UNITED STATES—Both the Cardinals and Nationals went big on Wednesday, October 9 before returning home each with their wins that will pit them against each other in the NLCS.
Wednesday was a big day for both Dodgers and Braves fans that ended with tears and disappointment for both teams. The St. Louis Cardinals started the day off going against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park in Atlanta for an all or nothing Game 5 of the NLDS. The Cardinals showed everyone they were there to win as they scored 10 runs in the first inning alone, all via singles, doubles, and walks.
Their starting pitcher, Jack Flaherty, struck out 8 players, walked 1, and gave up only 1 run to the Braves in the home run by third basemen, Josh Donaldson. The Cardinals made history with their first inning of 10 runs for the biggest opening inning in postseason history, beating the Braves out of the NLCS with a final score of 13-1. This is the Cardinals first playoff series win since their arrival to D.C. (formerly The Montreal Expos).
Later that day at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers faced the Washington Nationals for one decisive final game of the series. The Dodgers started off fast with 3 runs in the first two innings, including a 2-run homer off Max Muncy’s bat, followed by a single homer by Enrique Hernandez. Starting Dodger pitcher Walker Buehler, 25, managed to hold off the Nationals for his 6.2 innings pitched with only one earned run in the form of Juan Soto’s single in the top of the sixth.
Dodger’s manager, Dave Roberts, pulled Buehler and brought in the team’s Ace, Clayton Kershaw, 31, out of the bullpen to get the last out of the seventh inning. Kershaw was successful in getting the last out, but things went downhill from there after remaining on the mound for the start of the eighth inning where the Ace gave up 2 homers to Nationals Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.
The Nationals were able to tie the game up 3-3 in the eighth and Kershaw was pulled with Kenta Maeda coming in as relief. Maeda was able to keep the game tied with no runs brought in by the Nationals, but the Dodgers were not able to produce any runs when they had their at-bats. Former Red Sox pitcher, Joe Kelly, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Dodgers and with no offense from the boys in blue; the game went onto extra innings. Kelly remained on the mound for the tenth inning and loaded the bases before giving up a grand slam to former Dodgers player, Howie Kendrick that set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Dodgers fell to the Nationals 7-3 and lost their chance at a third straight World Series appearance despite a franchise record season of 106 wins.
Game 1 of the NLCS is set for this Friday, October 11 at Busch Stadium at 5:08 p.m. PST.