Brewers reliever Trevor Hoffman passed Pujols on a 3-1 pitch with one out in the ninth inning and the Brewers trying to hold a 3-2 lead Tuesday. Holliday, 2-for-13 in his career against Hoffman, then golfed a low delivery for a two-run homer to center field, and the Cardinals had scored their second consecutive win in the series and captured their 12th series in the last 13 (one was split).
Holliday's homer was his 12th with the Cardinals and 23rd overall. The result put the Cardinals 26 games over .500 for the first time this season and cut their magic number to 13 for winning the National League Central title.
The Cardinals failed to get a hit with a man in scoring position, going 0-for-12 in those spots. But manager Tony La Russa said, "I was pleased that we were getting something going. I look at (the glass) as half-full."
But after John Smoltz survived a
rocky start to work three scoreless innings after giving up all three
"I would pass out roses to nearly everybody on the roster," La Russa said.
The Cardinals chipped away with a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded double-play grounder by Yadier Molina. Then, in the seventh, Pujols did what he often does to Brewers reliever David Weathers. He homered for the fourth time in 20 career at-bats against Weathers and raised his average against the veteran to .550.
CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 3: The Cardinals
continued their remarkable streak of not losing ground to the Cubs. Since
--RHP John Smoltz, in his four starts with the Cardinals, has struck out 28 and walked only one, although he was touched for five hits in a six-batter span in the first two innings Tuesday. Smoltz said he had been told he would stay in the rotation the rest of the season.
"He deserves a lot of credit," manager Tony La Russa said. "John hung in there. The last three (scoreless) innings he was really dealing."
Smoltz, saying he felt confident
he had been able to "right the ship" after pitching poorly in
--RHP Kyle McClellan, giving relief ace Ryan Franklin a day off, gained his third save with a perfect ninth, punctuated by 3B Mark DeRosa snaring a line drive to end the game. McClellan often pitches the eighth but he said, "You don't think that it's the ninth inning. You've just got to get three outs."
--With runners at second and third and two out in a scoreless game in the fifth inning Monday, Milwaukee manager Ken Macha was in a tough spot. 1B Albert Pujols was the hitter and LF Matt Holliday was next. Macha chose to pitch to Pujols, who doubled in two runs. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa agreed with Macha's decision. "Walking the bases loaded -- the only time you do that is when you have a significant edge with the guy on deck," said La Russa. "No way Matt Holliday is a big edge."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It might be his
last one for the '09 season." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on giving LF Matt
Holliday his first day off after Holliday had played in 38 straight games since
being acquired from
--3B Mark DeRosa was back in the lineup Tuesday after missing three starts with back problems. DeRosa had a double and two walks.
--RHP Kyle Lohse, who had been on
the disabled list with a strained left groin, made his first appearance since
Aug. 21 and worked a scoreless inning. Lohse is expected to return to the
rotation Saturday at home against
--CF Colby Rasmus is having
trouble again with his left heel. Rasmus was kept out of the starting lineup for
the second consecutive game and won't start Wednesday, either. After an off day
Thursday, he might be ready to play again Friday at home against
CF Colby Rasmus (sore left heel) did not play Sept. 7. He appeared as a pinch hitter Sept. 8, and he won't start Sept. 9. He is expected to return to the lineup Sept. 11.
3B Mark DeRosa (sore back) did not play Sept. 6-7. He returned to the lineup Sept. 8.