Dodgers hope to pull even with Cards in Game 4 of NLCS

( - It may not be as dramatic as Kirk Gibson limping off the bench to hit a home run, but shortstop Hanley Ramirez is certainly endearing himself to Los Angeles Dodgers fans this postseason.

The Dodgers and Ramirez try to even their best-of-seven National League Championship Series Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.

Ramirez, who missed Game 2 after getting hit in the ribs in the opener, returned to the lineup on Monday despite a hairline fracture and singled in his first at-bat before driving in the final run in Los Angeles' 3-0 win.

"What can I say? It couldn't be better," said Ramirez, who is batting .455 with seven RBI in the playoffs. "Really happy we got the first win. Just come back (Tuesday) and even up the series."

Pitching continued to dominate this series, as Dodgers' righty Hyun-Jin Ryu scattered three hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings to help L.A. get back in the series after losing the first two in St. Louis.

Of course, only one team has rallied from an 0-2 deficit in the NLCS -- the Cardinals in 1985 against the Dodgers.

Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig ended the Dodgers' 22-inning scoreless drought with RBI extra-base hits in the fourth inning, and that was all Ryu and the back end of the Dodgers' bullpen needed.

"I think the playoffs are a one-day momentum swing. Every day changes with momentum. Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Adam Wainwright, who tossed a complete-game gem in the NLDS closeout game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, surrendered two runs in seven innings to take the loss, while the Cardinals continued to struggle to get things going offensively.

As a team, St. Louis is only hitting .134 with seven walks through the first three games.

"We're a better club than this," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It wasn't very characteristic of how we played all season."

The nine combined runs in the series thus far are the fewest ever through three games of an LCS.

Now the Dodgers will apparently turn to righty Ricky Nolasco, who was supposed to start Game 4 of the NLDS against Atlanta, but was pulled hours before the start for Clayton Kershaw.

Mattingly kind of left the door open to that happening again, only this time he would go with Game 1 starter Zack Greinke on short rest.

"As of right now," Mattingly said. "Ricky Nolasco will be pitching tomorrow."

Nolasco was terrific after being traded to the Dodgers from Miami in early July and was 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA in his first 12 starts. However, he was winless over his final four starts and allowed 19 runs over 12 innings in his last three outings of the year.

"Until somebody says otherwise, I'm focused on going out there and pitching tomorrow," Nolasco said. Referring to his conditional starting status, he added, "Those things are out of my control. I'm only concentrating on the things I can control."

St. Louis, meanwhile, will rely on righty Lance Lynn, who picked up the win in relief in Game 1. Lynn pitched two scoreless innings in that one after yielding five runs in just 4 1/3 innings in his Game 2 loss to the Pirates in the NLDS.

"You have two really good offensive teams that haven't done much so far, and I've never been one to be naive to the fact that somebody's probably due," Lynn said. "But when it's all said and done, you have to concentrate on all you can take care of, and that's just one pitch at a time. Whoever's in the box, you just try to execute your game plan against them.

"We have two great offenses here that haven't done anything yet, so there could be a couple good games here offensively. But as a starting pitcher, you don't want to see it."

Lynn has never lost to the Dodgers and is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts.

To make matters worse for the Cardinals they may be without third baseman David Freese, who left Game 3 with tightness in his calf.

The Dodgers were 4-3 against the Cardinals this season.