CHICAGO -- As Clayton Kershaw faced a wall of cameras in a dark tunnel beneath Wrigley Field, he could hear Cubs fans celebrating away decades of futility.
Quietly, reluctantly, respectfully, Kershaw and the Dodgers tipped their caps to the champions of the National League.
• World Series Game 1: Tuesday 7:30 p.m. ET air time/8 p.m. game time on FOX
:: NLCS: Dodgers vs. Cubs coverage ::
"Their fans have been excited the whole series," said Kershaw, who absorbed a 5-0 loss in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday, giving the Cubs a 4-2 series win. "Making the World Series is no small feat."
While the Cubs popped champagne bottles, the Dodgers were left to lament letting a 2-1 series lead get away. Kershaw and Kenley Jansen shut out the Cubs in Game 2 at Wrigley Field, and Rich Hill, Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton and Jansen combined for another shutout in Game 3 before the Cubs' bats came alive.
Chicago outscored Los Angeles 23-6 in winning three straight games to take the pennant.
As Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner put it, "They've got a really good lineup. It was scuffling, but they un-scuffled themselves."
"You can't overthink," said Jansen, who pitched 6 1/3 innings in three appearances in the series without allowing a run. "'What if?' That 'if,' it's crushing you all the time if you're going to think about it. To me, they were great. Give them credit on the other side. We battled and we fell short. That's it. They deserve it. We wanted to be there, but they deserve it. They played [well], they got all the breaks, and now they're in the World Series."
The Cubs earned it, Jansen said.
"They're tough, man," he said. "Every single at-bat. They don't give away at-bats. They deserve to be there. We wanted to be there, but they were a great team, and they deserve it."
The Cubs will meet the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in Cleveland.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, will dissect the moments that brought the slumping Cubs offense back to life. In Game 4 of the NLCS, it was Ben Zobrist's bunt single followed by consecutive singles for Javier Báez and Willson Contreras on 0-2 pitches from Dodgers rookie Julio Urías, sparking a 10-run outburst in a Cubs win that evened the series at two games apiece. In Game 5, the Cubs capitalized on sloppy Dodgers defense for a five-run rally in the eighth inning of an 8-4 win.
In Game 6, Kershaw could not locate a curveball and left fielder Andrew Toles dropped a first-inning fly ball. The Cubs never looked back.
"Postseason baseball is all about a team getting hot, and you ride the wave when you're hot and they got hot -- Baez, [Addison] Russell, [Kris] Bryant," Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson said. "They stepped up and were playing out of the world. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Said Turner: "I don't think anyone was giving us a chance in this series, and I think we played some pretty good baseball against a really good team over there."
The Cubs are on to the World Series. The Dodgers will be watching.
"Up to this point, to the World Series, they have gone wire to wire," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They win a hundred-plus games, they have really no weaknesses. Youth, veterans, starting pitching, they got the guy [Aroldis Chapman] at the back end, they catch the baseball, they can slug, they get on base, and they're relentless.
"They took advantage of our mistakes, but that's a very good club over there, and they outplayed us this series."