The Cardinals scored two runs in the ninth inning to break a tie. Earlier, they had pulled off bizarre double plays in back-to-back innings. They overcame an astonishing three errors by Gold Glove first baseman Albert Pujols. The net result was a 6-4 triumph over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The win enabled the Cardinals to hold their position 4 1/2 games behind the National League wild card leaders, the Atlanta Braves.
But the Cardinals still lost.
Left fielder Matt Holliday had to yield his final at-bat in the ninth inning, having sprained the
underside of his right hand swinging the bat in the on-deck circle. Holliday was
to return to
With just two weeks left in the season, the likelihood of him playing much the rest of the way seems slim.
"I'm concerned. I've never done anything like this before," Holliday said.
"We'll see what happens (Wednesday). You hope it's just a bruise or something and maybe it'll be a couple days or a day."
But a worried teammate said, "It's not good."
It's been a very strange year, indeed, for Holliday, who is hitting .295 with 22 homers and 74 runs batted in.
Holliday already has undergone surgery for an appendix condition after the first game of the season, injured his side when he was reaching for a weight in the weight room and had a quadriceps injury, and he even had to leave a game when a moth flew into his ear.
1B Albert Pujols had committed two errors in a game four times at first base and three times at third base before making three at first base on Tuesday, including two on one play. "There's a first time for everything," said Pujols. "It's crazy. All you can do is laugh."
RHP Kyle McClellan, who gained his fifth win out of 11 from the bullpen—he had started much of the season - threw just one pitch in the eighth inning to get the victory. "That's not what we're there for. We're there to hold the lead," said McClellan.
LF Matt Holliday determined that Pittsburgh SS Pedro Ciriaco had left third base too soon as he tried to score on Pirates 1B Derrek Lee's flyball in the fifth. The Cardinals appealed at third and got the out call although television replays indicated that Ciriaco had not left early.
3B Nick Punto delivered his second game-winning RBI in the last four Cardinals wins with a run-scoring double in the ninth. Punto has been ravaged by injuries this season and has spent three tours on the disabled list. "That's one of the real negatives of the season - that he's missed so much time," said manager Tony La Russa. "He's proved that he could have been a difference-maker."
RHP Chris Carpenter got a two-year, $21 million extension in the afternoon, a two-run single in the second (doubling his RBI total) but a no-decision. Carpenter gave up a two-run, game-tying homer to Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutchen in the seventh inning.
RHP Jason Motte recorded his sixth save in six tries since taking over as the closer. He had to pitch around two leadoff singles in the ninth, with C Yadier Molina making a bold play to force a runner at third after fielding a bunt.
BY THE NUMBERS: 93 - RBI for 1B Albert Pujols, who is shooting for his 11th straight season of at least 100.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's about being a St. Louis Cardinal for the rest of my career."
- RHP Chris Carpenter, on why he agreed to a two-year extension for a total of $21 million rather than elect to go to free agency. The Cardinals would not have picked up Carpenter's $15 million option for 2012 but instead rolled it into his new deal.
LF Matt Holliday
(sprained right hand) was injured while he was in the on-deck circle Sept. 13
and had to leave the game. He was scheduled to go back to
RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13 and was activated on September 13.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season. Wainwright was getting closer to throwing a full-strength bullpen session in September, but he will not be allowed to throw his signature curveball until next year.
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Nick Punto, Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa sound off on the 6-4 win in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak talks about signing ace Chris Carpenter's two-year extension.