The glamorous Dodgers, with the second-highest payroll in baseball at $220 million, failed to reach the World Series for the first time since winning it all in 1988.
"Going through spring, the long season, and then it just comes to a crash," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "So, it's disappointing for all of us."
After losing Game 5 in Los Angeles, the Cardinals turned to Wacha once again. The right-hander was even better in outpitching Kershaw for the second time this series.
It was 52 degrees at game time, a 23-degree drop from the Kershaw-Wacha matchup in Game 2 six days earlier, and Kershaw never warmed up.
The lefty wasn't in the mood to talk about a season in which he had a majors-best 1.83 ERA, either.
"If you don't win, what's the point?" Kershaw said. "It doesn't really matter. All this stuff."
The leading NL CY Young Award candidate was knocked out of a start for the first time this season without finishing the fifth.
"I think the first time we faced him he was very tough," Beltran said. "This time he was a little off, but that doesn't mean anything."
Perhaps showing the Cardinals weren't stressed by the possibility of a second straight postseason meltdown, Games 1 and 5 starter Joe Kelly had a post-national anthem staredown against Dodgers reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke that was broken up by a fed-up home plate umpire Greg Gibson after several minutes.
Kelly blinked first all in good fun but, when it counted, St. Louis wouldn't budge.
"It was just something fun to start the game off," Van Slyke said. "I don't think I've ever talked to Joe."
Beltran followed Carpenter's gritty doubled with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
Mattingly thought Carpenter's grinding at-bat was the key.