Left fielder Matt Holliday continued his torrid stretch of
hitting with a tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom of the seventh
Monday as the St. Louis Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win over the
Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.
With Milwaukee losing 4-2 at the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis (74-63)
established a one-game lead over the Brewers, while dropping the
Pirates (71-66) three games off the pace.
It was the Cardinals' second straight comeback from an early
deficit. In Sunday's 9-6 victory over the Cubs, the Cardinals
trailed 5-0 after the top of the second.
"No parades," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said when asked about
owning the top spot. "But we're happy. I'm running out of ways to
describe being down by five, being down by three runs against a good
team and a good pitcher, and watching how we're doing it. We're
going to keep the throttle down."
Holliday's throttle has been stuck in overdrive since the nightcap
of Saturday's doubleheader against the Cubs. Dating back to the
fifth inning of that game, when he jacked a three-run homer,
Holliday has knocked in 12 runs in the last 20 innings.
That included his grounder between third and short off reliever John
Axford that drove in center fielder Jon Jay for St. Louis' first
lead of the day.
In the last three games, Holliday is 7-for-11 with three homers and
12 RBIs, giving him 81 for the season. That included a rocket
two-run double off starter Gerrit Cole in the third that pulled the
Cardinals within 3-2.
"I guess it wasn't high enough or low enough because he put a good
swing on it," Cole said of Holliday. "He's probably the strongest
human in the world. You jam him and he puts it on the warning track
in right-center. You put him on his front foot and he about takes
(shortstop Jordy) Mercer's glove off.
"He's just unbelievable."
Cole (7-5) took a 4-2 lead to the seventh after center fielder
Andrew McCutchen unloaded a 454-foot homer to the third deck in left
as the leadoff man in Pittsburgh's half of the inning.
But St. Louis equalized with one swing from pinch-hitter Kolten
Wong. He jumped on a meaty 1-2 fastball from Cole, lining it over
the fence in right-center with second baseman Pete Kozma aboard for
his 11th homer.
Wong, who didn't start at second due to a neck injury, didn't take
batting practice, but took heat packs and moved around constantly in
the dugout to stay loose.
"I just had to push that aside and try to help this team somehow,"
he said. "I was kind of surprised that I hit the ball because Gerrit
is such a good pitcher."
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Jay then sliced a triple down the left-field line, ending Cole's day after
6 1/3 innings, eight hits, and five runs with three walks and four
strikeouts. Axford walked right fielder Oscar Taveras and fell behind
3-1 before Holliday collected his major-league-leading 21st game-winning
RBI of the year.
Reliever Seth Maness (6-3) got the last two outs of the seventh for the
win, and closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around a two-out error in the
ninth for his 41st save.
The Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Lance Lynn. Second baseman
Neil Walker doubled home two runs in the first, and right fielder
Anthony Lambo delivered an RBI double in the second.
Lynn steadied after the shaky start, pitching six innings and allowing
eight hits. He gave up three runs, walked three and fanned three.
Holliday didn't stick around to discuss the continuation of his tear,
but his teammates certainly didn't mind talking about him.
"I hope he keeps doing it all month long," Lynn said.
NOTES: St. Louis activated 2B Mark Ellis (left oblique) from the 15-day
disabled list Monday. Ellis, who was injured in mid-August during
infield practice, is hitting .192 with 12 RBIs in 167 at-bats. ...
Pittsburgh called up RHPs Gerrit Cole and Stolmy Pimentel, as well as C
Tony Sanchez, from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Cardinals RHP Michael
Wacha threw 34 pitches in a rehab game Sunday night for Double-A
Springfield at Tulsa. He allowed a hit and a walk with a strikeout. St.
Louis RHP Jason Motte pitched the eighth inning of that game and threw
12 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning. The organization hasn't decided the next
step for either yet.
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