With the victory, the wild-card Nationals advanced to the city's first World Series appearance in 86 years. The last time the World Series came to Washington was 1933, when the Washington Senators lost to the then-New York Giants in five games.
Nationals starter Patrick Corbin allowed four earned runs on four hits across five innings against the Cardinals. He walked three and struck out 12, becoming the pitcher to strike out 10 batters in the first four innings of a postseason game.
Washington jumped on Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson in the opening inning, tagging the rookie right-hander for seven runs in the first. Hudson lasted only 15 pitches before being chased from the series-deciding game.
The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth after a solo home run from Yadier Molina. St. Louis added three runs in the fifth but mustered only one hit against the Nationals' bullpen for the remainder of the game.
The Nationals will play Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at the AL winner's stadium. Washington didn't face either Houston or the Yankees in interleague play this season.