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Dodgers Challenge Cardinals Not Named Carlos Beltran, Lose

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The Dodgers were not going to let Carlos Beltran beat them.

Why would they? Matt Carpenter batting ahead of Beltran was only 2-for-11 in this series, and Matt Holliday batting behind him was 0-for-11. Put the pressure on them.

Beltran went 0-for-3 with two walks — the Dodgers did their job. The problem was Carpenter and Holliday did their jobs also.

In the third inning, Daniel Descalso led off with a single off of Ricky Nolasco. Everyone remembers Descalso last night as a pinch runner having been doubled off from second base in the fifth inning on a fly ball by Jon Jay to left field.

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So there Descalso atoned for his transgression yesterday. After Lance Lynn bunted Descalso to second, Carpenter lined a double to left field that scored Descalso. After Beltran grounded to second sending Carpenter to third base, Holliday belted a home run deep into the Dodger bullpen.

Descalso, Carpenter and Holliday, each having a forgettable series gave the Cardinals the 3-0 lead.

As for Nolasco, the question was to start him on 21-days rest or start Zack Greinke on three-days rest? That was the question presented to manager Don Mattingly yesterday.

"As the game went on, I just told [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] I didn't feel good about [starting Greinke on short rest], and we're going everybody's staying where they're at," Mattingly said before tonight's game. So there it was, Nolasco got the start.

Nolasco said yesterday that despite the extended rest, he felt fine. "I got in the sim game a few days ago, and I've been throwing regularly on the side, and long tossing. So I feel good, ready to go."

All indications looked good for Nolasco as he needed only six pitches to get out of the first inning. However after that three-run third inning by the Cardinals, Nolasco only lasted four innings in his playoff debut.

Of more concern to the Dodgers is the health of shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Having suffered a hairline fracture of a rib in Game 1, he came back to go 2-for-4 with an RBI in Game 3. Things weren't so good in Game 4.

In his first at-bat, Ramirez took a couple of swings that ended with him grimacing in pain. On his strike out swing, Ramirez backpedalled awkwardly in obvious pain. He came out of the game in the seventh inning.

In a series that had yet to see a home run, Holliday's homer in the third and pinch hitter Shane Robinson's homer against reliever J.P. Howell were the first ones to be hit.

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The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2 and take a 3-1 series lead. But not all hope is lost. First off, the Dodgers have outhit the Cardinals in all four games of the series. Second, the Cardinals had a 3-1 series lead against the San Francisco Giants last year in the NLCS. The Giants won the World Series.

Also, the Dodgers have Zack Greinke going tomorrow in Game 5 and Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 in St. Louis if they win tomorrow.

So there is hope.