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Clayton Kershaw implodes as Cardinals rally during eight-run inning to beat Dodgers, 10-9, in NLDS

Clayton Kershaw puts his head in his hands after the Cards take the lead in the seventh.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports Clayton Kershaw puts his head in his hands after the Cards take the lead in the seventh.


LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw sat in the dugout, one hand to his forehead, dejection etched on his face. The Dodgers ace blew a five-run lead in his club’s 10-9 loss to the Cardinals Friday night and even an hour or so later when he met the media, Kershaw knew the sting would stick.


“It doesn’t feel good right now,” the best pitcher in the world said of his dud. “It’s not going to feel good the rest of the night. Hopefully, I get another chance.”


The Cardinals scored eight times in the seventh inning to rally in the opener of the teams’ National League division series in front of 54,265 at Dodger Stadium. The key hit came from the same guy who burned Kershaw last October — Matt Carpenter. Carpenter drilled a three-run double that turned a two-run deficit into a 7-6 St. Louis lead.


Then the Cards held off a Dodger comeback that ended up with the tying run on third base when closer Trevor Rosenthal struck out Yasiel Puig swinging to end the game.


And that wasn’t the night’s only drama — the benches and bullpens cleared in the third inning. The teams have a history of ill will stemming from last year’s testy NLCS — remember the “Mickey Mouse” Dodger celebrations that so irked St. Louis? So when St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright hit Puig in the shoulder in the third inning, tempers flared. The volatile Puig simply headed to first, but Adrian Gonzalez started jawing with catcher Yadier Molina.


Both benches and bullpens cleared, and there was some real heat in the scrum. Order was eventually restored after some shoving, macho hard looks and umpire’s warnings to both teams, but it set a chippy tone for a series that might contain further hostilities.


Gonzalez called his screaming match with Molina a “friendly conversation.


“I was just basically saying you guys keep doing this over and over and we’re not going to put up with that. They’re going to say it’s not on purpose, but you know, come on: It’s Wainwright. He knows where the ball is going.”


Gonzalez said Molina said to him: “You’ve got to respect me.”

Left fielder Matt Holliday (7) is greeted by catcher Yadier Molina after hitting a three-run blast in the seventh inning.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports Left fielder Matt Holliday (7) is greeted by catcher Yadier Molina after hitting a three-run blast in the seventh inning.


“I thought that was out of context,” Gonzalez said.


Puig and Wainwright, apparently, did not have a problem with each other. Outside the fray, each put an arm around the other and spoke briefly. “I actually heard Wainwright say, ‘Hey, my bad,’  ” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.


Wainwright-Kershaw was supposed to be something for the ages. It was the first postseason matchup between 20-game winners with sub-2.40 ERA since Tom Seaver faced Mike Cuellar in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. But neither ace delivered.


Wainwright gave up six runs and 11 hits in just 4.1 innings. Kershaw allowed eight runs for only the third time in his career and was knocked out when Carpenter won an eight-pitch battle in the seventh. Kershaw is 1-4 in 10 playoff appearances with a 5.20 ERA and the eight runs he allowed matched Chad Billingsley for the most ever given up by a Dodger in the postseason.


“I’m sure everybody in baseball was expecting a one-run game,” Carpenter said. “We ended up getting one, but we didn’t think it’d be 10-9.”


The Cardinals roughed up Kershaw to clinch a trip to the World Series last October. Maybe they’re on their way there again after a strong postseason beginning Friday.


Maybe Kershaw will get his second chance, although he was so glum Friday it was hard for him to think about it. “Who knows if they even want me to pitch at this point?” he said.

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