The Dodgers are one game from elimination after a Game 4 loss to St. Louis. It was a frustrating game with the Dodgers wasting several opportunities to come back, while the Cardinals bashed a couple of home runs.
Since the Dodgers went down in the series 2-0, there has been plenty of talk about whether or not Nolasco would start Game 4, or if Zack Greinke would get a crack at starting on short rest. They stuck with their normal rotation, and hoped for a repeat of Hyun-Jin Ryu's sterling Game 3 outing.
Nolasco did not have a bad start, but was not that good either. He lasted four innings and gave up three hits with a walk for three runs, with four strikeouts.
In the third, he gave up a lead-off single to Daniel Descalso. Pitcher Lance Lynn bunted him over and he scored on a double by Matt Carpenter.
It looked like Nolasco might contain to trouble after getting Carlos Beltran to ground out, but then Matt Holliday crushed a two-run homer to left field to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. It was a monster jack that sailed over the bullpen -- easily the longest home run I've seen at Dodger Stadium this year.
Nolasco was given one more inning of work before getting pulled at 58 pitches. As stated before, it was not a bad start, but the three-run third inning was too much for the Dodgers to overcome.
St. Louis starter Lynn was kind of all over the place with six hits and three walks, but he still held the Dodgers to just two runs in 5.1 innings. He found ways out of bad situations by inducing two double plays and striking out five.
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The Dodgers put two runs on the board in the fourth inning off Lynn. Yasiel Puig drove in one on a single up the middle to score Adrian Gonzalez, and A.J. Ellis singled in Andre Ethier to get them within one with a 3-2 score.
Puig's RBI-single was an impressive, professional at-bat. On the first pitch, he got some high-heat near his head, brushing him back and putting him on edge. But he controlled his feelings, worked the count in his favor and drove the single up the middle for the RBI.
The Dodgers had plenty of chances to tie the game that fell flat. After Ellis' RBI-single in the fourth Skip Schumaker grounded into a double play to end the threat. In the sixth, Juan Uribe grounded into a double play with Yasiel Puig on base to end the inning.
In the seventh inning with J.P. Howell on the mound, the Cardinals hit another home run. This time it was not from a great hitter like Holliday, it was Shane Robinson, an outfielder who hit two home runs in 99 games this season.
His solo jack put St. Louis up 4-2, and took the wind out of the Dodgers sails.
They still had two more good chances to score though. In the seventh Nick Punto doubled, but was immediately picked off to take a run off the base paths. And in the ninth, Andre Ethier led off with a single and was erased on a Puig double-play ball.
Hanley Ramirez was pulled from the game after six innings, suffering from his fractured ribs. Nick Punto finished the rest of the game, but it brings up worries about whether or not he will be ready to play in Game 5 or, if necessary, Game 6 and 7 in St. Louis.
The Dodgers are now on the edge of elimination and have to win three in a row to advance to the World Series. Game 5 is on Wednesday in Los Angeles at 1 p.m. The Dodgers will be throwing Zack Greinke against the Cardinals' Joe Kelly.