The St. Louis Cardinals, having posted 17-8 and 13-14 records the first two months of the 2000 season, juxtaposed that early-season pattern and sat in second place at the 2001 season's one-third mark. This time they went 12-12 in April, dropping into fifth place, before winning 10 consecutive games May 7-17 and vaulting briefly into first. A 1-8 road trip in early June was the primary cause of that month's 11-16 record, and by the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals were 43-43 and eight games behind division-leading Houston. That was still their situation, but with a 57-55 record, as they opened play August 9, before going on an 11-game win streak that triggered the club's postseason drive. The pair of double-figure win streaks were the first for a St. Louis Cardinal ballclub in the same season since 1941. And the St. Louis Cardinals' fans continued showing their support, as 3,113,091 paid their way into Busch Stadium, marking the fourth consecutive season, and sixth in club history, of three-million-plus attendance.
Widely expected to finish in third place, the St. Louis Cardinals defied all expectations, except perhaps their own, with 105 wins and the franchise's first pennant in 17 years. Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds posted MVP-caliber seasons, Albert Pujols put up his usual amazing numbers and the August addition of Larry Walker helped the St. Louis Cardinals lead the National League in runs scored. Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter headed a pitching staff of relative no-names that combined with an airtight defense to lead the league in runs allowed as well. Four starters totaled at least 15 wins, topped by Jeff Suppan's 16, as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Dodgers and Astros in the playoffs to advance to the World Series. There they ran into the mighty Red Sox and were swept, giving Boston its first World Series title since 1918.