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Cardinals bury Braves with 10-run first; clinch NLDS in 13-1 romp

Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Baseball

ATLANTA -- The Cardinals had qualified for 13 National League Championship Series before Wednesday night. And then they scored 13 runs, a postseason record 10 of them in the first inning, as they punched their ticket for a 14th LCS by dismantling the Atlanta Braves 13-1 to win the decisive fifth game in the National League Division Series.

The best-of-seven NLCS will start on Friday just after 7 o'clock Central time either at Los Angeles with the Cardinals against the Dodgers or against Washington at Busch Stadium, depending on the outcome of that division series later Wednesday.

The Cardinals did something in the first inning that they hadn't done last week in seven innings against Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz. They scored. And scored. And scored some more against the slider-throwing Foltynewicz and his relief as Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong all delivered two-run doubles.

Foltynewicz had set down 20 of 24 men he faced last week. He retired only one of eight in Game 5 as the Cardinals parlayed five hits, four walks, a wild pitch and an error as they charged to their historic lead in what had been a highly competitive series.

The Cardinals captured their 11th division series out of the 14 they have played. They are 7-6 in previous league championship series.

This marked the fourth time the Cardinals had ended Atlanta's season here in postseason play. They swept the Braves in three games in the NLCS in 1982 and again in 2000. They won the first wild-card game here in 2012.

 

The Braves' only retaliation came in 1996 when they walloped the Cardinals 15-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS, scoring six runs in the first inning. Somewhere Donovan Osborne is smiling. He started that game.

This was the third different stadium in which the Cardinals had eliminated the Braves -- Fulton County Stadium (1982), Turner Field (2000 and 2012) and SunTrust Park.

Atlanta hasn't won a playoff series in 18 years, since beating Houston in the division series in 2001. Since then, the Braves have lost 10 consecutive playoff rounds.

And they were using the Tomahawk Chop -- there were no tomahawks in evidence Wednesday -- on all of those occasions.

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