The saying goes that there's nothing like a Game 7 - well, except for a Game 5 in MLB's divisional playoffs! He won Game 1, giving up just one hit over six scoreless innings.
It's fitting, in a sense, that Rendon and Soto ended up sharing the role of hero.
First came the home runs.
He was replaced by Kershaw with one out in the ninth inning after issuing two walks and throwing 51 pitches.
"Oh, man, keep fighting, " Rendon said. Their start reflected that as they got off to a 3-0 lead. He threw 105 pitches, the most since his penultimate regular-season start on September 21. He gave up four hits and three walks while striking out seven on 117 pitches. Buehler hit Nationals catcher Suzuki with a fastball that ricocheted off his arm, hit his head and prompted his removal from the game.
The bottom of the first inning started in an odd way. Everyone thought it was gone. The Dodgers, if you weren't aware, have had the best run differential in the National League each of the past three seasons, yet have been unable to take home the World Series trophy. His first-inning shot off Strasburg was his third of the series, and gave him seven runs batted in.
Kiké Hernandez is in left field, with Matt Beaty at first base and Max Muncy over at second.
And just like that the team with the best record in baseball this year was done for the season and the wild-card winning Nationals advanced to face the Cardinals in the NLCS. Obviously the Nationals hope to improve upon that. Demons of past years had every Nats fan feeling queasy. This is the first time since 2016 Los Angeles will have been eliminated before reaching the LCS round, and who knows how the Dodgers will react after arguably their biggest disappointment yet.