There’s a new biggest moment in Nationals history. The architect? Howie Kendrick.
Kendrick had a rough NLDS entering Game 5, and his struggles continued with an error and another tough night at the plate.
But when it mattered most -- and really, when can it matter more than extra innings of a winner-take-all postseason game? -- Kendrick came through.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts inexplicably left in the mercurial Joe Kelly to pitch the top of the 10th inning against the heart of the Nationals’ order. He was trying to get past Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, before going with a lefty to face Juan Soto. This would have saved all-world closer Kenley Jansen for another inning or situation.
Instead, Kelly walked Eaton and gave up a double to Rendon. After intentionally walking Soto, Roberts *still* left Kelly on the mound to face the ice cold Kendrick.
Then came the magic.
Kendrick roped a ball just right of center, and it never stopped carrying. It was just the second extra-inning grand slam in postseason history, in the 13th extra-inning elimination game in postseason history.
Any way you slice it, this was an unforgettable moment in the history of not only the Washington Nationals, but Major League Baseball as a whole.
What a swing. What a home run. What a moment.
Stay in the fight? The Nationals are bringing the fight now, and the latest punch came from Howie Kendrick.
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