Cards defeat Dodgers, one win away from reaching World Series -

Cards defeat Dodgers, one win away from reaching World Series

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- Offense finally showed up at the NLCS Tuesday night. It took awhile to get there. Two scoreless innings began the game, though the Dodgers were close to striking first.

After a bases-loaded scare in the bottom of the second, Lance Lynn struck out opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco to end the threat.

Daniel Descalso got the first hit for the Cardinals in the third. Descalso got the start over Pete Kozma at shortstop, and posted an average of .308 off Nolasco prior to the game. 

Matt Carpenter broke the deadlock following Lynn's sacrifice bunt with an RBI double to left center. Matt Holliday added to the cushion with a towering home run to left, giving the Birds a 3-0 lead. 

"It was one pitch, middle-in, and I got the barrel to it," Holliday said. "He had pitched me in the at-bat before and I popped up so I had an idea that he might try to come in, and I wanted to try to get the bat head a little bit further out front, and I was able to do that."

Lynn's response was to sit the top three of the Dodgers order in succession, but they would return in the fourth inning with a vengeance. 

Adrian Gonzalez led off the action with a double, and Andre Ethier drew a walk to set the stage for the controversial Yasiel Puig. 

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After a pitch sailed high and tight to the rookie, the Dodger Stadium crowd was on their feet. Puig punched a 3-2 single past the diving Descalso, and got the Dodgers on the board. A.J. Ellis added another run on a single to center before former Cardinal Skip Schumaker struck out. 

Nolasco lasted just four innings, giving up three hits, three earned runs and striking out four. 

Shane Robinson, yes that Shane Robinson, added a solo home run in the seventh inning to give St. Louis a three run lead.

"It's always a tough task, especially for a pinch hitter to come in and hit a home run is huge, but especially in that situation," Holliday said. "For Shane being a little guy, he's got pretty good power. He's surprisingly got pretty good thump.

The Dodgers showed life in the seventh inning with a one-out double by former Cardinal Nick Punto, but Carlos Martinez picked him off at second base for the second out of the inning.

"That was unbelievable," Matheny said. "That's instigated by Kozma, so great head-up play by him. Then it has to be natural instincts and athleticism by Carlos Martinez, and I don't know many guys that pull that off. He has such athletic moves. He's quick in everything he does. Then to have the guts to wheel and let it fly like that in a game like we have right now, it's off the charts."

Once again the Dodgers put the leadoff runner on base, this time to start the ninth inning off Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal. Andre Ethier reached on a single to bring Yasiel Puig, who represented the tying run, to the plate with no outs.

Puig grounded into a double play to erase Ethier's hit before Rosenthal struck out Juan Uribe to end the game.

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