Almost everything about Game 6 of the National League Championship Series was unconventional.
From a standoff between players between the national anthem and the first pitch, to a severe pounding suffered by a perennial Cy Young candidate and an unbelievable performance from a rookie starting pitcher, it was a weird night in St. Louis.
But, one thing remained constant: one of the greatest postseason players of this era continued to produce on the big stage.
A rare last man standing-type stare-down kicked things off on Friday night at Busch Stadium. Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke and Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly refused to go back into the dugout after the pregame ceremonies, having some sort of 15 minute comedic staredown before home plate umpire Greg Gibson made the executive decision of forcing them off the field:
Although Van Slyke actually walked off the field first, Dodgers players celebrated the victory:
That was clearly a bad omen for the immediate future.
The Cardinals were just getting started. After another run crossed the plate and Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw loaded the bases, Shane Robinson came through with a two-run single to give his team an early commanding lead. St. Louis' bats weren't done there, either. While the Dodgers continued to fail against rookie hurler Michael Wacha, the Cardinals continued to string together hit after hit. This one, an RBI double by Matt Adams, knocked Kershaw out of the game and increased the Cards' lead to 5-0:
Kershaw gave up four or more runs in just four starts during the regular season and surrendered only five runs in his previous 46 innings of work entering Friday. But, he just can't figure out the Cards, losing his previous four starts against them before Game 6.
While the Cardinals built a 9-0 lead, Wacha and the Cardinals' staff kept the Dodgers off the board for the remainder of the game, much to the chagrin of L.A.'s polarizing rookie phenom:
And that's how L.A.'s season ended.