Cardinals crush Dodgers to reach World Series
Two big innings against off-form Kershaw lead to rout
Rookie pitcher Wacha holds Dodgers down again
The St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the World Series with a resounding 9-0 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw on Friday, clinching their best-of-seven National League Championship Series 4-2.
The Cardinals, who won the most recent of their 11 World Series titles in 2011, will face either the Boston Red Sox or Detroit Tigers for the Major League Baseball crown.
St. Louis erupted for four runs in the third when they sent 10 men to the plate and batted around again in the fifth to add five more runs, turning the clincher into a rout and sending their red-clad fans into a handkerchief-waving frenzy.
St. Louis rookie pitcher Michael Wacha extended his brilliant run by shutting the Dodgers down on two hits over seven innings for the win, walking one and striking out five as the Cardinals out-hit Los Angeles 13-2.
The 22-year-old yielded just one run in his three postseason starts, giving up eight hits in 21 innings while striking out 22.
Kershaw, who led the National League in earned run average this season for the third year in a row, was roughed up for 10 hits in four-plus innings and charged with seven runs.
Leading the St. Louis attack, which generated only 12 runs over the first five games, were Carlos Beltran with three hits and two runs batted in, and Shane Robinson, who made the most of a rare start in centerfield by collecting two hits and RBIs.
The Cardinals' World Series opponents will be determined this weekend.
The Red Sox host the Tigers at Fenway Park for Game Six on Saturday and Game Seven, if needed, on Sunday holding a 3-2 edge in the American League Championship Series.
(Writing by Larry Fine; Editing by Peter Rutherford)