The 2002 National League Championship Series (NLCS) was a Major League Baseball playoff series played from October 9 to 14 to determine the champion of the National League, between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild-card qualifying San Francisco Giants. It was a rematch of the 1987 NLCS, in which the Cardinals defeated the Giants in seven games. The Cardinals, by virtue of being a division winner, had the home field advantage.
The two teams were victorious in the NL Division Series (NLDS), with the Cardinals defeating the West Division champion Arizona Diamondbacks three games to none, and the Giants defeating the East Division champion and heavily favored Atlanta Braves three games to two.
The Giants won the series in five games but were defeated by the Anaheim Angels in seven games in the World Series.
San Francisco won the series, 4–1.
Wednesday, October 9, 2002 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri
The Giants struck first in Game 1 off of Matt Morris with two on via Benito Santiago's single to score Kenny Lofton from second. Next inning, Morris struck out the first two batters he faced, then allowed a single to Lofton, who stole second and scored on Rich Aurilia's single. After Jeff Kent singled, Barry Bonds's triple scored two before Bonds scored on Santiago's single. The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the inning off of Kirk Rueter on Fernando Vina's groundout with runners on second and third, but home runs by Lofton in the third and David Bell in the fifth off of Morris gave the Giants a 7−1 lead. Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth off of Rueter, but the Giants got those runs back in the sixth on Santiago's home run off of Mike Crudale. The Cardinals cut the lead to 9−5 on Miguel Cairo's two-run home run in the bottom of the inning, then made it 9−6 on J. D. Drew's home run in the eighth off of Tim Worrell, but Robb Nen pitched a scoreless ninth for the save as the Giants went up 1−0 in the series.
Thursday, October 10, 2002 at Busch Stadium (II) in St. Louis, Missouri
In Game 2, the Giants went up 1−0 on Rich Aurilia's home run in the first off of Woody Williams. His two-run home run in the fifth made it 3−0. Jason Schmidt pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings before allowing Eduardo Perez's home run in the eighth. The Giants added a run in the ninth on Ramon Martinez's groundout off of Jason Isringhausen with runners on first and third while Robb Nen pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning for his second consecutive save. The Giants went up 2−0 in the series heading to San Francisco.
Saturday, October 12, 2002 at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, California
In Game 3, the Giants loaded the bases in the second with no outs off of Chuck Finley, but only scored once on Rich Aurilia's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals responded in the third off of Russ Ortiz when with runners on second and third, Edgar Renteria's sacrifice fly and Jim Edmonds's groundout scored a run each. They added to their lead on home runs by Mike Matheny in the fourth and Edmonds in the fifth, but Barry Bonds's three-run home run in the fifth tied the game. In the sixth, Eli Marrero's leadoff home run off of Jay Witasick proved to the game winner as the Cardinals 5−4 win cut the Giants' series lead to 2−1.
Sunday, October 13, 2002 at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, California
The Cardinals took an early lead off Liván Hernández, scoring two runs in the first inning on a Jim Edmonds groundout and a single by Tino Martinez. After being held scoreless for five innings the Giants bats would answer in the sixth, when J. T. Snow hit a two-run double to score Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds. In the eighth, Benito Santiago would deliver the key blow for San Francisco with a two-run home run following an intentional walk to Bonds (with nobody on base). In the ninth, the Cardinals would threaten against Robb Nen, cutting the deficit to 4–3 with a Jim Edmonds single, which put runners at first and third base with one out for slugger Albert Pujols. However, Nen struck out Pujols and J. D. Drew to give the Giants a 3–1 series advantage.
Monday, October 14, 2002 at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, California
Game 5 was a pitchers duel between Matt Morris and Kirk Rueter as the Giants looked for their first pennant since 1989. Fernando Viña started the scoring with a seventh inning sac fly, but the Giants responded with a sac fly by Barry Bonds. In the ninth, Matt Morris retired the first two batters before allowing consecutive singles to David Bell and Shawon Dunston. Steve Kline was then brought in to pitch to Kenny Lofton, who had yelled at the Cardinals dugout earlier after an inside pitch. On the first pitch, Lofton delivered a single to right field, scoring Bell as J.D Drew's throw was off-line, clinching the pennant for the Giants.
2002 NLCS (4–1): San Francisco Giants over St. Louis Cardinals