|Descalso, Freese and company just won't die. (US Presswire)|
The Washington Nationals led 6-0 through three innings, but that was not enough to bury the defending champs, as the Cardinals clawed all the way back and then some, pulling off a four-run ninth inning to win, 9-7. St. Louis has won the best-of-five series, three games to two.
Hero: Gotta go with the two-headed monster of middle infielders Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso. Not only did they combine to go 5-for-10 with five RBI and three runs scored, but Descalso had the two-RBI single to tie it and Kozma had the two-RBI single to take the lead. What an overall impressive comeback effort it was by the entire lineup, but these two stood tall among their much more powerful teammates.
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Goat: You have to blame the entire Nationals' pitching staff for not protecting a 6-0 lead, and also the Nationals offense for not adding anything until the bottom of the eighth -- and then it was only one run. But ultimately they got the ball to their closer with a two-run lead, so the pick has to be Drew Storen. He gave up four earned runs on three hits and two walks in the top of the ninth as the Cards turned a two-run deficit into a two-run lead.
Turning point: Descalso's single up the middle that hit Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond's glove. Up until that point, the Nationals always had victory in sight -- even if it was tense, they had the Cardinals down to their last out, and even last strike a few times.
It was over when: Kozma singled. The Nationals were cooked after blowing that lead and there was no chance they would be able to muster a comeback against Jason Motte in the bottom of the ninth, even with it being the top of the order.
Next: It's on to the National League Championship Series for the Cardinals. Game 1 will be Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET in San Francisco.