Three takeaways from Nationals' win over the Dodgers in NLDS Game 5Sporting News — (Drew Nantais)
The Nationals are moving on after a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, Washington's Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto crushed back-to-back home runs off Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw to tie the game.
Fast forward to the tenth, where the Dodgers intentionally walked Soto after allowing two Nationals to reach base to lead off the inning. Former Dodger Howie Kendrick stepped in and took Joe Kelly deep to right center for a grand slam and gave the Nationals the 7-3 lead.
Sean Doolittle shut the door in the bottom half of the inning to help the Nats/Expos advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time in 38 years.
The Nats now face the Cardinals in the NLCS with a berth in the World Series on the line.
Three takeaways from the Nationals' win over the Dodgers in NLDS Game 5
Walker Buehler came up big for LA
Buehler got the nod from manager Dave Roberts for Game 5 and boy did he deliver.
The 25-year-old surrendered just one run and four hits over 6 2/3 innings of work while walking three and striking out seven. Buehler also made history as he became the first pitcher ever to strike out at least seven batters in each of his first six postseason games, according to MLB.com.
Tonight's start coupled with his performance in Game 1 (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) gives Buehler a 0.71 ERA this postseason.
Kershaw's playoff struggles continue
While Kershaw didn't start Wednesday's game, he did make an appearance after relieving Buehler in the seventh.
Kershaw managed to get out of a jam, striking out Adam Eaton with two men on and two outs, but it only went downhill from there.
The 31-year-old allowed back-to-back home runs to Rendon and Soto in the eighth as Washington tied the game.
Heading into Wednesday's game, Kershaw's postseason numbers as a reliever were better than as a starter, but it was a small sample size.
It seems the Dodgers' ace just can't find his groove when the calendar flips to October.
The Nationals' postseason woes finally come to an end
For the first time in 38 years, the Nationals/Expos won a playoff series. The franchise's last series victory came in 1981 when they were Montreal Expos. That postseason, the Expos ousted the Phillies in the NLDS in five games before falling to the Dodgers in five in the NLCS.
Most recently, Washington was eliminated in the NLDS in its last four playoff appearances (2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017).
After a dramatic comeback against the Brewers in the NL wild-card game and a victory over the Dodgers in the NLDS, Nats fans have to be pleased with the performance of their team, especially after its 19-31 start this season.