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Dodgers Down Nationals in Wild Series Finale

Washington (AFP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers out-lasted the Washington Nationals 4-3 to win their Major League Baseball playoff series and will face the Chicago Cubs for a World Series berth.

The win in the deciding game five of the National League Division Series sends the Dodgers back to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2013.

They’ll face the Cubs at Wrigley Field in game one of the best-of-seven NLCS on Saturday.

Joc Pederson’s home run off Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer to lead off the seventh inning keyed a four-run rally off six different Washington pitchers in the frame.

Pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz’s single off reliever Sammy Solis plated the go-ahead run and Justin Turner hit a two-out, two-run triple off reliever Shawn Kelley.

Washington pinch-hitter Chris Heisey belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Nationals within 4-3.

Los Angeles then called on closing pitcher Kenley Jansen to help them get out of the seventh without further damage.

Jansen, who threw a career-high 51 pitches, went on to pitch a scoreless eighth, and recorded one out in the ninth before game four starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw came on to record the final two outs.

Two days after pitching six-plus innings in Los Angeles, Kershaw induced Daniel Murphy to pop out and struck out Wilmer Difo in his first relief appearance since the 2009 playoffs.

The winning pitcher was 20-year-old rookie Julio Urias, who pitched two scoreless innings.

The Dodgers had been eliminated in the same round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and were on the brink of elimination this year, when they trailed 2-1 in the best-of-five set.

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