Strasburg dominates as Nationals lead series 3-0

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Stephen Strasburg pitched seven shutout innings to put the Washington Nationals on the brink of their first World Series appearance after clobbering the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 on Monday.

Strasburg struck out 12, allowed just one run and veteran Howie Kendrick drove in three runs for the Nationals, who seized a commanding 3-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

The Nationals can sweep the series in four straight with a win at home on Tuesday.

The Nationals are one of two current Major League Baseball teams -- along with the Seattle Mariners -- to have never played in the World Series.

The franchise was based in Montreal, Canada and known as the Expos for the first 36 years of its existence.

Strasburg now has a 1.10 ERA over seven career playoff appearances, four of which have come in these playoffs.

"He's been a blast this year," second baseman Kendrick said of Strasburg. "It has been fun to be around him. It's special to see what he is doing."

The offensively challenged Cardinals have scored just two runs in the series and the Nationals starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Strasburg have not given up an earned run in 21 2/3 innings of the NLCS.

Kendrick tied a league championship series record with three doubles on Monday. Kendrick's grand slam in game five of the NL Division Series was the deciding blow in a thrilling rally to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He highlighted a four-run third inning with a two-run double and had another RBI with a double in the fifth inning.

Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Victor Robles each had two hits for the Nationals, who have won 15 of their last 17 games.