Adams, Cards clinch NLCS berth over Dodgers

St. Louis, MO ( - Matt Adams' three-run homer in the seventh inning propelled St. Louis to a series-clinching win, as the Cardinals downed the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are back in the National League Championship Series for a fourth straight year and will play San Francisco for the second time in that span beginning with Game 1 on Saturday in St. Louis.

Shelby Miller went 5 2/3 innings in the start for St. Louis and allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Marco Gonzales (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh to pick up the victory.

Clayton Kershaw (0-2), who was victimized for eight runs in the series opener on Friday, was charged with three runs on four hits with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts in six-plus innings.

The Dodgers were eliminated for a second straight postseason by the Cardinals, who downed Los Angeles in six games in last year's NLCS, with Kershaw also on the mound for that one.

"I guess on behalf of my club and our organization I'd like to congratulate St. Louis," said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly. "They were better than us this series, and when we needed to get things done they got it done. On behalf of our organization I'd like to congratulate the Cardinals."

Kershaw cruised through the first six innings, giving up just two walks and one single while twice striking out the side.

The seventh inning once again proved to be his undoing.

In Friday's Game 1 loss, he was charged with six of the eight Cardinals runs in the seventh and he quickly got into trouble in this one as well as Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta hit back-to-back singles to start things off.

Adams then got a hold of an 0-1 curveball and deposited into the bullpen in right field to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.

"You look at what these guys have been able to do, you take a Matt Adams and see his track record, and even though he didn't throw up huge power numbers this year, he has in the past and can," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.

Pedro Baez then took the mound and kept it a one-run game, but Pat Neshek retired the Dodgers in order in the eighth inning.

Trevor Rosenthal came on for the ninth and induced a groundout from Juan Uribe before walking A.J. Ellis. Yasiel Puig, who was held out of the starting lineup after going just 3-for-12 with eight strikeouts in the series came in as a pinch-runner

Rosenthal then struck out pinch-hitter Justin Turner, but Dee Gordon slapped a single to left to put the go-ahead run on base. Rosenthal, though, got Carl Crawford to swing at the first pitch for a fielder's choice to end the series.

St. Louis will appear in the NLCS for a record 13th time, and is the first team since the 1998-2001 New York Yankees to reach four straight league championship series.

Los Angeles got a leadoff single from Matt Kemp to start the second, but Hanley Ramirez immediately hit into a double play. Following a walk to Andre Ethier, Uribe flied out.

Jhonny Peralta walked to start the St. Louis second, but Adams hit a double play grounder and Yadier Molina struck out.

Ellis started the top of the third with a single and was moved to second on Kershaw's sacrifice bunt. Gordon, though, lined out and Crawford struck out for the second time to end the inning.

The Cardinals got their first hit of the game when Randal Grichuk punched a one-out single in the fourth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a Holliday groundout, but Peralta struck out swinging for the third out.

Los Angeles went on top in the sixth after Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez started the inning with singles to put runners at the corners. Kemp then hit into a 6-4-3 double play that allowed the first run to cross. Hanley Ramirez was then hit by a pitch and Ethier walked to prompt a pitching change.

Seth Maness took the mound and Uribe greeted him with a single to right for a 2-0 lead and runners on the corners. A pitch then nearly got past Molina, but he recovered the ball and fired to third in an attempt to get Ethier, who was initially called safe. A replay was asked for, though, and the call was overturned as Matt Carpenter applied the tag on Ethier before he got his foot on the bag to end the inning.

"That's a big play anytime you can get an out at third base," said Matheny.

Game Notes

Rosenthal saved all three wins in the series for St. Louis ... It was the fifth time these teams met in the postseason, and the Cardinals have won four ... Kershaw fell to 1-5 in 11 postseason games, including eight starts. He also lost Games 2 and 6 to the Cardinals in last year's NLCS ... Of the 18 runs the Cardinals scored in this series, 13 of them came on homers ... The Dodgers went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.