The Washington Nationals can be excused for their haste, rushing into the franchise’s first World Series with a seven-run first inning to earn a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday and finish off a four-game sweep of the National League Championship Series.
Yan Gomes and Trea Turner drove in two runs each in the first inning as the Nationals pulled off the first playoff series sweep in franchise history. Washington will await the winner of the Houston Astros-New York Yankees American League Championship Series, opening the World Series on the road on Oct. 22.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (1-2) gave the Nationals a fourth consecutive strong pitching performance in the series. Corbin did allow four runs, but he struck out 12 over five innings.
Washington starters delivered a 1.35 ERA over 26 2/3 innings in the series.
Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson (0-1) recorded just one out, giving up seven runs (four earned) on five hits with one walk. The Nationals not only were helped by a first-inning error by Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, but Victor Robles’ RBI single fell untouched between Wong and right fielder Jose Martinez after a miscommunication.
The Cardinals never led in the series and were outscored 20-6 in the four games. It was the first sweep in the NLCS since 2015, when the New York Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs, and just the second NLCS sweep in 12 years.
The Nationals’ sixth consecutive victory in the postseason came decisively.
Turner led off the first inning with a single, Adam Eaton doubled, and Anthony Rendon lofted a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. Juan Soto’s double made it 2-0, and after an intentional walk to Howie Kendrick and a fielder’s choice from Ryan Zimmerman on which Wong dropped a sure forceout, Robles looped his RBI single to right.
Gomes and Turner delivered their two-run hits as the Nationals sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
When the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina hit a home run in the fourth, it was the first time a Nationals starter gave up an earned run in the series. Corbin still became the first pitcher in postseason history to record 10 strikeouts in the first four innings of an outing.
The Cardinals scored three times in the fifth inning, once on Tommy Edman’s groundout and twice on a Martinez double.
Nationals relievers Tanner Rainey (one inning), Sean Doolittle (1 2/3 innings) and Daniel Hudson (1 1/3 innings) closed out the win. Hudson left the bases loaded in the eighth inning en route to his second save of the series and fourth in this year’s postseason.