For two batters (and five total pitches), the Cardinals were down to their last strike. Trailing 7-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Carlos Beltran started the inning with a double, and then Washington pitcher Drew Storen walked the bases loaded. Daniel Descalso then hit a single to tie the game at 7-7.
Pete Kozma followed Descalso with another single that eventually give the Cardinals a 9-7 win.
Descalso also hit the Cardinals' only home run of the game in the eighth inning to make it a 6-5 game.
The Nationals opened the game with a power surge against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who lasted only 2 1/3 innings. Wainwright simply got hammered, giving up home runs to Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, and Michael Morse while also surrendering a triple to Harper and doubles to Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.
Morse's home run made it 6-0 and ended Wainwright's night, but the Cardinals slowly worked their way back into the game, setting up the four-run ninth inning.
The Cardinals advance to the National League Championship Series to face the San Francisco Giants. Game 1 is on Sunday at 7:15 p.m. CT and will air on FOX.