Kershaw lasted four-plus innings before getting pulled in a 9-0 loss to St. Louis on Friday night in Game 6 of the NLCS, giving the Cardinals a spot in the World Series for the fourth time in 10 seasons.
The Dodgers haven't been there in 25 years.
Trying to overcome a 3-2 postseason series deficit for the first time in franchise history, the Dodgers had Cy Young favorite Kershaw going against rookie Michael Wacha. Like in Game 2 of the series, a 1-0 Cardinals victory, Wacha got the win.
This time it wasn't nearly as close.
Kershaw gave up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The last time he had such a bad outing was also in St. Louis. He surrendered eight runs in five innings July 24, 2012, against the Cardinals.
St. Louis handed Kershaw four losses this season, including the two in the NLCS. Kershaw's 5.09 ERA against the Cardinals dwarfs his overall ERA of 2.06, which includes the postseason.
Kershaw had allowed one earned run over 19 innings on eight hits during the postseason entering the game. He had gone 17 consecutive innings without an earned run before the wheels fell off in the third.
Matt Carpenter forced Kershaw to throw 11 pitches, fouling off eight of them, before starting the Cardinals' four-run rally with a double down the right-field line. St. Louis used five hits, two walks and was helped by a poor-advised throw and a throwing error from Puig.
Kershaw got pulled in the fifth after the first three batters reached on two singles and a double. St. Louis scored five runs, despite not getting another hit in the inning.
Puig again aided St. Louis when he booted Yadier Molina's leadoff single, allowing the All-Star catcher to reach second. Not that the Cuban rookie's second error mattered, as the Cardinals got all the help they needed elsewhere.
The Dodgers had a chance at a possible double play, but got nothing when Mark Ellis couldn't come up with a grounder cleanly enough to even throw home for a possible force. J.P. Howell added to the misery with a wild pitch, bringing home the Cardinals' final run.
Wacha didn't allow the Dodgers much hope. He gave up two hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.
Los Angeles was attempting to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers reached the NLCS in 2008 and 2009 but lost to Philadelphia both times.