The St Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in Game 4 of the NLCS, taking a 3-1 series lead.
One big hit is all it takes. And in Game 4, Matt Holliday had that one big hit, homering in the third inning to drive in Matt Carpenter and give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the game. Earlier in the inning, Carpenter had doubled in Daniel Descalso, who led off with a walk off of Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco didn't have a bad night, but was done after four innings, allowing three runs on three hits (all in the third inning), walking one and punching out four.
Los Angeles fought back in the fourth against Lance Lynn. Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double, and Andre Ethier followed with a walk to put two men on with none out for Yasiel Puig. Puig punched a single up the middle to score Gonzalez and make it a 3-1 game, and after Juan Uribe flew out to right and moved Ethier up to third, AJ Ellis singled to center to bring him home and make it 3-2. Don Mattingly made the decision to punch hit for Nolasco right then and there, but with a weak bench, Mattingly went to Skip Schumaker, who grounded into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
The Dodgers wouldn't get closer than that. After Puig singled with one out in the sixth, Seth Maness got Uribe to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Nick Punto doubled with one out in the bottom of the seventh (after Shane Robinson hit a solo homer in the top of the inning to make it 4-2), and was immediately picked off by Carlos Martinez. Ethier led off the ninth with a single off of Trevor Rosenthal, and a Puig double play snuffed the inning out. It wasn't the best night for the Dodgers, who finished the night by grounding into three double plays.
As for the Cardinals, it was another game where they did just enough to win. The club went just 2/10 with runners in scoring position, but those two hits (Carpenter's double, Holliday's homer) were responsible for three of their four runs. The team also had just three extra base hits of their six on the night, and all three of those hits brought runs in. Kudos to them for making their one good inning stand up, and to Lance Lynn bending and not breaking, allowing two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, walking three and punching out five.
Game 5 is tomorrow in Los Angeles, and the Cardinals can punch their tickets to the Fall Classic. At 4 PM on TBS, Joe Kelly and Zack Greinke will duel in possibly the final game at Dodger Stadium this year.