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The one-sided head-to-head playoff history of the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks with his head down as he comes out of a game.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw leaves Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. He gave up three runs in the third and four more in the fifth, and the Cardinals advanced to the World Series after a 9-0 win.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have faced each other in the postseason five times since the start of the league playoffs in 1969, and history has not been kind to the Dodgers, who have lost four of those meetings, most recently a 3-1 defeat in the 2014 National League Division Series.

Here’s the story of the five previous October showdowns:

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1985 NLCS — St. Louis 4, Dodgers 2

Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser slides across home plate in the second inning of Game 2 of the NLCS.
Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser slides across home plate in the second inning of Game 2 of the NLCS next to teammate Bill Madlock and Cardinals catcher is Darrell Porter.
(Associated Press)

Dodgers’ main starters:

C-Mike Scioscia
1B-Greg Brock
2B-Steve Sax
3B-Bill Madlock
SS-Mariano Duncan
LF-Pedro Guerrero
CF-Ken Landreaux
RF-Mike Marshall

Cardinals’ main starters:

C-Darrell Porter
1B-Jack Clark
2B-Tom Herr
3B-Terry Pendleton
SS-Ozzie Smith
LF-Vince Coleman
CF-Willie McGee
RF-Andy Van Slyke

The St. Louis Cardinals rode a 17-game winning streak to claim the second wild-card spot and will face the Dodgers on Wednesday. Here’s why they pose a serious threat.

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Game 1 (at Dodgers 4. St. Louis 1): The Dodgers knock Cardinals starter John Tudor out of the game in the sixth inning, with the biggest blow being Steve Sax‘s double. Fernando Valenzuela gives up one run in 6.1 innings and Tom Niedenfuer gets an eight-out save.

Game 2 (at Dodgers 8, St. Louis 2): Bill Madlock and Greg Brock each drive in two runs and Orel Hershiser goes all the way for the Dodgers in victory.

Game 3 (at St. Louis 4, Dodgers 2): Cardinals score all their runs off of Bob Welch in the first two innings.

Game 4 (at St. Louis 12, Dodgers 2): The Cardinals score nine runs off Jerry Reuss and Rick Honeycutt in the second inning and Tito Landrum and Terry Pendleton each have three RBIs in the game.

Game 5 (at St. Louis 3, Dodgers 2): Moments after a graphic is shown on TV that reads, “Ozzie Smith has never hit a home run batting left-handed,” Smith hits a home run batting left-handed in the bottom of the ninth off Niedenfuer.

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Game 6 (St. Louis 7, at Dodgers 5): Jack Clark. Tom Niedenfuer. First base open. Home run. Season over.

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2004 NLDS — St. Louis 3, Dodgers 1

Dodgers starting pitcher Jose Lima reacts after striking out St. Louis Cardinals' Scott Rolen during Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS.
Dodgers starting pitcher Jose Lima reacts after striking out St. Louis Cardinals’ Scott Rolen during Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Dodgers’ main starters:

C-Brent Mayne
1B-Shawn Green
2B-Alex Cora
3B-Adrian Beltre
SS-Cesar Izturis
LF-Jayson Werth
CF-Steve Finley
RF-Milton Bradley

Cardinals’ main starters:

C-Mike Matheny
1B-Albert Pujols
2B-Tony Womack
3B-Scott Rolen
SS-Edgar Renteria
LF-Reggie Sanders
CF-Jim Edmonds
RF-Larry Walker

The Dodgers are a 106-win team capable of beating anyone. And yet, they can’t afford to underestimate the St. Louis Cardinals or anyone else this postseason.

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Game 1 (at St. Louis 8, Dodgers 3): The Cardinals score six runs in three innings off Odalis Perez, including home runs by Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols.

Game 2 (at St. Louis 8, Dodgers 3): Jeff Weaver gives up six runs and the Cardinals cruise to an easy win.

Game 3 (at Dodgers 4, St. Louis 0): Jose Lima pitches a five-hitter as the Dodgers win their first playoff game since 1988.

Game 4 (St. Louis 6, at Dodgers 2): Pujols has the key blow, a three-run home run in the top of the fifth off of Wilson Alvarez.

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2009 NLDS — Dodgers 3, St. Louis 0

Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez runs after getting a hit during Game 3 in the 2009 NLDS.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

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Dodgers’ main starters:

C- Russell Martin
1B-James Loney
2B-Ronnie Belliard
3B-Casey Blake
SS-Rafael Furcal
LF-Manny Ramirez
CF-Matt Kemp
RF-Andre Ethier

Cardinals’ main starters:

C-Yadier Molina
1B-Albert Pujols
2B-Skip Schumaker
3B-Mark DeRosa
SS-Brendan Ryan
LF-Matt Holliday
CF-Colby Rasmus
RF-Ryan Ludwick

The Dodgers lost more than the NL West title Sunday. They lost home-run leader Max Muncy to an elbow injury, a development that hurts their title hopes.

