Nationals knock out Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson with huge first-inning rally

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

The Washington Nationals were a mission in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

When the dusted settled, it was mission accomplished.

Needing one more victory to clinch their first trip to the World Series in franchise history, the Nationals wasted no time by plating seven runs against St. Louis Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson in the first inning. Washington made those runs stands as they defeated St. Louis 7-4 to clinch the franchise’s first-ever trip to the World Series.

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The rally was reminiscent of the Cardinals 10-run first-inning when they clinched the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves.

A pair of defensive miscues aided the Nationals’ rally, but Hudson wasn’t fooling many batters, either. Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto all reached on solid hits to begin the outburst. Then Yan Gomes capped Hudson’s night with a hard-hit, two-run single to left.

The Washington Nationals scored seven first-inning runs in NLCS Game 4. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The Washington Nationals scored seven first-inning runs in NLCS Game 4. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Adam Wainwright was summoned from the bullpen to restore order, but was unable to do so before Turner capped the rally he started with a two-run single of his own.

Hudson was charged with seven runs. Only four were earned due to Kolten Wong’s error. The usually sure-handed second baseman was unable to handle a routine throw on a double-play ball. St. Louis didn’t get an out on the play. That play opened the door for the huge inning.

The following batter, Victor Robles, reached when Wong, right fielder Jose Martinez and first base Paul Goldschmidt miscommunicated on a pop-up into short right field. No error was charged.

To save their season, the Cardinals had to rally from seven runs down against Patrick Corbin after scoring two runs total through the first three games in the series.

St. Louis eventually brought the go-ahead run to the plate when Matt Carpenter batted with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. But Daniel Hudson won the battle, getting Carpenter to ground out.

The only downside for Washington is the long wait ahead. The World Series won’t begin until Tuesday, Oct. 22, regardless of how and when the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. That’s a long wait, but the Nationals didn’t want to make their fans wait any longer for a World Series in Washington D.C.

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