Monday, January 26, 2015

Cardinals enjoy Holliday

MATT HOLLIDAY is keeping quiet about his recent hitting surge.

However, his St. Louis teammates are more than happy to praise him after Holliday hit the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning yesterday to rally the Cardinals to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

St. Louis moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time this season with its third straight win. The Cardinals are one game ahead of Milwaukee, which lost to the Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh dropped three games back.

Kolten Wong started the three-run rally in the seventh with a two-run, pinch-hit homer to tie the game 4-all.

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Holliday, who is 7-for-11 with three homers and 12 RBI in his last three games, then followed with a single to left to bring in Jon Jay with the winning run.

"I'm OK with him going off all month long," St. Louis starting pitcher Lance Lynn said. "This [three] game stretch, I'd like for it to be like to a 28- to 45-game stretch. If he can keep doing what he's doing, that's a big boost."

Holliday has driven in three runs or more in each of his last three games, the first St. Louis player to do so since Scott Rolen from Aug. 11-13, 2002.

"He loves to come up with the big hit and he got it again," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (7-5), who gave up a two-run double to Holliday in third, was also impressed.

"The guy is just unbelievable," Cole said. "He's probably the strongest human being in the world. He just continues to get it done when he needs to get it done."

Holliday drove in the game-winning run with a two-run single in the eighth inning of a 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. He also had two homers in the second game of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

In NL games

* At Miami, Giancarlo Stanton hit his 34th home run and the Marlins scored three runs in the eighth inning to beat the New York Mets, 9-6.

* At Chicago, Welington Castillo homered and drove in three runs, Luis Valbuena also hit a home run and the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-2. Rookie sensation Jorge Soler had two doubles in his home debut for the Cubs.

* At San Diego, Cory Spangenberg had a two-run single for his first big-league hit and Tyson Ross (13-12) pitched six strong innings to lead the Padres to a 3-1 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

* At Denver, Charlie Blackmon lined a two-out single in the ninth inning off reliever Sergio Romo, helping the Colorado Rockies beat San Francisco, 10-9, and stop the Giants' six-game win streak on a long day at Coors Field.

Earlier in the day, the Giants broke away from a tie and beat Colorado, 4-2, in a game that resumed after it was suspended May 22 in the sixth inning because of rain.

Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer for the Giants. Pence also came up big hours earlier, when his tiebreaking double in the eighth led the Giants in the resumption.

* At Los Angeles, Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera hit solo homers and Denard Span homered twice as the Washington Nationals downed the Dodgers, 6-4.

In AL games

* At St. Petersburg, Matt Joyce had an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to help the Tampa Bay Rays salvage a split of a four-game series by beating the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.

* At Baltimore, Joe Mauer drove in four runs, Phil Hughes (15-9) held the Orioles without an earned run over eight innings and the Minnesota Twins claimed 6-4 win.

* At Cleveland, David Price bounced back from an alarming start and Miguel Cabrera homered twice as the Tigers rolled to a 12-1 win to slow the Indians' climb.

Price (13-10) gave up one run and eight hits in seven innings. The lefthander was coming off a troubling loss to New York in which he allowed nine consecutive hits in one inning and eight runs over two. Price called it "probably the worst game I've ever had in my life." But he was more like himself against the sleepy Indians, who had won six of seven to get within 3 1/2 games of first in the AL Central.

Meanwhile, the Indians activated veteran Jason Giambi from the disabled list after he was sidelined for nearly 3 months.

* At Oakland, Adam Dunn provided instant pop for the struggling Athletics, hitting a towering, two-run homer in his first at-bat to highlight a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners in a matchup of playoff contenders. Acquired a day earlier in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, Dunn became the 12th player in Oakland history to homer in his first at-bat with the team.

* At Kansas City, Salvador Perez homered and drove in three runs, and the Royals beat the Texas Rangers, 4-3, to snap a three-game losing streak.


* The Houston Astros fired manager Bo Porter, saying the dismissal had less to do with the team's 59-79 record than the need for "new direction" and a "united message throughout the entire organization." Porter was in his second season with the Astros and was succeeded by interim manager Tom Lawless, who worked in Houston's minor league system. Lawless' first game in charge is tonight at home against the first-place Los Angeles Angels. Bench coach Dave Trembley also was let go.

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