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Washington Nationals send LA Dodgers to shock playoff exit on Kendrick’s slam | Sport

Howie Kendrick hit a tiebreaking grand slam off Joe Kelly in the 10th inning, and the Washington Nationals overcame a three-run deficit with a late rally to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday night and advance to the NL Championship Series against St Louis.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw blew a 3-1 lead by allowing homers to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto on consecutive pitches in the eighth.

The wild-card Nationals open the NLCS at St Louis on Friday night. The seven-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, who led the NL with 106 wins, remain without a World Series title since 1988.

Adam Eaton walked against Kelly leading off the 10th, Rendon doubled on a drive that lodged in the left field wall and Soto was intentionally walked.

Kendrick fouled off a pitch, then hit a 97mph fastball over the wall in center for his second career slam. The other one was a game-ending, 11th-inning drive against San Francisco in August 2017. Center fielder Cody Bellinger chased the ball all the way to the wall, putting his arms up against the fence as he ran out of room.

Washington Nationals
(@Nationals)

THIS IS HOWIE HIT A GRAND SLAM IN A TIE GAME OF THE 10TH INNING OF GAME 5 OF THE NLDS!!!#BEATLA // #STAYINTHEFIGHT pic.twitter.com/3RMsby8CBl


October 10, 2019

Washington overcame a 19-31 start, finished 93-69, then rallied from a 3-0, eighth-inning deficit to beat Milwaukee 4-3 in the NL wild-card game.

“It was electric. Probably the best moment of my career,” said the 36-year-old Kedrick, a 14-year big league veteran. “We never gave up. The city had faith in us, the fans had faith in us. We believed in ourselves, everybody came through for us.”

Daniel Hudson got the win, retiring Will Smith on a drive to the right field warning track with one on and one out in the ninth, then getting Chris Taylor on a liner to center.

Sean Doolittle pitched the a perfect 10th for the Nationals, ending a streak of three straight NLCS appearances by the Dodgers.

The Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise won a postseason series for only the second time, the first since the Expos beat Philadelphia in a 1981 Division Series caused by the midseason players’ strike.

Stephen Strasburg fell behind 2-0 after eight pitches. Joc Pederson doubled on a drive that went through an opening in the left-field wall – the crowd saw it land in the seats and thought it was a home run – but he was awarded the double after a video review. Muncy, who had been 0 for 12 against Strasburg, drove a fastball over the center-field wall.

Hernández on Strasburg’s second pitch of the second inning, another fastball, for a 3-0 lead.

Strasburg gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one.

There was a scary moment leading off the seventh.

Buehler allowed one run and four hits in six and two-thirds innings before Kershaw came in. There was a scary moment starting the seventh when Buehler hit Suzuki in the left wrist and the ball shot up and knocked off his helmet as the ballpark went silent. Suzuki fell to the ground, grabbing his face. He walked off his under his own power and was replaced by Yan Gomes, who moved behind the plate in the bottom half.

Cards oust Braves with record first inning

The Cardinals turned the diamond into a giant pinball machine, dinging hits all over SunTrust Park.

By the time the Atlanta Braves finally got the third out, it was the most productive first inning in postseason history.

The Cardinals scored 10 runs their first time up and dealt Atlanta another playoff heartbreak, routing the Braves 13-1 in decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Wednesday.

“That was crazy,” said Marcell Ozuna, one of five players who batted twice in the stunning outburst. “We got a good opportunity — and we took it.”

Before many fans had reached their seats, the Cardinals were already booking their plans for the NL Championship Series, where they will face Washington in a best-of-seven set beginning Friday at Busch Stadium.

It will be St. Louis’ first NLCS trip since 2014.

“We know we can beat anyone at this point,” Kolten Wong said.

For the Braves, it might take a while to get over this debacle.

After pitching seven scoreless innings in a Game 2 win, Mike Foltynewicz retired only one hitter before getting yanked. First baseman Freddie Freeman booted a potential double-play ball that might have limited the damage. The Cardinals scored their final run of the inning on a strikeout – a wild pitch in the dirt that skipped away from catcher Brian McCann.

“We just strung together a bunch of great at-bats,” Wong said.

It was Atlanta’s 10th straight postseason round loss since its last victory 18 long years ago, tying the ignominious mark set by the Chicago Cubs between 1908 and 2003.

Carrying on the tradition that started at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, moved on to Turner Field and is now becoming an annual occurrence at SunTrust Park, it was a visiting team that got to celebrate in the A-T-L.

The Cardinals broke out T-shirts and caps, hopped around in the middle of the infield and gathered on the pitcher’s mound for a team portrait with the center field video board looming as a backdrop.

For the 13th time in 21 postseason appearances since moving to Atlanta, the Braves finished the year with a loss on their home field.

“It was more of a shock than anything,” said Josh Donaldson, whose homer provided the lone Atlanta run. “You don’t expect something like that to happen, especially with how well we played all season.”

The Cardinals batted around and got more than halfway through their order a second time before the Braves even came to the plate.

Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Wong all had two-run doubles as St Louis equaled the highest-scoring inning in postseason history, a record set by the Philadelphia Athletics against the Chicago Cubs in the 1929 World Series. It was matched by the Detroit Tigers (1968 World Series v St Louis), the Anaheim Angels (2002 ALCS v Minnesota) and, now, the Cardinals.

No team had ever scored 10 runs in the very first inning of a postseason game. It was the first time the Braves franchise has allowed that many opening-inning runs in any game since they were in Boston on 2 July 1925 against the Brooklyn Robins.

The Cardinals made several changes after their 10-spot in what might’ve been the first set of defensive moves ever made by a team before its opponent had batted. There was no need to worry about any more offense with budding ace Jack Flaherty on the mound, coming off one of the great second halves by a starting pitcher in baseball history.

St. Louis Cardinals
(@Cardinals)

10-RUN FIRST INNING

WALK
SAC BUNT
SINGLE
SINGLE
FIELDERS CHOICE
WALK
DOUBLE
INTENTIONAL WALK
WALK
DOUBLE
DOUBLE
FLY OUT
STRIKEOUT (REACHED ON WILD PITCH)
GROUNDOUT pic.twitter.com/bL6YhJsQfK


October 9, 2019

“We took the crowd out of it,” Fowler said. “We knew Folty would try to get ahead of us. We were trying to get some good pitches to hit. It was a little easier to see the ball today.”

Manager Mike Shildt let the 23-year-old Flaherty throw 104 pitches over six innings, surrendering four hits for the first postseason win of his blossoming career. Flaherty loaded the bases in the fifth after drilling Ronald Acuña Jr with a fastball, but induced an inning-ending groundout from Freeman.

This one, though, will long be remembered for what happened before Flaherty even took the mound.

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