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Washington Nationals headed to World Series after 7-4 win, four-game sweep of St. Louis Cardinals in NLCS

With a seven-run first inning, the Washington Nationals jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 7-4 win and a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the NL pennant and bringing World Series baseball back to D.C.

Photo used with permission of owner.
Photo used with permission of owner.

For the first time since 1933, when the original Washington Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games, 86 years ago this month, there will be World Series baseball in the nation’s capital, after the Nationals’ 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals tonight gave them a four-game sweep in the NLCS and an NL Pennant for the first time in franchise history.

Patrick Corbin struck out 12 of the 22 batters he faced in a 94-pitch outing that ended after just five innings, and the Nationals’ offense jumped out to a 7-0 lead with a seven-run first, then held on for a fourth straight win over the Cards. Is this real life?

Corbin vs the Cardinals: Patrick Corbin came on as a late-inning left-hander in Game 2 of the NLCS with the Cardinals, retiring one batter, in what was his third straight appearance out of the bullpen after he started in Game 1 of the NLDS with the Dodgers.

Corbin gave up three hits, two runs, one earned, and five walks, striking out nine in a 107-pitch, six-inning outing on the road in Dodger Stadium in the first postseason start of his career.

Making his second start in the postseason tonight, Corbin tossed a quick, 1-2-3 first, striking out the side, and he returned to the mound in the second with a 7-0 lead.

Corbin held the Cardinals off the board through three, piling up strikeouts with seven from the first 11 batters he faced, and he added three more in the fourth, though he also gave up a solo home run by Yadier Molina. 7-1 Nats. 10 Ks from 15 batters faced.

Two walks around a single in the top of the fifth loaded the bases with Cardinals with no one out, and a run scored on a grounder to second, 7-2, before José Martínez hit a 2-run double to right to make it a three-run game, 7-4.

Corbin got Paul Goldschmidt swinging for out No. 2 (and K No. 11), and Marcell Ozuna K’d swinging as well to end a 39-pitch inning that left the left-hander at 94 pitches total after five, with 12 Ks from 22 batters faced on the night.

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 12 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P 65 S, 2/0 GO/FO.

Hudson vs the Nationals: Dakota Hudson gave up four hits and two runs, one earned, in six innings of work on the mound when he faced the Nationals in the nation’s capital back on May 2nd, and he held the Nats to two runs on five hits in seven innings when he started at home against Washington in St. Louis on September 16th.

“He threw seven innings, right,” bench coach Chip Hale said after the outing, “... and did a really good job of keeping the ball down, and we knew that, sinker/slider, obviously both teams see a lot of each other in Spring Training, so we knew what we were going to get and I thought our hitters did a nice job against him but he just kept battling.”

Hudson went 4 23 innings in his first start in the 2019 postseason, giving up five hits, two walks, and four runs, just one earned, in what ended up a 5-4 NLDS win over Atlanta in which he received no decision.

The Cardinals’ 25-year-old righty said the experience of starting in a win-or-go-home Game 4 with the Braves prepared him for the situation he was walking into tonight.

“I think that gave me the experience to kind of sit back and even just kind of a different approach to just kind of stay within myself,” Hudson said.

“I’m not going to go out there and try to do anything that’s out of my skill set. I just want to give the best I have and stay within myself to where I have the best chance of success.”

It, uh, did not go well for Hudson. Trea Turner singled, Adam Eaton doubled, and a sac fly by Anthony Rendon made it 1-0 early. Juan Soto doubled, 2-0, and after an intentional walk put Howie Kendrick on, an error on an attempted force at second base on a Ryan Zimmerman grounder to third loaded the bases before three Cards converged on a Victor Robles’ pop to short right and let it drop in for an RBI single, 3-0. Yan Gomes stepped in next and singled to left to drive in two more, 5-0. That was it for Hudson...

Dakota Hudson’s Line: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 15 P, 10 S, 1/1 GO/FO.

Turn-on & Rend-on: With a walk in his final plate appearance in last night’s win, Trea Turner extended his on base streak to 21-straight games, going back to September 17th.

Turner put up a .315 AVG over that stretch, with nine doubles, six home runs, 11 RBIs, five walks, three steals, and 18 runs scored.

Anthony Rendon reached base in the first three of his four plate appearances last night, but when he doubled the second time up, he extended a postseason hit streak to seven straight games, over which he’s gone 11 for 23 (.478/.548/.743) with four doubles, one home run, six walks, and four Ks over that stretch.

Turner singled twice in the first inning tonight, as the Nationals batted around and scored seven runs, and Anthony Rendon singled in the second inning, as both players extended their streaks.

BULLPEN ACTION: Adam Wainwright took over on the mound with the Cardinals behind 5-0 in the first, and got an out on a sac bunt by Patrick Corbin, but Trea Turner’s second single of the first inning drove in two more runs, 7-0.

Wainwright tossed a scoreless bottom of the second, and the Cardinals turned to righty Ryan Helsley in the bottom of the third. Halsley gave the Cards two scoreless innings in relief, keeping it a six-run game, 7-1, after Yadier Molina homered off Patrick Corbin in the top of the fourth.

Giovanny Gallegos retired the side in order in a nine-pitch bottom of the fifth, after the Cards scored three in the top of the inning, 7-4.

Tanner Rainey was the first arm out of the pen for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and he retired the side in order in a 16-pitch frame (with some help from Trea Turner).

Sean Doolittle got the ball for the Nationals in the top of the seventh, and retired the Cards in order in a nine-pitch frame.

Andrew Miller worked around a two-out single by Juan Soto for a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning.

Doolittle returned to the mound in the top of the eighth and retired two batters before a single to right by Marcell Ozuna ended his outing.

Daniel Hudson came on with a runner at first and Yadier Molina at the plate, and hit Molina to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of Paul DeJong, who fell behind 0-2, but got to a full count and walked to load the bases.

Matt Carpenter stepped in next, fell behind 0-2, got to 2-2, and grounded out to second. 7-4 Nats after seven and a half.

Andrew Miller came back out for the bottom of the eighth, and retired the Nationals in order.

Hudson came back out in the top of the ninth and retired the Cardinals in order... OMFG!?!!!


Final Score: 7-4 Nationals