Meanwhile, the Dodgers and Cardinals continue to demonstrate just how important pitching is to a team’s title hopes. Both have been fantastic on the mound, but the Cardinals have been “that much better” through the first three games. However, this knowledge also placed added pressure on the Cardinals last night. Lose to the Dodgers in game 4 and knot things up at 2-2 and suddenly they’re facing the difficult task of getting through both Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw with the possibility of elimination looming in the distance.
So what exactly happened on Tuesday night?
In Detroit, the Tigers and Red Sox took a page out of the Cardinals-Dodgers playbook. Justin Verlander and John Lackey, the respective starters for the Tigers and Red Sox, pitched phenomenally on Tuesday afternoon. They combined to throw 14.2 innings, allow eight hits and a walk, and strike out 18 total batters between the two of them. Unfortunately for Verlander, he made the one lone mistake for the Tigers. The solo home run he allowed to Mike Napoli in the top of the seventh proved to be the game winner as the Red Sox were able to squeak past the Tigers 1-0.
However, while Napoli’s home run won the game, it wasn’t the key moment of game. That occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Junichi Tazawa struck out Miguel Cabrera and Koji Uehara struck out Prince Fielder to escape the inning and the threat. It was an amazing moment for a Boston bullpen that has been spot on all postseason long. For Verlander, this marked the fourth time in his last six starts in which the Tigers offense no-showed.
Back in Dodger land, where pitching has dominated each game in some way, shape or form, the Cardinals proved to be victorious once again, this time by a score of 4-2. With the win, the Cards took an impressive 3-1 series lead and will have the opportunity to close things out on Wednesday when Joe Kelly takes the mound against Zack Greinke.
As for the game itself, the Cardinals scored the majority of their runs via the long ball. In the top of the third inning, following a Matt Carpenter RBI double to put them up 1-0, Ricky Nolasco served up a monstrous home run to Matt Holiday to push the led to 3-0. The home run was Holliday’s first legitimate contribution for the Cardinals this offseason.
The Dodgers were able to fight their way back into the game, but couldn’t pull themselves over the top. They cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth thanks to RBI singles from Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis, but the Cardinals would respond again. This time it was Shane Robinson connecting on a pitch from J.P. Howell that would push the score back up to 4-2.