Nats Stun Dodgers in Extra Innings to Advance to NLCS

Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto. Photo by Austin Mcafee/CSM/Shutterstock (10412728l)

The Washington Nationals did what few thought was possible on Wednesday night, shocking the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers on their home field in extra innings to advance to the National League Championship Series.

The Nats stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to force extra innings on the strength of two solo home runs before winning with a Howie Kendrick grand slam in the top of the tenth inning before a stunned crowd at Dodger Stadium.

Walker Buehler frustrated the Nationals for the first six innings of the game, allowing only one run. The Dodgers were leading on the strength of a Max Muncy solo shot and a Kike Hernandez two-run home run in the first two innings of the game.

Legendary pitcher Clayton Kershaw entered for Buehler in the seventh inning and promptly allowed solo home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. The teams didn’t score again in regulation, so the game was forced to extra innings.

There, one of the most improbable endings occurred. Reliever Joe Kelly walked Adam Eaton and then allowed a double to Anthony Rendon before intentionally issuing a free pass to Soto to load the bases. Howie Kendrick made them pay, smashing a grand slam to dead center to give the Nats a 7-3 lead that they wouldn’t give up.

The Nationals will now face the St. Louis Cardinals with a trip to the franchise’s first-ever World Series on the line.