Thu, Oct 17, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Nationals get first World Series berth

AFP, WASHINGTON

The Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner scores a run against the St Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of their National League Championship Series at Nationals Park in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

The Washington Nationals on Tuesday reached the World Series for the first time in franchise history after completing a 4-0 series sweep over the St Louis Cardinals.

A blistering first inning laid the foundation for a 7-4 victory over the Cardinals, who rallied in the fifth inning, but were unable to overturn the deficit.

Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin fanned 12 batters through five innings before allowing four runs as the Cardinals attempted to claw their way back into contention.

On Tuesday next week, the Nationals face the winner of the American League Championship Series — either the Houston Astros or the New York Yankees — in Game 1 of the World Series.

The National League Championship Series victory marked the latest chapter of an improbable season for the Nationals, who earlier this year were 19-31 with little apparent hope of reaching the playoffs.

Before Tuesday, the Nationals were one of two major league teams, along with the Seattle Mariners, who had never reached a World Series.

“I can’t put this moment into words,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Often bumpy roads lead to beautiful places. I can’t wait to do this next week.”

Three convincing wins over the Cardinals in the opening games of the championship series had left them on the brink of a World Series berth, and before an expectant Nationals Park on Tuesday, they were in no mood to be denied.

With a sea of red-shirted fans roaring them on, the Nationals raced into a 7-0 lead in the first inning.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt yanked starting pitcher Dakota Hudson off the mound, but relief pitcher Adam Wainwright’s arrival did little to staunch the bleeding.

The victory was sweet for Nationals veteran Howie Kendrick, who was named series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after going 5 for 15 with four doubles and four RBI.

“All of the blood, sweat and tears and grinding, the losses, the wins come down to this moment,” Kendrick said as he received his MVP award. “I can truly say this is the best moment of my career.”

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