- - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Right fielder Adam Eaton has watched — and mentored — all year as the two young outfielders to his right have matured and blossomed into stars.

But the sparkplug veteran is also producing in the clutch, and Eaton is one win away from his first trip to the World Series.

Eaton singled in the team’s first run in the third inning Monday and later scored as the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Nationals can sweep the series at home Tuesday and earn the first trip to the World Series in franchise history.

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“It is not over,” Eaton said.

Eaton has given plenty of guidance to left fielder Juan Soto and center fielder Victor Robles, who returned the lineup Monday after missing five games with a hamstring injury. Of course, with everything going right for this team, Robles hit a home run and had two hits and scored twice.

That only added to the frenzy at Nationals Park, which drew a sellout crowd of 43,675 fans in the first-ever NLCS game at Nationals Park.

“Unbelievable. Unbelievable,” Eaton said of the crowd. “It truly makes a difference. It has been tremendous.”

Another veteran, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, said every contest in the postseason is a must-win.

The mantra of taking it one game at a time has been the case since late May, when the team was struggling at 19-31 after missing four key starters early in the year.

Manager Dave Martinez has preached all year to go 1-0 each day. That seemed like a tired refrain when the team was struggling under .500, but now the Nationals are on a roll with 15 wins in 17 games.

“It has worked for us. It is part of the deal,” Zimmerman said late Monday.

Washington is now 7-2 this postseason after going 7-12 overall in its previous four playoff appearances.

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