Ricky Nolasco

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco in the Dodgers' 4-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / October 15, 2013)

Momentum is a one-game deal in the playoffs, and as high as the Dodgers were feeling Monday, they were as low after Tuesday.

The Dodgers fell, 4-2, to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, leaving them down three games to one and without their offensive leader.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez tried to play for a second consecutive day with a broken rib, but this time the pain proved too great. He could not conceal the agony as he swung the bat. It was actually hard to watch.

BOX SCORE: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2

Ramirez struck out in all three of his at-bats and was finally taken out of the game in the seventh. It’s not difficult to imagine he is done for the series.

The Dodgers could be done as soon as Wednesday afternoon’s Game 5 at Dodger Stadium. Zack Greinke will start for the Dodgers, opposite St. Louis’ Joe Kelly.

Manager Don Mattingly gave serious consideration to moving Greinke up and having him pitch Tuesday on short rest, but instead opted to go with Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco, skipped over in the division series, had not started a game since Sept. 25.

He did not pitch well, but neither was he horrible for a guy who had not started a game in three weeks. He lasted four innings, his one major error giving up a mammoth two-run homer to Matt Holliday in the third.

But the Dodgers could never really get their offense going against Lance Lynn and the St. Louis bullpen.

Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis singled in runs in the fourth, the only inning the Dodgers could score.

Here is an inning-by-inning recap of Game 4 of the NLCS:

Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2 (final, end of ninth):

Closer Trevor Rosenthal took over in the ninth and immediately gave up a basehit to Andre Ethier.

Yet with the crowd on its feet, Rosenthal got Yasiel Puig to hit into a double play. Juan Uribe struck out, and the Dodgers were suddenly facing an elimination game.

Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2 (middle of ninth):

Carlos Marmol came out again in the eighth, and after a leadoff walk, retired the next three Cardinals, the last two looking at third strikes.

Many in the sellout crowd of 53,992 have slipped out, knowing the Dodgers are now down to their final three outs.

Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2 (end of eighth):

The Dodgers went weakly in the eighth, hard-throwing Carlos Martinez retiring retiring the Dodgers in order on three ground balls.