The Washington Nationals are moving on to the World Series for the first time in franchise history after completing a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.
The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 7-4 in Tuesday's series finale and will face either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees in the Fall Classic.
"I can't put this moment in words," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said, according to Jamal Collier of MLB.com. "I can say this: Often, bumpy roads lead to beautiful places, and this is a beautiful place."
Washington was in control of the entire series, becoming the seventh team in MLB history to never trail in a best-of-seven postseason series. Anibal Sanchez carried a no-hitter into the eighth in Game 1 and Max Scherzer held St. Louis hitless until the seventh in Game 2. Howie Kendrick was named NLCS MVP after Tuesday's game.
The Nationals' dominance continued in Game 4. Starter Patrick Corbin struck out the side in the top of the first inning before Washington's bats spotted him to a seven-run lead and chased Cardinals right-hander Dakota Hudson from the game. The cushion proved insurmountable even as four Cardinals relievers combined for 8 2/3 scoreless innings.
Nationals closer Daniel Hudson finished things off with a four-out save.
A packed house of 43,976 fans witnessed the historic victory at Nationals Park.
"They're the best," longtime first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think they've been with us through the good times, the bad times. This is about as good as it gets, but we're not done yet."
The decisive showing secured the Nationals' first National League pennant. It's the first time a D.C.-based team has reached the World Series since 1933 when the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) faced off against the New York Giants.
Tuesday's pennant win follows the Nationals' first trip to the NLCS since the team moved to Washington from Montreal after the 2004 season.
It's been a thrilling turnaround for a ball club that lost former cornerstone outfielder Bryce Harper to free agency this past winter before opening the season with a 19-31 record to sit 10 games back in the NL East on May 23.