Nationals finally win playoff series, eliminate Dodgers to earn NLCS berth
Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Washington Nationals have officially won a playoff series for the first time since the club moved to D.C.

After staging an epic late comeback to tie the game with back-to-back solo home runs from Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto off of Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning, Howie Kendrick's 10th-inning grand slam off of Joe Kelly was the decisive blast in Washington's 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS.

It marked the first time in MLB history that a player has hit an extra-inning grand slam in a do-or-die game.

The Nationals are advancing to the National League Championship Series where they'll face the St. Louis Cardinals in a best-of-seven matchup.

This marks the first time since 1981 that the franchise has advanced to the championship series, dating back to its days as the Montreal Expos, and only the second in the franchise's 51-year history. Since 2005 as the Nationals, the club was 0-for-4 in division series appearances.

Despite the fact that the Nationals won more regular-season games than the Cardinals, St. Louis will have home-field advantage in the upcoming series by virtue of winning its division.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason was during the 2012 NLDS, with the Cardinals claiming victory in five games.

For the Dodgers, the club is deprived of a fourth straight NLCS appearance. It also spoiled a superb outing from Walker Buehler, who outdueled Stephen Strasburg by allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven over 6 2/3 innings.

While Kershaw was hit with the blown save, Joe Kelly wound up taking the loss after allowing Kendrick's grand slam while attempting to get through his second inning of work.

Daniel Hudson earned the victory - the first of his career in the postseason - after working a clean ninth inning.

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Nationals finally win playoff series, eliminate Dodgers to earn NLCS berth
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