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Cardinals down Dodgers, move within one game of World Series

  • Associated Press
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at 11:40 p.m.

— Matt Holliday and pinch-hitter Shane Robinson connected for the first home runs of the NL championship series, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff.

In a series starved for offense, the Cardinals scored as many runs as they did in the first three games combined, when the teams totaled nine runs.

Game 5 is Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, with the Cardinals one win from the World Series. Zack Greinke is set to start for Los Angeles against Joe Kelly.

Of course, St. Louis had a 3-1 lead in last year’s NLCS before dropping three straight to San Francisco, the eventual World Series champion.

It was a painful defeat for the Dodgers – in more ways than one. Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, playing with a broken left rib, left in the middle of the sixth after striking out three times.

“It got worse as we went along,” manager Don Mattingly said.

St. Louis third baseman David Freese came out after six innings. He left Monday’s game with a cramp in his right calf.

Hitless in his previous 22 at-bats at Dodger Stadium, Holliday sent a two-run shot off Ricky Nolasco an estimated 426 feet to left field, capping a three-run third that gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

Seeking a second title in three years, St. Louis turned three important double plays and picked off a runner at second base in the seventh. Defensive standout Pete Kozma, inserted at shortstop in the sixth, started a difficult double play and darted in to complete the pickoff.

Second baseman Matt Carpenter also keyed St. Louis’ sharp work with the gloves, one night after some sloppy play was costly in a 3-0 defeat.

Carpenter had an RBI double in the third that scored David Descalso, who hit a leadoff single. Carpenter came around on Holliday’s homer after there were none in the first three games for the first time in NLCS history.

Carlos Martinez pitched two scoreless innings in relief of winner Lance Lynn. Trevor Rosenthal got three outs for his second save in the series.

After a leadoff single by Andre Ethier in the ninth, Yasiel Puig grounded into a double play. Juan Uribe struck out to end it, leaving the Dodgers on the brink of elimination.

Now, they'll count on Greinke and ace Clayton Kershaw to pitch them back into the series.

“Kind of the best thought I have is, I’ve got one of the best pitchers in baseball pitching tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “If we come out here and play well tomorrow and get a win, I’ve probably got the best pitcher in baseball pitching the next day.”

Robinson’s home run bounced off the top of the wall in left field on a 1-0 pitch from J.P. Howell with one out in the seventh, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 4-2.

Lynn allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.

The right-hander lost his only other start this postseason, giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings in Game 2 of the division series against Pittsburgh.

The Dodgers were down 4-2 in the seventh when Nick Punto doubled with one out. Martinez, however, picked off Punto before throwing another pitch and then retired Carl Crawford on an inning-ending groundout.

Trailing 3-2, the Dodgers put the potential tying run on base in the sixth when Puig singled to chase Lynn. Uribe grounded into a double play against Seth Maness to end the inning.

The Dodgers stuck with Nolasco as their starter even though he hadn’t pitched since Sept. 29. He struggled in his last three starts in September, giving up at least five earned runs in each.

Nolasco was passed over for his scheduled assignment in Game 4 of the division series, when the Dodgers chose to use Kershaw on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. Kershaw pitched well and took a no-decision in a 4-3 victory over Atlanta that clinched the series.

Before this one, Mattingly had said Nolasco was being put in a difficult position after not pitching for so long. Mattingly said Kershaw and Greinke both offered to start on short rest at Dodger Stadium.

Nolasco allowed three runs and three hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Los Angeles scored twice in the fourth to cut it to 3-2. Adrian Gonzalez hit a leadoff double and scored on Puig’s single. A.J. Ellis singled to drive in Andre Ethier, who walked.

But just when it appeared the Dodgers had grabbed the momentum, pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker bounced into an inning-ending double play.

M.Carpenter 2b411111.200
Beltran rf300020.143
Holliday lf412200.125
Ca.Martinez p000000---
Chambers ph100001.000
Rosenthal p000000---
Ma.Adams 1b500003.067
Y.Molina c200020.231
Jay cf301002.154
Freese 3b300001.154
Kozma ss000000.000
Descalso ss-3b411003.333
Lynn p000010---
Maness p000000---
S.Robinson ph-lf211100.333

C.Crawford lf401000.278
M.Ellis 2b400001.294
H.Ramirez ss300003.222
Howell p000000---
Belisario p000000---
M.Young ss100000.000
Ad.Gonzalez 1b411000.231
Ethier cf312010.231
Puig rf302110.250
Uribe 3b400001.118
A.Ellis c201110.308
Nolasco p100001.000
Schumaker ph100000.000
Withrow p000000---
Punto ss101000.400
Marmol p000000---

St. Louis003000100460
Los Angeles000200000281

E—Withrow (1). LOB—St. Louis 9, Los Angeles 5. 2B—M.Carpenter (1), Ad.Gonzalez (2), Punto (1). HR—Holliday (1), off Nolasco; S.Robinson (1), off Howell. RBIs—M.Carpenter (1), Holliday 2 (2), S.Robinson (1), Puig (2), A.Ellis (1). SB—M.Carpenter (1). S—Lynn. DP—St. Louis 3, Los Angeles 1.

Lynn W, 2-051/3622352.45
Maness H, 12/3000000.00
Ca.Martinez H, 22100000.00
Rosenthal S, 2-21100010.00

Nolasco L, 0-14333146.75

Inherited runners-scored—Maness 1-0, Marmol 2-0. HBP—by Belisario (Kozma). WP—Withrow. Balk—Withrow. Catchers’ interference—A.Ellis. T—3:17. A—53,992 (56,000).

Monday’s Game

Dodgers 3, Cardinals 0

M.Carpenter 2b-3b400001.182
Beltran rf300010.182
Holliday lf400000.000
Y.Molina c401001.273
Freese 3b201000.200
Descalso pr-3b-ss100000.500
Ma.Adams 1b301002.100
Jay cf301000.100
Kozma ss200000.000
Wong ph-2b100001.000
Wainwright p200001.000
Chambers ph100000.000
Siegrist p000000---
Maness p000000---
Choate p000000---

Los AngelesRHBIBBSOAvg.
C.Crawford lf411001.286
M.Ellis 2b412001.385
H.Ramirez ss402100.333
Jansen p000000---
Ad.Gonzalez 1b411100.222
Ethier cf400001.100
Puig rf302101.154
Uribe 3b300001.154
A.Ellis c301000.273
Ryu p200001.000
B.Wilson p000000---
M.Young ph100000.000
Punto ss000000.250

St. Louis000000000040
Los Angeles00020001x390

LOB—St. Louis 4, Los Angeles 5. 2B—M.Ellis (1), Ad.Gonzalez (1). 3B—Puig (1), A.Ellis (1). RBIs—H.Ramirez (1), Ad.Gonzalez (1), Puig (1). DP—St. Louis 1, Los Angeles 1.

Wainwright L, 0-17622052.57

Ryu W, 1-07300140.00
B.Wilson H, 11100020.00
Jansen S, 1-11000000.00

Maness pitched to 2 batters in the 8th.

Inherited runners-scored—Maness 1-1, Choate 2-0. Umpires—Home, Mike Everitt;First, Bruce Dreckman;Second, Ted Barrett;Third, Greg Gibson;Right, Mark Carlson;Left, Gerry Davis.

T—2:54. A—53,940 (56,000).

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