Game 1 (at Dodgers 5, St. Louis 3): Matt Kemp hits a two-run homer in the first and the Dodgers also get RBIs from Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake and Russell Martin.

Game 2 (at Dodgers 3, St. Louis 2): Dodgers rallied with two runs in the ninth inning when left fielder Matt Holliday lost a two-out liner hit by James Loney in the lights and dropped the ball for an error.

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Game 3 (Dodgers 5, at St. Louis 1): Dodgers jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks in part to a two-run homer by Andre Ethier.

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2013 NLCS — St. Louis 4, Dodgers 2

Dodgers' Mark Ellis walks away after striking out to end Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Dodgers’ main starters

C-A.J. Ellis
1B-Adrian Gonzalez
2B-Mark Ellis
3B-Juan Uribe
SS-Hanley Ramirez
LF-Carl Crawford
CF-Andre Ethier
RF-Yasiel Puig

Cardinals’ main starters

C-Yadier Molina
1B-Matt Adams
2B-Matt Carpenter
3B-David Freese
SS-Pete Kozma
LF-Matt Holliday
CF-Jon Jay
RF-Carlos Beltran

The Dodgers’ bat boys and clubhouse attendants, known as clubbies, are a tight-knit group of loyal employees wearing World Series championship rings.

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Game 1 (at St. Louis 3, Dodgers 2, 13 inn.): Chris Withrow gives up a single and a walk in the bottom of the 13th, giving way to Kenley Jansen, who gives up a game-winning single by Carlos Beltran. This is the game where Cardinals starter Joe Kelly hit Hanley Ramirez in the ribs with a pitch, injuring Ramirez and curtailing his effectiveness (he went two for 15) the rest of the series.

Game 2 (at St. Louis 1, Dodgers 0): The Cardinals score an unearned run in the fifth inning off of Clayton Kershaw and five Cardinal pitchers make it hold up.

Game 3 (at Dodgers 3, St. Louis 0): The Dodgers get RBIs from Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez while Hyun-jin Ryu (seven innings), Brian Wilson (one) and Jansen (one) shut out the Cardinals.

Game 4 (St. Louis 4, at Dodgers 2): The Cardinals score three runs in the top of the fourth off Ricky Nolasco, with the key blow a two-run homer by Matt Holliday.

Game 5 (at Dodgers 6, St. Louis 4): The Dodgers score four times in five innings against Kelly, with key homers by Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Jansen gives up two runs in the ninth to make the game close.

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Game 6 (at St. Louis 9, Dodgers 0): This is the game that advanced the persistent narrative that Kershaw was an ineffective postseason pitcher. He gave up three runs in the third and four more in the fifth as the Cardinals advanced to the World Series in a laugher.

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2014 NLDS — St. Louis 3, Dodgers 1

St. Louis Cardinals players celebrate after their 3-2 win over Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

Dodgers’ main starters:

C-A.J. Ellis
1B-Adrian Gonzalez
2B-Dee Gordon
3B-Juan Uribe
SS-Hanley Ramirez
LF-Carl Crawford
CF-Yasiel Puig
RF-Matt Kemp

Cardinals’ main starters:

C-Yadier Molina
1B-Matt Adams
2B-Kolten Wong
3B-Matt Carpenter
SS-Jhonny Peralta
LF-Matt Holliday
CF-Jon Jay
RF-Randal Grichuk

If Friday night’s disappointing start against Milwaukee really was Clayton Kershaw’s Dodgers farewell, it was as unfair as it was ugly.

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Game 1 (St. Louis 10, at Dodgers 9): The tone for the series was set in Game 1. Leading, 6-1, Clayton Kershaw couldn’t get out of the seventh inning as the Cardinals scored eight times.

Game 2 (at Dodgers 3, St. Louis 2): After the Cardinals tied the score in the top of the eighth off of J.P. Howell, Matt Kemp led off the bottom of the inning with a home run off of Pat Neshek. Kenley Jansen got the final three outs for the save.

Game 3 (at St. Louis 3, Dodgers 1): Kolten Wong hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh off of Scott Elbert to break a 1-1 tie.

Game 4 (at St. Louis 3, Dodgers 2): Leading, 2-0, Kershaw again couldn’t escape the seventh, with the Cardinals scoring three times. Kershaw finished the series 0-2 with a 7.82 earned-run average.

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