ST. LOUIS - Matt Adams and the Cardinals are moving on. Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are going home.
St. Louis tagged Kershaw in the seventh inning for the second straight time, riding Adams' go-ahead three-run homer to a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday and a fourth consecutive trip to the NL Championship Series.
"I don't think I touched the ground the whole way around the bases," Adams said. "Definitely the highlight of my career. ... I will never, ever forget this."
Neither will Kershaw.
"The season ended and I was a big part of the reason why," Kershaw said. "I can't really put it into words. Just bad deja vu all over again."
After their 3-1 win in the best-of-five series, the Cardinals awaited the Giants or Nationals with their rotation well-rested for the NLCS, which starts Saturday.
Trevor Rosenthal allowed two runners in the ninth before getting former Ray Carl Crawford on a game-ending groundout for his third save of the series. At AT&T Park in San Francisco, fans cheered when the rival Dodgers were eliminated.
"It was awesome, everything we did throughout that game," starter Shelby Miller said. "It was a heck of a game and a lot of fun, I know that."
An overwhelming favorite to win his third NL Cy Young Award in four years, Kershaw's October resume is a wreck.
He fell to 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 11 postseason games, including three relief appearances early in his career. He has lost four straight starts to St. Louis over the past two postseasons.
"I've had success against them, too," Kershaw said. "It just seems like one inning gets me every time. And obviously that's not success."
The Cardinals advanced to their ninth NLCS in 15 years. The NL West champion Dodgers, who finished the regular season with a $256 million payroll, remained without a pennant since winning the 1988 World Series.
Manager Don Mattingly wasn't about to second-guess leaving Kershaw in the game, especially with a bullpen that's foundered. He wanted the lefty to get three more outs.
"It goes back to the same question: Is there anybody better, even on short rest, and even where he was at that point?" Mattingly said.
Kershaw was dominant into the seventh, as he was in Game 1, but again started the inning with three straight hits.
The third Tuesday came when Adams drove a curveball into the right-centerfield bullpen.