National Sports

Cardinals advance, await Giants

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(AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are going to the National League Championship Series after beating Clayton Kershaw once again. And the San Francisco Giants have earned a trip to St. Louis by winning their NL division series against the top-seeded Washington Nationals.

Matt Adams launched a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift the Redbirds past the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in Game 4 of the NL division series. Kershaw had a one-hit shutout until Matt Holiday and Jhonny Peralta (JAH’-nee peh-RAHL’-tah) opened the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles. Adams followed with a blast just two pitches later to chase Kershaw and put the Redbirds in the NLCS for the fourth straight year.

The seventh inning also was the kiss of death for Kershaw in Game 1. He entered that frame last Friday with a 6-2 lead and left trailing 7-6 before he was eventually charged with eight runs in 6 2/3 innings. He is 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 11 postseason games, and 0-4 with a 6.14 ERA in five games against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals got 3 1/3 shutout innings from the bullpen, although closer Trevor Rosenthal made things interesting by putting two runners on base before getting Carl Crawford to hit a series-ending grounder.

Marco Gonzales worked the seventh to pick up the victory.

The Giants allowed just four hits and scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the seventh inning to take Game 4 of their series 3-2 over the Nationals. That puts San Francisco in the NLCS for the third time in five seasons.

The Giants won without the benefit of an RBI hit. They went ahead 2-0 in the third inning on Gregor Blanco’s bases-loaded walk and Joe Panik’s RBI grounder following a throwing error by pitcher Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals eventually tied the game before Panik scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by reliever Aaron Barrett in the seventh inning.

San Francisco almost scored a second run in the seventh while Barrett was issuing an intentional walk. Barrett uncorked a pitch that went to the backstop, causing Buster Posey to break for the plate. The ball bounced directly to catcher Wilson Ramos (RAH’-mohs), who threw to Barrett at the plate to nail Posey.

The extra run wasn’t missed after Santiago Casilla worked a scoreless ninth to finish the series.

Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong gave up just two hits in 5 2/3 innings and left with a 2-1 lead. He was in line to get the win until Bryce Harper hit a game-tying solo homer off Hunter Strickland.

Gonzalez was lifted for a pinch-hitter after working just four innings. He was reached for a pair of unearned runs and four hits.

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