NLDS Game 4: Jayson Werth walk-off home run forces Game 5 for Nationals-Cardinals

David Brown
Big League Stew

Score and situation: The Washington Nationals forced a deciding Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday with a dramatic 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, heavily bearded slugger Jayson Werth sent Nationals Park into bedlam with a tie-breaking, game-ending home run into the visitor's bullpen.

Leading lads: Werth, for sure. On the 13th pitch of his winning at-bat, Werth stopped fouling and started driving, connecting for his 14th career postseason home run. Both sides took advantage of a wide strike zone by umpire Jim Joyce. Nats relievers Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen combined to strike out eight in three innings following starter Ross Detwiler. Kyle Lohse came through again for the Cardinals, tossing seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer in the second for Washington.

[Related: Human teddy bear witnesses thrilling Nationals victory]

Head hangers: Lynn threw only 13 pitches — 10 for strikes — but gave up the deciding homer to Werth to end the Cardinals hopes of clinching Thursday. Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran combined to go 0 for 15 with six strikeouts.

Key play: Possibly Werth's home run, yes? His at-bat lasted six minutes. Aside from that, Nats shortstop Ian Desmond came through with a nice catch on a short fly to help keep the Cards off the board in the ninth.

Key quote:

"I saw a little something last night. I was sitting at home watching my boy Raul Ibañez [on TV] do it. He gave me a little [inspiration] today." — Werth, on Ibañez's game-winning homer and general late-inning heroics for the Yankees.

What they'll be talking about: More baseball! Can you stand it? After falling behind two games to one, the Nats have a chance to win a postseason series — it would be the first time for a D.C. team doing so since the 1924 World Series when the Senators won. Dick Stockton called that one, too, yes?

[Also: How Stephen Strasburg is spending his free time]

Interesting stat: Werth is the fifth leadoff hitter with a postseason walk-off homer, the first since Scott Podsednik in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. (H/N: ESPN)

What's next: Adam Wainwright vs. Gio Gonzalez in Game 5, baby! First pitch is scheduled for 8:37 p.m. ET on Friday. Winner take all. Until the next round against the Giants.

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