New left fielder Matt Holliday already had had 13 hits, including five doubles and a homer, in his first seven games as a Cardinal. And then on Friday night, it might have got even better.
Holliday had three singles and a game-tying double in four at-bats. Hitting behind first baseman Albert Pujols, Holliday is making opponents pay when they walk or hit Pujols as the Houston Astros did one of each Friday.
On the three times he has been allowed to hit following a Pujols walk or hit-by-pitch, Holliday is three for three in his first eight games as a Cardinal.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa
said, "I can see now why he hit .390 (as a
The Cardinals moved back into first place using a quartet of pitchers not often seen in the same game. Rookie righty Mitchell Boggs was recalled to make the start and was relieved by little-used Brad Thompson. That duo held the Astros to three runs over 7 2/3 innings before veteran lefty Trever Miller fanned the only hitter he faced and Ryan Franklin gained his 24th save in 26 opportunties.
Boggs, who gave up just two runs despite allowing 12 baserunners in five innings, probably will go back to Class AAA Memphis Saturday.
Cardinals 4, Astros 3: RF Rick Ankiel's single past a drawn-in infield broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning. RHP Mitchell Boggs is just 1-0 in five starts but the Cardinals have won all five.
• INF Khalil Greene, who had hit .345 on a minor league rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Memphis as he continues to deal with anxiety issues, will be activated Saturday. "I feel as good as I have in a long time, as far as being able to play the game and narrow my thoughts down to the game itself," said Greene. "I had a good stint in (the minor-league) rehab as far as being able to experience different levels of success or failure. I moved around and played different places and I had a good time. I'm not trying to prove anything or do anything. I'm just trying to enjoy my time here and trying to be productive."
• Just hours after he delivered a clutch pinch double on Thursday, OF Nick Stavinoha was a roster victim. Stavinoha, the club's top pinch-hitter at .333 (five for 15), was sent back to Class AAA Memphis for the second time this season. "The minute you start to assume what's going to happen… you're wasting your time," said Stavinoha. It's not that the guys here don't deserve to be here. I don't think there's anyone in this clubhouse more worthy of being sent down than me. It's part of the game. It's a tough thing to deal with. I'll go down and do my job just like I always do."
• The Cardinals may have been able to win Wednesday's game in the 12th inning when PH Joe Thurston doubled with one out—except that he missed first base and the Dodgers correctly appealed. Afterward, manager Tony La Russa said, "We're looking for Joe. He's missing in action. I think he dug a hole trying to bury himself, and we can't find him. Hopefully, he got the result of the game and crawled back out. A very embarrassing moment for him."
• Manager Tony La Russa said that until the swelling in SS Brendan Ryan's ankle recedes, "he's limited (as in almost unplayable)." But, as far as making an immediate decision to disable Ryan, La Russa said, "Something like that usually is not 15 days." Ryan fouled a ball off his ankle on Thursday night and has been replaced, for the moment, by Julio Lugo.
• RHP Mitchell Boggs, who started Friday's game, could be sent back to Memphis for 10 days since the Cardinals have two off days next week and then, if the club wanted, he could be brought back the next time a fifth starter is needed, on Aug. 11.
• 1B Albert Pujols drew his 36th
intentional walk on Friday to lead the NL. Next is
• 3B Mark DeRosa's seventh homer
in 11 games gave him 20 for the season, the first 13 coming with
• LF Matt Holliday is the first player to begin his Cardinals career by hitting safely in his first eight games since Roger Maris in 1967.