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Cardinals swamp Braves with 10-run 1st, advance with 13-1 win

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Los Angeles (AFP)

The St. Louis Cardinals exploded for 10 runs in the biggest first inning in Major League Baseball playoff history on Wednesday, routing the Atlanta Braves 13-1 to reach the National League Championship Series.

Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who pitched seven scoreless innings in a game-two victory in the best-of-five division series, retired just one batter before he was pulled in the first frame.

Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong each had two-run doubles, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty walked with the bases loaded to force in a run, and St. Louis scored their final run of the first on a strikeout when Braves catcher Brian McCann couldn't corral a pitch in the dirt.

St. Louis sent 14 batters to the plate before Braves relief pitcher Max Fried finally ended the inning.

The Cardinals' 10 runs were the most ever in the first inning of a post-season game and tied for the most runs in any inning of a playoff game.

Their 13 total runs matched their total in the first four games of the best-of-five NL Division Series.

The Braves endured their 10th straight playoff series defeat while the Cardinals wrapped up a 3-2 series win to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2014.

They will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals for a place in the World Series.

The Dodgers, trying to get back to the World Series for a third straight year, hosted the Nats in game five of their series later Wednesday.

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