Holliday Goes 4-for-5 With RBI Double In St. Louis Debut

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

HILADELPHIA -- Matt Holliday hopped off a train, joined his new team and made an immediate contribution before making good contact.

Holliday went 4 for 5 with one RBI to back Joel Pineiro, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-1 on Friday night in a matchup of division leaders.

Acquired from Oakland for a package of prospects earlier in the day, Holliday had two soft hits and a stolen base to help the Cardinals build a 5-0 lead. He ripped a double in the seventh and got his second infield single in the ninth.

"I was lucky, but I'll take them," Holliday said after tying a career high with his 15th four-hit performance. "How many times do you hit the ball hard and make outs?"

The three-time All-Star outfielder significantly bolsters St. Louis' lineup for the stretch drive. With Pineiro on the mound, the NL Central-leading Cardinals didn't need much offense.

Pineiro (9-9) tossed six scoreless innings, allowing four hits. He's given up three earned runs or less in nine straight starts, lowering his ERA to 2.95.

"He's been very consistent," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "His record is deceiving."

Julio Lugo homered and tripled in his first game with St. Louis and Rick Ankiel went 3 for 4 with four RBIs.

The NL East-leading Phillies lost for just the third time in 18 games. They entered with a comfortable 6 1/2-game cushion in the division.

Philadelphia starter J.A. Happ (7-1) gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings, breaking a string of six consecutive sharp outings. The rookie left-hander has been mentioned prominently in trade talks with Toronto regarding All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay.

"It was frustrating to say the least," Happ said. "You feel like you're executing, but the balls are dropping."

Holliday was in New York for Oakland's series against the Yankees when he learned of the trade. He rode public transportation with his wife and two sons to Philadelphia to avoid traffic, and arrived at the ballpark in plenty of time to play left field and bat cleanup behind Albert Pujols.

"It's a blessing to be here and to be able to contribute," Holliday said.

Holliday bounced a single to third his first time up and stole second. He scored on Ankiel's two-out single to left.

Holliday drove in the first run during a four-run sixth with a bloop single. After Mark DeRosa lined a single leading off, Pujols looped a hit just out of second baseman Chase Utley's reach. Holliday dropped his single down the right-field line to score DeRosa. Ryan Ludwick followed with an RBI single, but Holliday was thrown out at third. Yadier Molina's broken-bat single scored Ludwick before Ankiel's RBI double made it 5-0.

Jayson Werth scored Philadelphia's only run on a wild pitch in the seventh. He started the inning with a single off Kyle McClellan.

Three of the top four hitters in St. Louis' lineup weren't with the team a month ago. Lugo, acquired from Boston on Wednesday, led off and played second base. DeRosa, acquired from Cleveland late last month, batted second and played third base.

Holliday had a tougher time in the outfield than he did at the plate. He mistimed his jump at the warning track on Ryan Howard's shot to left in the fourth and the ball went over his glove for a double.

Holliday spent his first five seasons with Colorado and helped the Rockies reach the World Series in 2007 when he was runner-up to Jimmy Rollins for NL MVP. Holliday fell short of lofty expectations in his only season with the A's, batting .286 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs.

The Cardinals are thrilled to have him.

"It changes the complexion of our lineup, maybe takes some pressure off some guys," DeRosa said. "Putting another monster in the middle of the lineup calms everything down."

Game notes
The game was delayed 48 minutes because of rain in the top of the second. ... The Cardinals sent INF Brian Barden to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Holliday. ... The Phillies had their 42nd sellout in 50 home games. ... Happ's other loss came in his major league debut against the Mets in 2007. It was his only appearance that season.


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