Nationals pave road to World Series with seven-run first inning in NLCS Game 4

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Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson had faced only three batters in his NLCS Game 4 start and the Nationals already had a lead. Then the floodgates opened. Life comes at you fast.

Trea Turner led off with a single to right field, then moved to third base on Adam Eaton‘s double to right-center. Anthony Rendon followed up with a sacrifice fly to center field. Juan Soto then knocked in Eaton with a double to left field. Hudson then intentionally walked postseason hero Howie Kendrick to bring up Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman ripped a grounder down the left field line that third baseman Tommy Edman adroitly snagged, whipping his throw to Kolten Wong at second base for the force out. Wong, however, couldn’t hold onto the ball, loading the bases.

Things got really bad when Victor Robles hit a weak fly ball to shallow right field. Wong and José Martínez both went after the ball. Wong ceded to the right fielder, who watched the ball drop in front of him, allowing the Cardinals’ fourth run to score. The revolving door of National batters continued as Yan Gomes slapped a grounder into the hole on the left side, advancing everyone a base and plating the Cardinals’ fifth run. That ended Hudson’s night. Enter Adam Wainwright, making potentially his final appearance as a Cardinal.

Pitcher Patrick Corbin advanced Robles and Gomes with a sacrifice bunt. Turner, taking his second at-bat of the inning, swatted a line drive single down the left field line to bring both runners home, making it 7-0. Eaton weakly lined out to shortstop to mercifully end the inning.

The Cardinals now know what it feels like to get shelled in the first inning. They memorably scored 10 in the first inning against the Braves in Game 5 of the NLDS.

If the Nationals are able to hold onto their seven-run lead, they’ll sweep the Cardinals and advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.