By Bob Nightengale
LOS ANGELES - The St. Louis Cardinals, riled by the Los Angeles Dodgers' flamboyant celebrations, decided Tuesday they wouldn't put up with it anymore.
So they went out and shut up the Dodgers the old-fashioned way, silencing the Dodgers on the field, winning 4-2, and moving within one victory of their fourth National League pennant in 10 years.
PHOTOS:NLCS Game 4
The Cardinals, with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, will play the Dodgers for the last time at Dodger Stadium at 4:07 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, determining whether they'll be traveling sober back to St. Louis for Game 6, or drunk in ecstasy waiting for the World Series.
Yet, they have to pay a few extra bucks for handling charges on their return flight, stuffing an offense into the overhead bins, which had been non-existent all series.
The Cardinals had been shut out for 15 innings, and entered the game with these ugly numbers this series: .134 batting average, .175 slugging percentage, and a .190 on-base percentage. It was the worst offensive numbers ever compiled after three games in a League Championship Series in baseball history.
Yet, as atrocious as it looked, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny looked me into the eyes in their dugout, and vowed we would see an offensive assault this evening.
Ok, well, maybe in not those exact words, but said: "We are so close. We are just missing pitches. I think you'll see us come alive tonight. ...We have a couple of guys that are just a click off. We think they're close.''
Next time Matheny has these premonitions, I'll be happy to buy him an airline ticket for Vegas.
Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals' MVP candidate, drove in his first run of the postseason.
Shane Robinson, who had five career homers in 386 career at-bats, hit a pinch-hit homer.
But, oh, no one blew out the Dodgers' candles like Matt Holliday.
This is a guy who was not only hitless in the series, but had not driven in a run in his last 12 postseason games, dating back to Game 3 of the 2012 season.
Holliday, with one swing of the bat, turned boisterous Dodger Stadium into a morgue.
Holliday turned on Dodger starter Ricky Nolasco's 91-mph fastball in the third inning, sent it over the Dodgers' bullpen, and on the way to Pasadena.
It was measured at 426 feet, an estimate so conservative that it makes Rush Limbaugh look like a liberal.
Holliday, who had not had a hit in the NLCS, forgot to thrust his hands into the air and scream around the bases, but it still counted just the same, good for a Cardinals' 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals, with a bullpen that hasn't given up a run in 14 innings this series, setting an LCS record, made sure there would be no 25-year encore celebration of Kirk Gibson's homer.
The Dodgers, who closed to 3-2 in the fourth inning, were shut out the rest of the way, and may be without shortstop Hanley Ramirez the rest of the season.
Ramirez, playing with a cracked eighth rib, looked like a guy with a broken rib. He struck out in all three of his plate appearances, failing to even swing at a fastball, and was taken out of the game after the sixth inning. The Dodgers don't know if he'll be able to play again this series.
The Dodgers' only real drama of the evening was provided by, who else, but Yasiel Puig.
Yes, the same dude whose zany celebration during Monday's triple around the basepaths became legendary, with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly even cringing, saying Tuesday that he should have been more upset than the Cardinals.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, either sending a message, or simply wanting to rattle Puig, started him off with a 93-mph fastball at the neck.
Puig jerked his head back, spun around, and took a step towards the mound. He stopped, and retreated towards the dugout in anger. Teammate Juan Uribe instructed him to calm down. He stood there, staring at Lynn, violently twisting his bat, rubbing his hands, clapping, and stepping back in the batter's box.
The crowd stood on its feet, started screaming, and now Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina feared that Lynn may be unnerved. He went to the mound, talked to Lynn, giving the sellout crowd more time to get louder, with a tape of Lakers star Kobe Bryan imploring the crowd to make some noise.
The confrontation got more tense by the pitch. Strike. Ball. Strike. Puig steps away. Lynn steps off.
Now, with a 3-and-2 count, Lynn fired a curveball. Puig swung. And singled past diving shortstop Daniel Descalso for the Dodgers' first run.
The Dodgers tacked on another run in the inning on catcher A.J. Ellis's single, but managed just three hits the rest of the game. The only time they reached second base the rest of the game was on Nick Punto's one-out double in the seventh, but he was picked off, as he was inexplicably wandering off the bag.
The Hollywood Story is over.
And, no, the Cardinals made sure, there's no need for applause.
Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @BNightengale