Winning Game 1 on the road Sunday was the best-case scenario for the playoff-infant Nationals. The 3-2 comeback victory set the tone in a short series.
But these are the world champion St. Louis Cardinals, and they have been in this position before. Last season, the Cardinals lost Game 1 in both the National League Division Series and the Championship Series.
A look back at how the Cardinals' first two series last season ended gives you an idea of the comeback potential of this team. Including the world series, the Cardinals came back from 2-1, 1-0 and 3-2 series deficits to win each of those respective series.
Here is the Division Series and Championship Series game-by-game results:
Game 1: Phillies 11, Cardinals 6
Game 2: Cardinals 5, Phillies 4
Game 3: Phillies 3, Cardinals 2
Game 4: Cardinals 5, Phillies 3
Game 5: Cardinals 1, Phillies 0
Game 1: Brewers 9, Cardinals 6
Game 2: Cardinals 12, Brewers 3
Game 3: Cardinals 4, Brewers 3
Game 4: Brewers 4, Cardinals 2
Game 5: Cardinals 7, Brewers 1
Game 6: Cardinals 12, Brewers 6
So, with the Cardinals losing Game 1 in each of their first two series last season, they quickly bounced back and won Game 2, thereby shortening the series.
Being down 2-0 is not insurmountable for any team, but in a five-game series it is critical for the team that lost the first contest to get on the board.
"We had opportunities to win this and put more than the couple runs up that we had there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters. "We have been very good lately in situational hitting and today it just didn't work."
That is the task for the Nationals on Monday. But it will not be easy based on the Cardinals' recent penchant for winning Game 2's.