St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha throws a pitch in Friday's Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. (Scott Rovak-USA TODAY)
Wacha, Cardinals win NL pennant, await Tigers-Red Sox winner
The 22-year-old Wacha (2-0), named the series MVP, continued his blistering run through the postseason by beating Kershaw for the second time as St. Louis won the National League Championship Series 4-2.
Carlos Beltran and Shane Robinson drove in two runs apiece for the Cardinals, who will open the World Series at Boston or Detroit on Wednesday.
Kershaw (0-2) was rocked for seven runs and 10 hits over four-plus innings in losing to the Cardinals for the fourth time this season. The expected NL Cy Young Award winner threw 48 pitches in a four-run third inning and failed to retire a batter in the fifth after giving up an unearned run on two hits over six innings in Game 2.
Beltran continued his clutch postseason with his 11th and 12th RBIs, delivering the first run in the third when he singled home Matt Carpenter, who started Kershaw's demise with a one-out double that capped an 11-pitch at-bat.
Yadier Molina singled in Beltran and, after St. Louis loaded the bases, Robinson delivered a two-run single in his first start since the regular-season finale for a 4-0 edge. The Cardinals turned it into a laugher in the fifth, when Molina and David Freese led off with singles and Matt Adams following with an RBI double to end Kershaw's night.
A fielder's choice by Wacha, Carpenter's sacrifice fly and a wild pitch plated three more runs before Beltran capped the scoring with his third hit, an RBI single to left.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Wacha won all three of his postseason starts, giving up only one run on eight hits in 21 innings. ... Kershaw had not allowed four runs in an inning since surrendering six on July 24, 2012 - also in St. Louis - and had not permitted 10 hits and at least five runs in four or fewer innings since his ninth career start in July 2008. ... Beltran boosted his career postseason total to 37 RBIs in 45 games and joined Albert Pujols (37) and Chipper Jones (31) as the only players in NL history with 30 extra-base hits in the playoffs.