Oct. 11 (UPI) — Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and Howie Kendrick‘s bat remained hot as the Washington Nationals earned a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series on Friday at Busch Stadium.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman made a diving stop to preserve Sanchez’s no-hit bid to begin the eighth, but pinch-hitter Jose Martinez broke it up with a single up the middle on a full-count splitter.
Sanchez, who exited after throwing 103 pitches, allowed one hit across 7 2/3 innings. He recorded five strikeouts and walked one.
Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle, filling in for Daniel Hudson as the team’s closer, replaced Sanchez in the eighth and notched a four-out save. Doolittle took over the ninth-inning role due to Hudson being placed on the paternity list ahead of Game 1.
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second after catcher Yan Gomes doubled to deep left-center field to score Kendrick.
Later in the seventh inning, Kendrick singled to center and plated Adam Eaton to boost the Nationals’ lead to 2-0.
Kendrick, who has tallied at least one hit in every postseason game this year except Game 1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. The veteran second baseman punched Washington’s ticket to the NLCS with a grand slam in Game 5 against the Dodgers.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, who was credited with the loss, allowed one earned run on seven hits across six innings. He notched seven strikeouts and walked two.
Game 2 of the NLCS is Saturday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.