Nats oust Dodgers, Cards dump Braves to reach NLCS

Nats oust Dodgers, Cards dump Braves to reach NLCS
The Washington Nationals are going to the National League Championship Series after beating the Dodgers Wednesday, Oct. 9. (Source: Washington Nationals)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals will play for the National League pennant, beginning Friday in St. Louis. The Nationals advanced with an impressive comeback win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles after the Cardinals crushed the Braves in Atlanta. In both cases, the winners advanced on the road in Game 5 after trailing the NL Division Series two games to one.

Former Dodger Howie Kendrick launched a grand slam off reliever Joe Kelly with nobody out in the 10th inning to send the Nats to a 7-3 triumph at Los Angeles. Kendrick’s blast knocks out the team that posted the National League’s best record during the regular season and puts the Nats in the NLCS for the first time.

Max Muncy and Kike Hernandez homered off Stephen Strasburg to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead through two innings before the Nationals rallied. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto tied it with back-to-back solo blasts off Clayton Kershaw in the eighth, two innings after Soto’s RBI single ended Walker Buehler’s shutout bid.

Daniel Hudson picked up the victory by tossing a scoreless ninth. Sean Doolittle closed it out by retiring the Dodgers in order in the 10th.

Buehler had to settle for a no-decision after limiting the Nationals to a run and six hits while striking out seven over 6 2/3 innings.

In Atlanta, the Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate while erupting for 10 runs on five hits, four walks and a huge error in the first inning of a 13-1 rout of the Braves. The Braves had a chance to get out of the frame trailing just 1-0, but first baseman Freddie Freeman botched a potential inning-ending double play grounder.

Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong provided two-run doubles following the error, allowing the Cardinals to turn the deciding game into a laugher. Pitcher Jack Flaherty walked with the bases loaded and Fowler reached base twice during the rally.

The 10 runs is a major league record for a postseason game.

Braves starting and losing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz retired just one batter while surrendering seven runs - six earned - on three hits and three walks. Max Fried (freed) allowed three runs in the first and was lifted to start the third inning with Atlanta trailing 11-0.

Flaherty breezed through six innings to get the win, limiting the Braves to one run and four hits while striking out eight. Flaherty had a shutout until Josh Donaldson homered in the fourth.

The outcome puts St. Louis in the NLCS for the first time since 2014, when they fell to the Giants.

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