands.

In being swept in four games by the Boston Red Sox (search) in the 2004 World Series, the Cardinals fell behind 7-2 early in Game 1, rallied twice to tie it, and the game was even at 9 before the Red Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth.

St. Louis would never be even again. In the three remaining games, Boston scored in the first inning and never looked back.

The Cardinals never trailed in a three-game division series sweep of the San Diego Padres.

In Game 1, St. Louis went ahead 8-0 before winning 8-5. In Game 2, it was a 6-0 St. Louis lead en route to a 6-2 victory. And in Game 3, the Cardinals led 7-0 and won 7-4.

On Wednesday, St. Louis went ahead 5-0 through five innings and never trailed, winning 5-3.