Cardinals come back to beat Nationals, will play Giants in NLCS -

Cardinals come back to beat Nationals, will play Giants in NLCS

WASHINGTON (BaseballStL) -- The National League Championship Series stage is set for the Cardinals and Giants, who both advanced after trailing their opponent in the National League Division Series.

After dropping Games 1 and 4 of the NLDS, the Cardinals toppled the Nationals in Game 5 to advance to the NLCS for the second straight season.  A strong pitching performance from Game 4 starter Kyle Lohse, who allowed just one run and two hits in seven innings, should have been enough to win it on Thursday, but a walk-off home run by Jayson Werth pushed the series to Game 5.

It set the stage for Game 5.  Down to their final out and the Cardinals did it again.  The Cardinals battled back from a six-run deficit to beat the Nationals 9-7 after scoring four runs in the ninth inning.  It was deja vu all over.  And now the Cardinals are heading to the NLCS.

The Game 5 comeback would be unreal to any other team in this league, but not these guys.  These guys have ice in their veins and beat to a different drum.

Prior to the Cardinals win, the Giants powered their way past the Reds on Thursday afternoon after dropping the first two games of their series.  With their backs against the wall, the Giants won three straight games in Cincinnati to clinch a spot in the NLCS. 

Buster Posey smashed a grand slam in the six-run fifth inning to lift the Giants past the Reds in Game 5.

The Cardinals and Giants split six games played against each other this season.  The Giants outscored the Cardinals 30-22, which includes a 15-0 thumping at Busch Stadium on August 8.

The 15-0 loss, one of the worst in franchise history, came during a critical time in the Cardinals season as the team was within striking distance of the NL Central-leading Reds.  The Giants were aided by two fielding errors and two four-run innings against Cardinals relievers.  Joe Kelly allowed seven runs (four earned) and nine hits in five innings pitched.  Brian Fuentes and Mitchell Boggs combined to allow eight runs in 1.1 innings pitched.

The Cardinals-Giants matchup also marks a duel between the two previous World Series champions.  The Cardinals defeated the Ranges 4-3 in the 2011 World Series and the Giants defeated the Rangers 4-1 in the 2010 World Series.

The teams are also tied for the most World Series appearances in the National League along with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Game 1 of the NLCS will be played at 7 p.m. (St. Louis time) on Sunday.


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