Scherzer, Zimmerman lead Nats past LA 6-1 to force Game 5

Will Newton  Getty Images

Will Newton Getty Images

With the win, the Cardinals have punched their ticket to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2014. Last season, the Braves were closed out at home by the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLDS.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Zimmerman's homer, "For me, in those moments, I take a look real quick at the dugout". Over the years, the city has been the place where opponents come to celebrate in October, and St. Louis certainly hopes to continue that trend.

Expecting another close game, the Cardinals had Kolten Wong put down a sacrifice bunt to move Fowler to second.

In total, 14 batters came to the plate. He gave up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out seven.

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Needless to say, the Braves picked a awful time to have the worst inning in the franchise's last 94 years.

Beginning with Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals boast a rotation that is better than most of their rivals, which played a significant role in them winning a first divisional title in four years. But a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Adam Duvall sealed the victory for the Braves, marking only the second time since the All-Star break that the 23-year-old right-hander gave up as many as three runs in a start.

The Cardinals will now await from the victor of the other NLDS between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. This allowed Wong to race home with the Cardinals tenth and final run of the inning. The first inning wouldn't have been so damaging though without Edman delivering a crushing two-run double. Edman would later add a triple to raise his NLDS average to.333.

The Cardinals provided must-see moment after must-see moment in the decisive first inning. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

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There was already plenty of discussion about Freddie Freeman's postseason struggles after he went hitless in 12 at-bats in Games 2 through 4.

One of the criticisms aimed at St. Louis was that its offense had been too inconsistent throughout the regular season, but the scoring explosion in Game 5 against the Braves may have changed opinions. Flaherty loaded the bases in the fifth after drilling Ronald Acuña Jr. with a fastball but induced an inning-ending groundout from Freeman. In fact, it became a bit of a running gag that one of baseball's most popular spots for celebratory pictures was the pitcher's mound in Atlanta, with the center-field scoreboard in the background, since nine visiting teams eliminated the Braves at their previous ballpark, with the Cardinals doing it twice. The 10 runs were also the most scored in a single inning in a division series game. Clearly bothered by a sore elbow, he is hitting just.125 (2 of 16) in the series, with his lone RBI coming on a homer in Game 1.

We know the Cardinals will be playing in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday. "Come on, you got Game 5, win or go home".

PointsBet has the Nationals as 3/4 favorite and the Cardinals as 11/10 underdog, while BetAmerica and FOX Bet believe there's nothing between the two teams and both have the Nationals and the Cardinals at 91/100 to win. The Nats tied the game up in the bottom of the 3, thanks to an Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly, but really opened up the game in the 5 inning when Ryan Zimmerman crushed a 3-run HR to centerfield to open a 5-1 lead for the Nats.

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