NLCS Game 4: Cardinals 1 win from pennant with 4-2 victory over Dodgers

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals will have three tries to capture their second World Series berth in three years after Tuesday's victory over the Dodgers.

Both starting pitchers in Game 4 of the NLCS came in with something to prove.

Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco had to show he belonged in a key postseason game. Nolasco was passed over in favor of Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of the team's Division Series against the Braves and had not pitched in a game since Sept. 25. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, meanwhile, had to come back from a poor start against the Pirates in Game 2 of their Division Series, when he allowed five runs in 4⅓ innings.

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Lynn ended up being the better of the two in Tuesday night's game, as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, 3-2, and are now just one win away from their second World Series appearance in three years.

Things had been going so well for Nolasco through two innings, but he ended up allowing three runs in the third, including a two-run home run to Matt Holliday.

After a quick 1-2-3 fourth, Nolasco was pulled in favor of a pinch hitter. This was Nolasco's first postseason appearance. He may not get another chance to throw again in the 2014 postseason.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers' bats weren't able to give their pitcher enough support. The only runs they scored came in the fourth inning. Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double, then Andre Ethier walked to put two runners on for Yasiel Puig.

Lynn led Puig off with a high heater that came dangerously close to Puig's jaw. Later in the at-bat, the Cuban singled in the first run of the game for Los Angeles. Puig reached base three times with two singles and a walk. Unfortunately for LA, his lone out came in the bottom of the ninth when he grounded into a double-play.

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Later in the fourth inning, A.J. Ellis singled home another run to cut the lead to one before pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker grounded into a double play.

Those would be the only runs of the day for the Dodgers, who collected just four hits outside of the fourth inning. They did load the bases in the third, but a Nolasco strikeout ended that threat. Three Cardinals relievers combined to hold Los Angeles to just two hits over 3⅔ innings.

Shane Robinson of all people added to the Cardinals lead in the seventh inning with a solo home run.

The Cardinals will send Joe Kelly to the mound for the team in Game 5 in hopes of securing the franchise's 19th pennant. The Dodgers will look to prevent that with Zack Greinke. Those two pitchers dueled to a 2-2 tie in Game 1 before St. Louis won in 13 innings.

If the series continues, the Dodgers will likely have to face wunderkind Michael Wacha and Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright in potential Games 6 and 7.

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