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Howie Kendrick grand slam NLDS Game 5



LOS ANGELES – Howie Kendrick compensated with a swing for a forgotten series. He launched the decisive grand slam in the 10th round of Game 5 on Wednesday night, sent the Citizens' Dugout to a frenzy, judging a sold out crowd at Dodger Stadium and erasing so much pain and

LOS ANGELES – With a Swing, Howie Kendrick compensated for a forgotten series. He launched the decisive grand slam in the 10th round of Game 5 on Wednesday night, sending the Citizens' Dugout to a frenzy, judging a sold out crowd at Dodger Stadium and erasing so much pain and disappointment in the words "Game 5" in DC

The Washington Nationals have won a playoff series. Go ahead and let it sink in. The Nats have only been for about 1

4 years, so baseball fans in D.C. can hardly be called long-term suffering, but four Nationals teams over the past eight years advanced to this point. Some of them probably should have advanced. But sometimes baseball happens. Or you come across a team that starts a memorable run.

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The Nationals go to the National League Championship Series for the first time in franchise history. They beat the top-seeded, 106-win Dodgers in the NL Division Series, securing the decisive game with a 7-3 victory. And now the citizens go to St. Louis, where the NLCS begins on Friday night.

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"I couldn't be more proud that he just stopped at the moment," National Manager Dave Martinez said of Kendrick. "Things happen in this game, but we worked really hard to keep him healthy all year long to get him here today. I'm so proud of him. I mean, huge, huge moment for him and for this team."

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On three occasions (2012, & # 39; 16 and & # 39; 17) the citizens had lost in Game 5, but this time would be different due to who they had on the mound. Stephen Strasburg carried the lowest ERA (a minuscule 0.64) for each starting pitcher with at least 25 post-season goals into Wednesday. Much like they did with Max Scherzer in Game 4, Nature planned to ride her arm to victory.

Strasburg was not at his sharpest at the start of the game. The first batter he encountered, Joc Pederson, hammered a ground-rule double that went through a barrier in the left-field wall. The next batter, Max Muncy, placed a ball over the right-field wall. The Dodgers got another run in the second round by a solo homer from Enrique Hernández, and then Strasburg settled into the game.

On two levels, the Nationals changed the skin of the skin. After two runs in the eighth round against Clayton Kershaw, Anthony Rendon launched Kershaw's second pitch at the left-field spots. Juan Soto set the next pitch in the midfield seats, a 449-foot homer projected by Statcast as the longest in his career.

"Not many may experience this or a moment like this," Rendon said. "So obviously there will be nerves and there will be some emotions that are wild, but that's what's fun about it, that's what's great."

Jamal Collier has been covering Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier .


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