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Dodgers credit Cards after emotional playoff exit

St. Louis eliminates LA for second consecutive postseason

ST. LOUIS -- The Dodgers had a good season end badly Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, bounced from the postseason one round earlier than last year by the same opponent as last year.

"We had high expectations and we didn't come through when we needed to and we lost the series," said Adrian Gonzalez. "They came up with the big home runs and we didn't, and that was the difference in the series. But I think you have two teams here that will see each other a lot for years to come. We just didn't get the job done this year."

The Dodgers have reached the postseason in five of the last nine years. This is the second time of those five that they lost in the National League Division Series.

"It ended fast and I don't think it's really sunk in yet," said Matt Kemp. "When I get home and I'm on the couch watching the playoffs, that's when it hurts the most, watching these other teams play and knowing you could have been there. But the Cardinals just got the big hits when they needed them."

A.J. Ellis, who led the Dodgers with a .538 playoff batting average after hitting .191 during the season, took the loss particularly hard.

"You don't know how many times you'll be in this situation with a chance to do this," he said. "There are no guarantees in life and baseball for sure. We know how hard it was to get here. You can't take it for granted. It will motivate and fuel us to win the division and roll the dice again in the playoffs."

Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who suffered two of the losses in the best-of-five series and became the first Dodgers pitcher to lose four consecutive postseason games, blamed himself again.

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," he said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

Andre Ethier, who started Game 4 in center field for the benched Yasiel Puig, knows the trade rumors will reignite this winter, meaning this could have been Ethier's last chance with this organization.

"It's sickening, that's what it is," Ethier said. "More than anything, it's not just not going far in the playoffs, it's just getting past a certain team. It's a recurring theme. We have to figure out how to do that. We know we have a team good enough to keep going and playing. But we have to have an answer to what these guys taught us, and we haven't been able to do that two years in a row."

J.P. Howell, a key part of the bullpen for five months until his September slump carried over to October, gave credit to the Cardinals.

"It's one of those tough cases where you do have to tip your caps to those guys," he said. "That team is better than us right now. They're moving forward for a reason. We've got some things to work on that we have to redo during the offseason. Next year our goal is the same thing, going to the World Series. But this time, good luck to them for the rest of the way."

Manager Don Mattingly began his postgame news conference by congratulating the winners.

"On behalf of my club and our organization I'd like to congratulate St. Louis," he said. "They were better than us this series, and when they needed to get things done, they got it done."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, J.P. Howell, Matt Kemp