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Nationals top Brewers in NL Wild Card, advance to meet Dodgers in NLDS

Members of the Washington Nationals celebrate after winning a National League wild-card baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, in Washington. Washington won 4-3. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s Juan Soto delivered a bases-loaded single against Josh Hader that scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Nationals rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night.

After Hader loaded the bases by hitting one batter, walking another and allowing a bloop single, Soto took a 96 mph fastball to right, and the ball skipped under outfielder Trent Grisham’s glove. That error allowed one of the runs to cross the plate and Soto to get to second, then turn for third.

Eventually, Soto, a 20-year-old outfielder, was caught in a rundown to end the inning, but that didn’t matter: He had turned a 3-1 deficit into a lead, and so he clapped his hands, then pounded his chest and high-fived third base coach Bob Henley, shouting “Let’s go!”

Stephen Strasburg threw three scoreless innings to earn the win in the first relief appearance of his major league career, regular season or playoffs. Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth for the save.

Hader took the loss.

The Nationals, so familiar with playoff heartache, advanced to face the NL West champion Dodgers in the best-of-five Division Series. Game 1 is Thursday in Los Angeles.

Washington had been 0-3 in winner-take-all postseason games, all NLDS Game 5 losses at home.