By Sam Bush

The Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-1, to take a three-games-to-none advantage in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Stephen Strasburg continued the Nationals’ pitching dominance over the Cardinals with seven superb innings, striking out 12 and allowing only one unearned run, in the seventh. Offensively, the burden fell to Howie Kendrick (above), who hit three doubles, knocked in three runs and scored twice for the Nationals, who have never trailed in the series. Kendrick has nine runs batted in this postseason and is batting .314.

“He’s the greatest ever,” said third baseman Anthony Rendon, who made a glittering defensive play and added two hits, including an RBI double. “You see the man. He’s what, 36 years old? And he’s still doing it.”

With one more win, the Nats will capture the first National League pennant in franchise history and become the first Washington team — there have been three since 1901 — to earn a trip to the World Series since the Washington Senators of the American League did it in 1933 with players like Heinie Manush and Goose Goslin.

That team lost in five games to the New York Giants. The Senators had beaten the Giants in 1924 for the city’s only World Series title. That franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961, becoming the Twins, eight years before the advent of league championship series. (Another incarnation of the Senators, an expansion team, moved to Texas as the Rangers in 1972.)