Dodgers lose 3-2, drop series to Cardinals in four games

ST. LOUIS – For six innings it looked like redemption for Clayton Kershaw but the seventh inning looked like a rerun as the Cardinals rallied for three runs off the Dodgers ace and pulled out a 3-2 win to wrap up the National League Division Series.

Kershaw had allowed just one hit as he entered the seventh inning and was nursing a 2-0 lead built on the strength of a Matt Kemp ground out and a Juan Uribe single. Just as he gave up the lead in the seventh inning of Game 1, Kershaw could not get the Cardinals out, losing his fourth consecutive postseason decision to St. Louis.

He struck out nine on short rest and looked dominant in the first six innings, as did Cardinals starter Shelby Miller. The Dodgers scraped together a rally in the sixth inning with Kemp bringing in Carl Crawford on a double play and Uribe driving in Hanley Ramirez. That inning ended with Andre Ethier, playing in place of a slumping Yasiel Puig, getting picked off third.

The Cardinals started their rally with two singles just out of the reach of infielders Dee Gordon and Ramirez. Kershaw then gave up a line drive home run to Matt Adams.

The Dodgers tried to mount a rally in the ninth with a walk and a single but Crawford, who had two hits on the day, grounded out to end the game.

On the Mound

Kershaw struck out the only three batters he faced in the first inning and kept the Cardinals hitless until the second batter of the fourth inning. As he neared 100 pitches he struck out the side in the sixth inning as well. Entering the seventh he had allowed just one hit but it unraveled there with three hits including a three-run blast to give St. Louis the lead. Pedro Baez and Brandon League combined for a scoreless two innings.

At the Plate

Kemp led off the second with a single, the first hit of the game, but was erased on a Ramirez double-play. A.J. Ellis raised his series average to .583 with his seventh hit of the series in the third but was left on base as he was in the fifth when he walked ahead of Kershaw’s single. Lead off singles by Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers two runners with no outs and while Kemp brought in a run, his double play prevented a bigger inning. The next three batters reached on a hit batter, a walk and a run-scoring single but with Ellis at the plate, Ethier was thrown out at third when he strayed too far on a pitch in the dirt. Ellis and Gordon reached base in the ninth but were stranded.

In the Field

Ramirez made a diving stop to start a double play for the first two outs of the second inning. Kershaw smoothly fielded a comebacker for the second out of the third inning. A Kershaw wild pitch allowed the Cardinals Randal Grichuk to advance to second in the fourth inning but he was left on base. The Dodgers benefitted from a foul ball that was called fair for an easy ground out to the catcher to end the fifth inning.

On the Base Paths

Crawford went from first to third on Gonzalez’s single in the sixth inning, allowing him to score the game’s first run on Kemp’s double play grounder. Ethier was picked off third base to end the sixth inning in which the Dodgers scored twice and were threatening to produce more runs. Gordon took third on Crawford’s second single of the game in the seventh. Puig pinch ran for Ellis in the ninth.

What’s Next?

The Dodgers will ponder another strong season, 94 wins, that came up short in October while the Cardinals prepare to play the winner of the Giants and Nationals series in the National League Championship Series.