Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/19/09

Matt Holliday's first walk off home run as a Cardinal gave his club a 3-2 home win over Chicago on Friday. The club's magic number is down to six.

Inside Pitch


What impact has Matt Holliday had since he came to the Cardinals on July 24? In 50 games since then, the Cardinals are 34-16. Holliday has driven in 49 runs in those 50 games.


No. 49 came in the bottom of the ninth on Friday as Holliday laced a 3-1 fastball the other way into the Cardinals' bullpen in right field to provide the Cardinals with only their second victory in seven games on this home stand.


"He just hit it absolutely perfect, as pure as you can hit it," said manager Tony La Russa.


The magic number, being reduced two at a time every day the Cardinals can beat the Chicago Cubs, is down to six now. But Holliday wondered why folks had been fretting after the Cardinals had lost successive series to Atlanta and Florida at home.


"At some point, you figure were going to lose a few," said Holliday. "I can't believe people expected us to win four out of five games the entire last two months."


CARDINALS 3, CHICAGO 2: RHP John Smoltz, making his fifth start for the Cardinals, gave up two runs in the first inning and then no more the rest of the way. Strong relief work from RHPs Kyle McClellan (four strikeouts in two innings) and Ryan Franklin helped keep the Cardinals close until LF Matt Holliday stroked his second game-ending homer of the season. His other one came with Oakland four days before he was dealt to St. Louis.


Notes, Quotes


      Former Cub Mark DeRosa hurt his old team with a run-scoring triple in the fifth inning. DeRosa's three-base hit was his first of the season.


      The Cardinals' win Friday over Chicago garnered them the season series over the Cubs at 9-5 with two games left. The Cardinals are 42-27 in the division and 44-35 against everybody else.


By The Numbers:


4-0—Records for both LHP Trever Miller and RHP Blake Hawksworth, a rookie. Their ERAs through Sept. 18 were 1.77 and 2.36, respectively.


Quote To Note:


"It's better to do it right now than at the end of this month, when we're going into something that hopefully we're going into."

—RHP Ryan Franklin, on the Cardinals' week-long swoon a couple of weeks before the playoffs would begin.


Roster Report


      RHP Kyle McClellan has had three outings of two hitless innings against the Cubs this year. In his career against the mostly righthanded-hitting Cubs, McClellan has fanned 19 in 16 2/3 innings, including four in two innings Friday.


      RHP John Smoltz had his fifth straight good start since being plucked from Boston's scrap heap. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 27 hitters he faced even though he had to throw 108 pitches over six innings.


      "I don't feel I'm on an audition," said Smoltz. "They got me here to pitch and pitch big games."


      RHP Kyle Lohse, who had been plagued by a recurrence of his forearm problem, threw a bullpen session and is targeted to pitch either Monday or Tuesday in Houston. Lohse is 5-8 and hasn't been able to pitch with any consistency, or much good health, for almost three months. But manager Tony La Russa said, "Kyle is definitely in our plans."


Medical Watch:


3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique muscle) was injured Sept. 12 and did not play Sept. 13-16. He is out indefinitely.


RHP Kyle Lohse (sore right forearm) will miss his Sept. 19 start.

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