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Matt Adams sends Cardinals to NLCS

R.B. Fallstrom Associated Press

ST. LOUIS – Matt Adams could barely contain his enthusiasm – and he didn’t really try, either. He thrust both arms in the air while still in the batter’s box and added a couple of big hops to his home run trot as he approached first base.

A stunned Clayton Kershaw, bent over with his hands on his knees, watched from the mound as the long drive off Big City’s bat sent St. Louis to a fourth straight N.L. Championship Series.

“Some people are calling it the Big City Leap,” Adams said. “I was just super-excited, I didn’t know what I was doing … I knew I was jumping for joy.”

The Cardinals tagged Kershaw in the seventh inning for the second straight time, riding Adams’ go-ahead, three-run homer to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday for a 3-1 win in the best-of-five Division 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.

St. Louis sent L.A. home for the second straight postseason with a win over Kershaw. Last year it was in Game 6 of the NLCS.

“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.”

The NLCS starts Saturday in St. Louis, with the Cardinals hosting San Francisco in a rematch of 2012 won by the Giants.

Trevor Rosenthal allowed two runners in the ninth before getting Carl Crawford on a grounder for a game-ending forceout for his third save of the series. At AT&T Park in San Francisco, fans cheered when the rival Dodgers were eliminated.

Former Gonzaga standout Marco Gonzales earned his second victory of the series pitching one inning in relief.

An overwhelming favorite to win his third N.L. Cy Young Award in four years, Kershaw’s October resume is a wreck.

Kershaw dropped 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 playoff starts to St. Louis.

“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.”

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