LOS ANGELES (AP) — Howie Kendrick and the Washington Nationals got down again but were never out — and they finally ended their streak of playoff series futility in grand fashion.

Kendrick hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the 10th inning and the Nationals, boosted by a lightning rally against Clayton Kershaw, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday night in Game 5. They advanced to the NL Championship Series starting Friday at St. Louis.

"I was hoping for any moment," said Kendrick, a 36-year-old veteran who was hitless in his first four at-bats.

In their first season since star slugger Bryce Harper left as a free agent, the Nationals became the first team in major league history to rally from three or more runs down twice in elimination games during the same postseason.

"It's not just one player, it's a team," left fielder Juan Soto said.

The wild-card Nationals won a playoff series for the first time since the team moved to Washington ahead of the 2005 season, and the franchise reached the NLCS for the second time in 51 seasons. The Nationals overcame a 19-31 start, finished 93-69 and then rallied from a 3-1, eighth-inning deficit to beat Milwaukee 4-3 in the NL wild-card game.

Check out the images from Post-Dispatch photographers David Carson and Robert Cohen.

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