Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Wednesday, highlighted by the Nationals shocking the Dodgers with a late-game comeback to knock them out of the playoffs and the Cardinals burying the Braves with a record 10-run first inning.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Thursday!
Extra Inning Grand Slam Caps Stunning Comeback by Nationals to Send the NL-Best Dodgers Home
After winning 106 games in the regular season, many penciled the Los Angeles Dodgers into this year’s World Series.
The NL Wild Card-winning Washington Nationals made sure those brackets were erased on Wednesday night.
The Nationals, whose theme this season has been “Stay in the Fight,” have done just that this postseason, and shocked the baseball world on Wednesday night by taking down the NL’s top seed in the decisive Game 5, 7-3 in 10 innings.
The Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead through two innings, powered by home runs off the bats of Max Muncy and Enrique Hernández.
Trailing 3-1 in the 8th inning and their season hanging in the balance, the Nationals stunned the Dodgers by hitting back-to-back home runs off of Clayton Kershaw, who was brought on in relief. The Nationals’ two offensive stars, Anthony Rendon and 20-year-old Juan Soto provided the fireworks on back-to-back pitches to tie the game at three.
Second baseman Howie Kendrick would then deliver the biggest hit in Nationals’ history, connecting on a grand slam in the tenth inning which would be the decisive blow in the win-or-go-home game.
After losing three Game 5’s in Division Series in previous seasons, the Nationals finally exorcised their demons.
Washington heads to the National League Championship Series for the first time in their 14-year history, which will begin on Friday night in (spoiler alert for the section below!) St. Louis against the Cardinals.
Cardinals’ Record 10-Run First Inning Sends St. Louis to National League Championship Series
The St. Louis Cardinals sucked the life out of SunTrust Park in Atlanta before Braves fans could even get settled in for the decisive game of their series on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cardinals jumped on the Braves in the top of the first, becoming the first team in MLB history to score 10 runs in the first inning of a playoff game.
The stunning start to the game led to a 13-1 rout that clinched the NLDS for the Cardinals and advanced them to their first NLCS since 2014.
In the year of the home run, it was surprising to see a ten-spot put up without the aid of a single long ball.
The record inning included three doubles, two singles, four walks (two of those forced in runs with the bases loaded) and a huge error by first baseman Freddie Freeman on a ball that could have gotten the Braves out of the inning with a double play trailing only 1-0.
The Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz was able to only record one out before being removed from the game. His final line read – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB.
The Cardinals’ first-inning explosion also set MLB records for most runs scored in a single inning in a division series and most in an inning during a winner-take-all game. It also tied the most runs scored in any postseason inning.
The beneficiary of the ten-run head-start was Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty who went 6 innings and allowed only one run on four hits while striking out eight batters.
The Cardinals will now face the Washington Nationals in the National League Championship Series, which begins on Friday in St. Louis at 8:08 p.m. ET on TBS.
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AL DIVISION SERIES GAME 5: Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros
The Astros and the Rays meet tonight in a decisive Game 5, in which the winner will punch a ticket to the ALCS to face the New York Yankees. The Astros will start Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA) who was sensational in Game 2 with 15 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball. The Rays will counter with their impressive 26-year-old right-hander, Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78 ERA).
WHEN: Tonight, 7:07 p.m. ET
SERIES: Series tied 2-2
NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: New York Giants at New England Patriots
Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots will be a stern test for rookie Daniel Jones and the Giants who will be without their top offensive weapons (Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram).
WHEN: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, NFL Network
WNBA FINALS GAME 5: Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics
It’s all on the line tonight as the Mystics and Sun play for the WNBA Championship in the winner-take-all Game 5. Neither organization has ever won a WNBA title.
WHEN: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2
SERIES: Series tied 2-2
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