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Cardinals into NLCS again

ST. LOUIS — For the second straight time, the lefty generally acknowledged as the best pitcher in baseball was no match for a team that’s made a habit of coming alive this time of the year.

Matt Adams’ drive sent Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers packing.

While celebrating a 3-2 victory in Game 4 on Tuesday that put the franchise in the NL Championship Series for the fourth straight year, St. Louis Cardinals teammates bathed in champagne said they’d counted on the burly first baseman nicknamed Big City.

“We were jumping around, hitting our heads in the dugout, going crazy,” ace Adam Wainwright said. “I just had a feeling the big fellow was going to come through. I called it.”

Adams could barely contain his enthusiasm after his first homer against a left-hander since July 7, this one against a pitcher who was 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA. Adams thrust both arms in the air while still in the batter’s box and added a couple of big hops that made for an entertaining trot around the bases.

“Definitely the highlight of my career,” he said. “I will never, ever forget this.”

The Cardinals have home-field advantage against the Giants plus a rested rotation for a best-of-seven NLCS that starts Saturday at Busch Stadium. San Francisco is in the NLCS for the third time in five seasons and overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Cardinals in 2012 en route to a World Series title.

Associated Press

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