ST. LOUIS, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Carlos Beltran started one big inning and finished another Friday to help St. Louis romp into the World Series with a 9-0 bashing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cardinals will open their bid for a third World Series title in eight years next Wednesday when they take on either Boston or Detroit, who play Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Saturday, with the Red Sox ahead 3-2.
St. Louis captured the National League Championship Series in six games, bringing a decisive end to a Los Angeles season in which the Dodgers dominated baseball during the month following the All-Star break.
Cardinals' pitching cooled off the Dodgers in the NLCS and St. Louis starter Michael Wacha finished off the task Friday by giving up the only two Los Angeles hits and striking out five over seven innings.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers, it appeared a tense pitcher's duel was likely when neither side could score through 2 1/2 innings. St. Louis then broke things open by sending 10 men to the plate in the third while scoring four times on five hits.
Wacha made two outs in the inning, but in between his at-bats the Cardinals put together a succession of hits featuring an RBI single by Beltran that drove in the first run of the contest. Yadier Molina singled in a run and a base hit by Shane Robinson brought home two more.
St. Louis then crushed the fading Los Angeles hopes with a five-run fifth that drove Kershaw from the mound.
Matt Adams doubled in the first run of the inning, a fielder's choice grounder from Wacha produced another, scores were added on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch and a single by Beltran delivered Wacha with the final run of the game.
After Wacha left the contest in the eighth, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal each fired a perfect inning to wrap up the victory.
A Boston victory Saturday would bring about a rematch of the 2004 World Series, which the Red Sox swept in four games to win their first title in 86 years.