Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES (USA TODAY) --
The St. Louis Cardinals, annoyed by the Los Angeles Dodgers' flamboyant and theatrical celebrations, vowed Tuesday to put an end to it.
So they went out and shut up the Dodgers the old-fashioned way, silencing them on the field with a 4-2 victory, and moving within one game of their fourth National League pennant in 10 years.
The Cardinals, with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, can close out the series today at 4:07 p.m. (ET), determining whether they'll be traveling sober back to St. Louis for Game 6, or drunk in ecstasy.
"We got no problem,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, "celebrating this one.''
Yet, they may have to pay a few extra bucks for handling charges on their return flight, stuffing a previously non-existent offense into the overhead bins.
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 of an LCS.
Yet, as atrocious as it looked, Matheny sensed before the game that the Cardinals would break out of their historic drought, telling me that "I think we'll come alive tonight."
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.
And, oh, how no one blew out the Dodgers' candles like Matt Holliday, hitless in this series coming in.
With one swing of the bat, he turned boisterous Dodger Stadium into a morgue.
Holliday turned on Ricky Nolasco's 91-mph fastball in the third inning, sent it over the Dodgers' bullpen, and on the way to Pasadena.
The homer was measured at 426 feet, an estimate so conservative that it makes Rush Limbaugh look liberal.
"That's funny,'' Holliday said, when told of the announced distance of the homer. "I've hit further ones, maybe. But not in that situation.''
Holliday forgot to thrust his hands into the air and scream around the bases, but it still counted just the same for a 3-0 Cardinals' lead. It also was the first homer of the series for either team, the longest drought in a postseason series since the 1948 World Series.
The Cardinals, with a bullpen that has been almost flawless, made sure there would be no 25-year encore celebration of Kirk Gibson's homer.
"When they gave me the 3-0 lead,'' Cardinals starter Lance Lynn said, "that was huge for me to be able to lock it back in.
"The bullpen did an outstanding job at the end."
The Dodgers, who closed to 3-2 in the fourth inning, were shut out the rest of the way, and don't know when shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be able to play again.
Ramirez, looked every bit like a guy playing 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.
"We don't have time,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, "to feel sorry for ourselves.''
The Dodgers' only real drama of the evening was provided by, who else, Yasiel Puig.
Yes, the same dude whose zany celebration during Monday's triple around the basepaths became legendary.
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 toward the mound. He stopped, and retreated in anger. Teammate Juan Uribe instructed him to calm down.
The crowd rose to its feet, screamed louder with each pitch, until Puig delivered a run-scoring single.
There was no celebration this time.
And the Cardinals made sure he never got another opportunity, with closer Trevor Rosenthal inducing a ninth-inning double play from Puig, snuffing a potential rally.
The Dodgers managed four hits after catcher A.J. Ellis' run-scoring single in the fourth. The only time they reached second the rest of the game was on Nick Punto's one-out double in the seventh, but he was picked off.
"It was a lonely walk off the field,'' Punto said.
It may have symbolized the Dodgers' exit.
The Hollywood Story is over.
The Cardinals made sure there's no need for applause.
Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @BNightengale