Nats, Cards in un­likely matchup

The Morning Call - - MLB - By Paul New­berry

With the top teams out of the mix, it’s on to a most un­likely matchup in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

The Car­di­nals are back in the NLCS for the first time since 2014 after a stun­ner of an in­ning in At­lanta.

They’ll face the Na­tion­als, who dis­patched their play­off de­mons with an up­set of the 106-win Dodgers.

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

The best-of-seven se­ries be­gins Fri­day night at Busch Sta­dium in St. Louis. This was the first time since 2015 that both of a league’s top seeds were elim­i­nated in the di­vi­sion se­ries.

The Car­di­nals were within four outs of elim­i­na­tion against the Braves in Game 4, but bounced back for a 10th-in­ning vic­tory.

The de­cid­ing game in At­lanta was over not long after it started.

The Car­di­nals be­came the first team in base­ball his­tory to score 10 runs in the open­ing in­ning of a post­sea­son game and went on to a 13-1 vic­tory.

“It felt like we blinked and the next thing you know, it’s 10-0,” third base­man Matt Car­pen­ter said.

Just mak­ing the play­offs didn’t seem likely after the Na­tion­als lost star slug­ger Bryce Harper in free agency and then got off to a 19-31 start.

But the Na­tion­als went 74-38 the rest of the way to claim a play­off spot, ral­lied from three runs down to beat the Brew­ers 4-3 in the wild-card game, and then pulled off an­other es­cape job against the mighty Dodgers in the NLDS.


The Na­tion­als cel­e­brate after Wed­nes­day night’s come­back win over the Dodgers.

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