Cardinals beat Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw yet again, advance to fourth straight NLCS

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The Cardinals are heading to the NLCS for the fourth consecutive season, and for the ninth time since 2000.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had allowed just one hit through six scoreless innings in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, but Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta kicked off the bottom of the seventh with singles and then Matt “Big Mayo” Adams slugged an improbable go-ahead three-run shot into the St. Louis bullpen in right field on a Kershaw curveball that hung just a little too high.

It was the first time a left-handed hitter had EVER homered off a Kershaw curveball. Oh, and Adams has a .197 career average against left-handed pitchers.

Pat Neshek tossed a clean eighth inning and then Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal pitched in but out of danger in the top of the ninth inning to ice the 3-2 Game 4 victory, delivering St. Louis the best-of-five National League Division Series. A series in which the Cardinals got to Kershaw for a whopping 11 runs — all earned — in 12 2/3 innings. A series in which Kenley Jansen — the Dodgers’ best reliever — faced only three batters. A series in which Yasiel Puig — the Dodgers’ best position player — was used merely as a pinch-runner in the deciding game.

St. Louis will meet either the San Francisco Giants or Washington Nationals in the next round.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.