Nationals vs. Dodgers score: Howie Kendrick grand slam stuns Dodgers in extras, sends Nats to NLCS

The Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-3, in 10 innings in Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. Washington advances to the NL Championship Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals

The Dodgers' three runs came in the first two innings. Joc Pederson hit a double through the outfield fence and Max Muncy followed up with a two-run home run in the opening frame. Enrique Hernandez tacked on another run with a solo shot in the second inning.

It wasn't until the sixth inning until the Nationals started to get going, as Juan Soto's RBI single to score Anthony Rendon trimmed the deficit to 3-1. Once Walker Buehler was pulled for Clayton Kershaw, Rendon and Soto continued to contribute with back-to-back home runs (on consecutive pitches) in the eighth inning. Then, Howie Kendrick crushed a go-ahead grand slam to dead center field, off Joe Kelly in the 10th inning. Nats closer Sean Doolitte had a shutdown 1-2-3 inning to secure the win.

The wild-card Nationals will head to the NLCS for the first time since the franchise moved to Washington. With the elimination of the top-seeded and two-time defending NL champion Dodgers, there are only two 100-win teams left in this postseason in the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. The Dodgers, meanwhile, remain without a World Series title since 1988.

For more on this game, here are our big takeaways.

Why the Nationals won

This team is resilient, and that's an enormous reason why they won this series.

Washington overcame a 19-31 start and bullpen issues to finish the 2019 regular season 93-69 and clinch a spot in the NL Wild Card Game. In that game, they fought to come back and win late (they were four outs away from elimination) in that game too.

Nats starter Stephen Strasburg wasn't at his best at the start of the game, giving up the first home run(s) of his postseason career. He settled down to put together a quality start, and then Tanner Rainey and Patrick Corbin kept them in the game before two Kershaw pitches changed the entire complexion of the game, and then one swing in extras stunned the folks at Chavez Ravine.

Why the Dodgers lost

To be frank, the Dodgers were six outs from winning this game until three-time Cy Young winner Kershaw blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth. That blown lead paved the way for Kendrick's grand slam in extras. It was the dagger before the dagger.

After Kershaw, things really went south when Joe Kelly couldn't record an out in the 10th, resulting in the grand slam. Manager Dave Roberts really mismanaged the bullpen in the loss, and it only became more obvious when we witnessed the solid performances from relief pitchers Kenta Maeda and Kenley Jansen.

Turning point

The Dodgers were six outs away from securing their spot in the NLCS ... until they weren't any more, thanks to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.

Play of the Game

We're giving play of the game honors to the aforementioned Kendrick grand slam.

It's probably the most exciting moment of the postseason thus far. For sure it was the best moment of Kendrick's career, especially since was having a rough go of it as of late. And it'll certainly land in the top moments in franchise history. 

What's next

The Dodgers season comes to an end, and the Nationals advance to the NL Championship Series against the Cardinals, also Game 5 survivors on Wednesday. with Game 1 at Busch Stadium is set for Friday at 8 p.m. ET -- stream via fuboTV (Try for free). The full postseason schedule can be found here.


CBS Sports was with you the entire way for NLDS Game 5 with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from the game. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories