Cardinals rally in ninth, shock Nationals in Game 5

St. Louis 9, Washington 7

WASHINGTON — Doesn’t matter how bad things look for the St. Louis Cardinals. Trailing by a bunch, down to their last strike, they simply stay calm and do what it takes to win.

Erasing an early six-run hole in Game 5 slowly but surely, the defending World Series champion Cardinals got a tying two-out, two-run single from Daniel Descalso and a go-ahead two-run single from Pete Kozma in the ninth inning and came all the way back to beat the Washington Nationals 9-7 Friday night and win their NL Division Series.

It was the largest comeback ever in a winner-take-all postseason game, according to STATS LLC. No other club in this sort of ultimate pressure situation had come back from more than four down.

The Cardinals, who made the postseason as the second wild card in the NL, will travel to San Francisco Giants on Sunday in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.

The Nationals, the NL East champions, built an early 6-0 lead behind home runs from Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Michael Morse. Harper’s homer made him the second-youngest player to go deep in a postseason game.

But the Cardinals slowed chipped away and pulled away in the end.

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