Washington powers past stunned Dodgers and into NLCS
A 10th-inning grand slam by Washington ends Los Angeles’ World Series hopes
LOS ANGELES — Howie Kendrick hit a tiebreaking grand slam off in the 10th inning and the Washington Nationals, boosted by a stunning rally against Clayton Kershaw, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday night and advanced to the NL Championship Series against St. Louis.
Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto homered on consecutive pitches to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the eighth against Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner. Soto had started the comeback from a 3-0 hole with an RBI single in the sixth off starter Walker Buehler, then hit a 449-foot drive of Kershaw.
Adam Eaton walked against Joe Kelly leading off the 10th, Rendon doubled on a drive that lodged in the left-field wall and Soto was intentionally walked.
Kendrick, 4 for 19 with one RBI in the series, fouled off a pitch and then hit a 97 mph fastball over the wall in dead center for his second career slam.
“It was electric. Probably the best moment of my career,” said the 36-year-old Kendrick, a 14-year big league veteran who played for the Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. “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.”
Washington overcame a 19-31 start, finished 93-69 and then rallied from a 3-0, eighth-inning deficit to beat Milwaukee 4-3 in the NL wild-card game and bounced back from down 2-1 in this series.
“Oh, man, keep fighting,” Rendon said. “I think that’s the story of maybe this organization.”
The seven-time defending NL
West champion Dodgers, who led the NL with 106 wins, remain without a World Series title since 1988.
“Disappointing is probably an understatement,” manager Dave Roberts said. The Nationals ended 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.
Kershaw sat on the bench after the home runs, looking forlorn, bowing his head and holding it with his hands.
“It’s a terrible feeling,” Kershaw said.
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.
Kiké Hernández homered on Strasburg’s second pitch of the second inning, another fastball, for a 3-0 lead.
Howie Kendrick of the Washington Nationals launches the go-ahead grand slam to center in the top of the 10th inning that sent Washington to a 7-3 win over the National League’s No. 1 playoff seed, the Dodgers.