CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.
Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.
Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.
"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."
After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.
The Dodgers host the Yankees or Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into tonight's Game 6, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.
The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame.
He was just okay in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win — matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.