MLB news: Howie Kendrick's grand slam gives Nationals shocking NLDS upset over Dodgers
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Howie Kendrick’s grand slam gives Nationals shocking NLDS upset over Dodgers

Howie Kendrick, Clayton Kershaw

The Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the regular season to the tune of 106 wins and a plus-273 run differential. But the MLB playoffs can be cruel, and now the mighty Dodgers are going home after losing a series-deciding Game 5 to the Washington Nationals in 10 innings, 7-3.

Nationals second baseman Howie Kendrick was the difference, poking a 10th-inning grand slam over the centerfield wall off Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly:

This came after Clayton Kershaw’s playoff demons returned in ugly fashion in the eighth inning. Kershaw relieved Dodgers starter Walker Buehler with two men on in the seventh inning and struck out Adam Eaton on three pitches. However, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto then went back-to-back off Kershaw on consecutive pitches in the eighth, turning a 3-1 game into a 3-3 tie to stun the home crowd at Dodger Stadium:

While disaster had struck, the Dodgers still had a chance to bounce back and advance. Will Smith almost sent everybody home happy in the bottom of the ninth inning, nearly winning the series with a walk-off bomb. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, the ball died in the Chavez Ravine air, and the game wound up in extra innings.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts left Kelly in after a 1-2-3 ninth, and disaster struck immediately. Eaton walked, Rendon doubled and Soto was intentionally walked to set up Kendrick’s heroics. Roberts stuck with Kelly throughout all of this despite the presence of closer Kenley Jansen in the bullpen, a decision that will be scrutinized for some time.

Making this loss even more gutting for the Dodgers is the fact that they scored three runs in the first two innings off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg. They only mustered two hits the rest of the way, though, giving Washington the chance to pull off the upset.

The Nationals will now face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series after the Cardinals hammered the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of their series.