Left fielder Matt Holliday mostly is a slugger. Example: his 24th home run of the season, an opposite-field shot that broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning to put right-hander Kyle Lohse ahead en route to a 4-3 win over the fast-fading Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Lohse had to survive a 34-minute rain delay and five relief pitchers before he gained his eighth straight victory, raising his record to 14-2. Limited to five innings by manager Mike Matheny's decision not to bring him back after the delay, Lohse was scored on only in the fourth inning, when the Pirates bunched four singles and a sacrifice fly for two runs.
But the sacrifice fly wasn't routine.
With the bases loaded, Holliday had to sprint to his right on a wet field to flag down Josh Harrison's ball, which could have gone for an extra-base hit in the vast expanse in left field.
"It was one of his better catches this year," said Matheny. "There was going to be another run score if it gets past him because it was going to kick around in that corner."
Holliday didn't think the play was all that special.
"I'm glad I made it. It was all right, but I expect to make that play," he said.
But Lohse was impressed. "I thought it was a really good play," Lohse said. "It takes away two runs.
"He probably doesn't get the credit that he deserves. He's just not an average outfielder."
Lance Lynn, making his first relief
appearance of the season, Fernando Salas, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski and
Jason Motte were called on to finish the win, which put the Cardinals 14 games
above .500 for the first time this year and three games ahead of the Pirates (2
1/2 ahead of
RHP Kyle Lohse, an .080 hitter, drove in the tying run with a single in the fifth after third-base coach Jose Oquendo boldly had waved home slow-moving C Yadier Molina (bad ankle) on a double with nobody out by 2B Skip Schumaker. Oquendo had noticed Pittsburgh CF Andrfew McCutchen drop his arm after he stopped the ball. Schumaker then went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Lohse, who had been 4 for 50 at the time. "I'm a little embarrassed about that," Lohse said. "I'm a little better than that."
LF Matt Holliday is 9 for 18 in the first four games of the Cardinals' 10-game trip. His home run Monday, his 24th, was to right center. "I like opposite-field home runs. That means my swing is in a pretty good spot," said Holliday.
RHP Lance Lynn, taken out of the rotation after five poor starts though he is 13-5, allowed one unearned run in 1 1/3 innings in his first relief appearance of the season. Lynn, who was part of the Cardinals' bullpen last October in their march to the World Series title, said, "We've got a good setup down there to make a good run here. It was OK for the first one, getting back into it. Hopefully I'll build off that one and do better the next time out."
RHP Jason Motte gained his 31st save by getting the last four outs. Though this would seem an exciting time, he said it was no different than a game in the spring. "I'm trying to get them out in April and (LF Matt) Holliday's trying to drive guys in in April, just like he did tonight," he said. "Winning's fun, regardless of when you do it. And losing stinks."
2B Skip Schumaker started his fourth straight game and is 8 for 15 in that time, jumping his average to .317. But Schumaker has been coming out late in the game for defense (Daniel Descalso), and he is OK with that. "I don't get offended when there's a much better defender on the bench late in the game. That doesn't offend me at all," he said.
3B David Freese, who hadn't engaged in a full workout since being hit in the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, sat out a third straight start Monday although he did pinch hit and strike out. 3B Matt Carpenter relieved him again and had a hit and a walk, giving him five hits in the three games. Freese will play on Tuesday night.
Manager Mike Matheny said
he spoke to rehabbing 1B Lance Berkman, who is testing his sore knees at Class
AAA Memphis. "He said he felt a little creaky," said Matheny. Berkman, who no
doubt will be mostly a pinch hitter the rest of the way, is likely to join the
By the Numbers:
90 - RBI for the National League leader, LF Matt Holliday, after he homered on Monday.
Quote to Note:
"Right now, we really want him to take a lot of pride in helping us from the bullpen."
- Manager Mike Matheny on his switch of RHP Lance Lynn, a 13-game winner, from the rotation to the bullpen.
3B David Freese (bruised left wrist) was hit by a pitch Aug. 24, and he didn't play Aug. 25-27. He plans to play Aug. 28.
1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 24, and he is expected to be activated Sept. 1.
RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.
RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. He underwent season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. He did some light tossing from 40 to 60 feet on Aug. 16.
Link to boxscore: St. Louis 4 at Pittsburgh 3