Photo: Will Newton/Getty Images

The Nationals beat the Cardinals, 7-4, last night, concluding an NLCS sweep that bucked every team narrative and sends the franchise to its first ever World Series.

The big picture: After 4 heartbreaking first-round exits in 6 years, Washington dominated St. Louis so thoroughly that it was almost boring. At no point during the NLCS did they trail, and they had the lead for all but 5 of the 36 innings.

How they got here: After a rough first month of the season, the Nationals adopted the motto "Stay in the fight," and that's exactly what they’ve done.

  • They stayed in the wild-card race, fought back from 2 runs down in the 8th inning of their wild-card game against the Brewers and won 2 elimination games against the Dodgers in the NLDS.
  • "They have found themselves in fight after fight after fight, and each time, they have found a way to keep going," writes The Ringer's Claire McNear. "For this, they will be treated to one more."

Fun facts:

  • The Nationals are the 4th team in MLB history to reach the World Series after being at least 12 games below .500 during the regular season.
  • Washington's 4 aces — Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez — are 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as starters this postseason.

What they're saying: "Sometimes, bumpy roads lead to beautiful places," skipper Davey Martinez told a crowd that didn’t want to leave. "And this is a beautiful place."

The big picture: The last time a Washington team went to a World Series was in 1933, when the Washington Senators fell to the New York Giants. How different was the sports world then? Well…

  • There was no NBA.
  • There was no Heisman Trophy.
  • There was no NCAA basketball tournament.
  • There were no major league sports franchises west of St. Louis.

The front page of the Washington Post sports section on Sept. 22, 1933, the last time a D.C. team clinched the pennant...

Image via the Washington Post

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