The St. Louis Cardinals drew within one win of reaching the World Series and the Boston Red Sox moved a step closer to joining them there.
Matt Holliday and Shane Robinson hit home runs as the Cardinals defeated the host Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 last night. St. Louis took a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series and can finish off Los Angeles in Game 5 this afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
In the American League, Mike Napoli’s seventh-inning home run gave the Red Sox a 1-0 win against the Detroit Tigers and a two-games-to-one series lead. The game was interrupted for 17 minutes when a cable failure caused lights to go out in the second inning at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
It was the second home run this postseason for Holliday, who had two hits last night after entering the game hitless in 12 at-bats in the first three games of the series.
“I felt like I hit the ball hard,” Holliday said in a televised interview. “That’s about as good as I could hit one.”
At Los Angeles, the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the third inning on a run-scoring double by Matt Carpenter and a two-run homer by Holliday. The Dodgers got two runs in the fourth on run-scoring singles by Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis.
St. Louis made it 4-2 in the seventh on a solo home run by pinch-hitter Robinson.
At Detroit, the game was scoreless in the middle of the second inning when the power went out on the scoreboard and on light towers around the stadium. Utility officials said the power outage was an isolated incident.
“This was just a random cable failure,” Steve Kurmas, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric Co., a unit of DTE Energy Co., said in a telephone interview.
The Red Sox lead the ALCS despite striking out 43 times in the three games so far. Boston can move to the brink of reaching the World Series with a win tonight in Game 4 at Detroit.
Napoli’s home run broke up a pitchers’ duel between Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Boston’s John Lackey. The starters had overwhelmed hitters in the first six scoreless innings -- each struck out eight batters and Lackey allowed three hits in that span while Verlander allowed two hits before the homer.
The home run by Napoli, who said he rubbed his bat on teammate Jonny Gomes’s beard before going up to hit, broke a 21-inning scoreless streak by Verlander in these playoffs. Napoli had struck out in his first two at-bats in the game.
“Having seen him a couple times already, I knew he wasn’t seeing the fastball that great,” Verlander told reporters. “I decided to challenge him. I made a little bit of a mistake. It was a little bit up and in the middle.”
Lackey got the victory by pitching the first 6 2/3 innings and three Boston relievers closed out the game. Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Lackey seemed to calm down after the 17-minute delay.
“That little time off gave him a chance to slow down,” Saltalamacchia said in a televised interview. “He was very excited and pumped in that first inning. Kind of getting excited with his slider, throwing a little too hard and leaving it over the middle.”