Nationals

Nats make 1st trip to Dodger Stadium since Kendrick’s NLDS game-winner

Nationals

Howie Kendrick immortalized himself into Nationals history when he stepped up to the plate to deliver one of the most epic moments of Washington's 2019 World Series run. 

The Nationals open a three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Friday, which will be the first time the two teams will go head-to-head since Kendrick's extra-innings grand slam propelled Washington to victory in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

It took until the sixth inning for Juan Soto to drive Anthony Rendon home for the Nats to get on the scoreboard and cut into the Dodgers' 3-0 lead. Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and company helped keep LA's offense in check as the Dodgers failed to score another run. 

Rendon took full advantage. In the 8th inning, the former Nats slugger crushed Clayton Kershaw's second pitch of the night beyond the wall to cut the deficit to 3-2. Then, Soto homered on the very next pitch to end Kershaw's relief appearance out of the bullpen. It was truly an epic turn of events in the eighth inning. 

With the score tied at three heading into extra innings, the Nats offense started well. Rendon's double sent Adam Eaton to third, Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases and set the stage for Kendrick. With a fluid swing of the bat, the former Dodger connected perfectly with Joe Kelly's pitch to blast it to the stands. 

The grand slam gave the Nats a 7-3 lead and relief pitcher Sean Doolittle closed things out to give the Nationals their first divisional series win. From the team's watch party at Nationals Park, fans were filled with tears of joy and amazement.  

 

The 2020 pandemic-altered season denied Nationals fans the chance to relive such a wondrous moment in the team's history.

Though Friday's early April encounter will be of much less significance, it'll surely be a great moment for the Nationals players that haven't been back at Dodger Stadium since that monumental day.