three in Game 5 at home. Nationals rallied late on big hit by Soto to win wild-card game against Milwaukee and did it again in Game 5 of Division Series against NL-best Dodgers in Los Angeles. Rendon and Soto homered on consecutive pitches from three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to tie score in eighth inning, then Kendrick hit grand slam in 10th for 7-3 victory. Nationals won a playoff series for first time since club moved to Washington and became first team in major league history to come back from three or more runs down twice in elimination games during same postseason. ... No such dramatics were necessary in NL Championship Series as Nationals completely shut down Cardinals and outscored them 20-6 for four-game sweep. Sánchez took no-hit bid into eighth inning of opener and Scherzer carried one into seventh the next day. Strasburg and Corbin each struck out 12 in final two games. Kendrick had big series at plate and was NLCS MVP. ... Team success is built mainly on strong starting rotation, which is among best in majors, led by Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin. Those three all ranked in top 10 in NL in ERA, strikeouts and opponents' batting average. ... This is Nationals' first playoff appearance as a wild-card team. Became only third wild card to reach World Series since MLB went to 10-team playoff format in 2012. ... Martinez won his postseason debut as a manager in wild-card game against Milwaukee. Washington went 82-80 during his rookie season as a skipper in 2018. ... Martinez missed three games and part of a fourth because of a heart problem in September. He had a medical procedure and was back in the dugout a few days later.
Kristie Rieken, Associated Press | Updated Oct 19th - 4:32pm
Brad Peacock is starting for the Houston Astros in Game 6 as they use a bullpen day to try to close out the AL Championship Series on Saturday night against a New York Yankees lineup again without slugger Giancarlo Stanton.