Strasburg spins 12K gold, Nats take 3-0 NLCS lead
Stephen Strasburg kept the dormant St. Louis Cardinals’ bats quiet and the Washington Nationals rode a four-run third inning to an 8-1 win Monday night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series, bringing them within a game of the first World Series in franchise history.
The Nats right-hander spun seven frames allowing just a single unearned run, striking out 12 without a walk, throwing a season-high 117 pitches. He improved to 3-0 this postseason and lowered his career playoff ERA to a paltry 1.10.
The Nationals took advantage of an uncharacteristically shaky Cardinals defense in the bottom of the third inning. After turning a couple seeing-eye singles by Victor Robles and Adam Eaton into a run, Anthony Rendon poked a bloop into left field that Marcell Ozuna went into a slide to catch, only to have the ball pop out of his mitt, allowing Eaton to score. After a walk to Juan Soto and a wild pitch, Howie Kendrick doubled home two more runs to cap the four-run frame.
Washington tacked on another pair of two-out runs in the fifth, as Kendrick doubled again to score Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double of his own, also to the gap in right-center, to make it 6-0.
Victor Robles, making his first appearance in the series after injuring his hamstring in the NLDS, hit an opposite field home run in the bottom of the 6th to stretch the lead to 7-0.
St. Louis finally scored in the seventh inning as Juan Soto slipped while fielding a single and his relay went wide, allowing Jose Martinez to scamper home from third. Martinez has been the Cardinals’ lone offensive hero, picking up two more hits Monday night.
Zimmerman plated the final run of the night in the bottom of the seventh, following Kendrick’s third double of the night with an RBI-single.
Fernando Rodney and Tanner Rainey got the final six outs to close it out.
The Nationals have outscored the Cardinals 13-2 through the first three games of the series, in which they have never trailed.
Washington can sweep the series and punch its ticket to the World Series Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. in Game 4, as Patrick Corbin takes the hill against Dakota Hudson.