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Chicago at St. Louis

Scoreboard
Chi. Cubs (75-71)200000000270
St. Louis (86-62) «000020001360

Holliday's walk-off homer lifts Cardinals over Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday's scuffles are over. Same goes for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Holliday homered off Aaron Heilman leading off the bottom of the ninth inning for a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday that reduced the Cardinals' magic number for clinching the NL Central to six.

The Cardinals had lost five of six, ensuring they wouldn't be able to celebrate during a nine-game homestand that ends Sunday.

The team's slump and his personal struggles were no big deal for Holliday even if he had failed in the ninth. He was 6 for 29 overall and had not appeared to be seeing the ball well while going 1 for 9 the previous two games against the Florida Marlins.

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

Holliday's liner off a 3-1 pitch from Heilman (3-4) landed in the Cardinals' bullpen beyond the right field wall for 24th homer this season, his third career game-winning homer and second this year. The Cardinals are 9-5 against the second-place Cubs, clinching the season series for the first time since 2004.

Heilman was happy with the location on a fastball away. If not the result.

"Evidently it's never a good pitch when it goes over the fence," Heilman said. "It's a tough way to lose."

Holliday has 13 homers and 49 RBI in 50 games with the Cardinals. He had 11 homers, 54 RBI and hit .286 in 93 games with Oakland.

Manager Tony La Russa was not surprised when Holliday came through.

"He just hit it absolutely perfect, as pure as you can hit it," he said. "If you hit great all the time, you hit .400 or .500, and nobody does that."

Ted Lilly allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings for Chicago, his seventh straight strong start since coming off the disabled list from a shoulder injury. He's 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA over that stretch and his NL-high 44 wins the last three seasons is one more than Cardinals 18-game winner Adam Wainwright, who pitches Sunday in the series finale.

Lilly said his changeup betrayed him in the fifth, on Ryan Ludwick's single on an 0-2 count, and again on Mark DeRosa's RBI triple.

Ryan Franklin (3-3) struck out two and picked off Ryan Theriot, his first since August of 2007, to end the ninth. Kyle McClellan struck out four in the seventh and eighth for St. Louis, allowing only a walk.

With one out in the first John Smoltz gave up consecutive doubles by Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez for a 2-0 lead. Lee's 64 RBI since July 1 leads the majors and Ramirez has 21 RBI in 21 games.

"We had swung the bats good the last few games at home and I said 'Well, we might add five or six,"' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Their pitching staff settled down and did a nice job."

Smoltz, pitching on 10 days' rest after a bout of shoulder tendinitis, allowed only three singles in his last five innings to keep it close. He walked three, one intentionally, after a 28-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio in his first four outings with St. Louis.

Smoltz is 15-5 for his career against the Cubs, but has not beaten them since April 5, 1997. He said he was too pumped up at the start of the game.

"Very rarely do I get that anxious," Smoltz said. "With the crowd and the game, sometimes you get a little out of whack."

Lilly retired the first nine hitters in order and had allowed one hit before the fifth when DeRosa hit an RBI triple and scored on Brendan Ryan's sacrifice fly to tie it. DeRosa had been 3 for 22 in the first six games of a nine-game homestand, and 2 for 11 against Lilly.

Attendance of 45,959 was the Cardinals' 30th sellout.

Notes

  • After this series, the Cubs won't play their biggest rival in St. Louis until a three-game series Aug. 13-15, 2010.
  • Smoltz took the turn of Kyle Lohse, still battling mechanical issues from a forearm injury in late May. Lohse threw a bullpen session and is on track to start early next week in Houston.
  • Milton Bradley, removed from Thursday's game with left knee inflammation, was not in the Cubs' lineup. Piniella said Bradley could play Saturday night.
  • Cubs reliever Angel Guzman, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 8 because of a triceps injury, halted a bullpen session after 12 pitches.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Matt Holliday high fives Mark DeRosa after the slugger goes deep for a walk-off homer in the ninth. (AP)
Matt Holliday high fives Mark DeRosa after the slugger goes deep for a walk-off homer in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Chicago

T. Lilly
IP 7.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 0
K 6
 
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS5020031 .290
Kosuke Fukudome, CF-RF3110111 .257
Derrek Lee, 1B4111012 .304
Aramis Ramirez, 3B2011201 .322
Micah Hoffpauir, RF3000003 .233
   a- Aaron Miles, PH0000000 .181
    Sam Fuld, CF0000000 .260
Geovany Soto, C4000023 .225
Jeff Baker, 2B4020001 .301
Bobby Scales, LF3000121 .240
Ted Lilly, P2000003 .091
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
   b- Jake Fox, PH1000010 .282
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
Totals31272410  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Hoffpauir in the 8th
b-struck out for Gregg in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kosuke Fukudome (32, Smoltz), Derrek Lee (33, Smoltz), Aramis Ramirez (14, Smoltz)
SH - Aaron Miles (4), Ted Lilly (5)
RBI - Derrek Lee (103), Aramis Ramirez (59)
PK - Ryan Theriot (3, Franklin)
Team LOB - 8
Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly 7.2522060 3.02
Kevin Gregg 0.1000000 4.68
Aaron Heilman (L,3-4)0111001 4.23
HBP - Lugo (by Ted Lilly)
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 110-84, Kevin Gregg 4-2, Aaron Heilman 5-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 5-12, Kevin Gregg 1-0
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 29, Kevin Gregg 1, Aaron Heilman 1
St. Louis Cardinals
Julio Lugo, 2B3010000 .291
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Colby Rasmus, CF4010012 .257
Albert Pujols, 1B4000003 .330
Matt Holliday, LF4111012 .311
Ryan Ludwick, RF3110010 .272
Mark DeRosa, 3B3111000 .255
Yadier Molina, C3010001 .285
Brendan Ryan, SS2001011 .288
John Smoltz, P2000020 .077
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B1000000 .301
Totals2936306  
a-grounded out for McClellan in the 8th
Batting
3B - Mark DeRosa (1, Lilly)
HR - Matt Holliday (24, Heilman)
SF - Brendan Ryan (3)
RBI - Matt Holliday (103), Mark DeRosa (71), Brendan Ryan (32)
SB - Julio Lugo 2 (7, 2nd base off Lilly/Soto, 3rd base off Lilly/Soto)
Team LOB - 4
St. Louis Cardinals
John Smoltz 6622340 6.22
Kyle McClellan 2000140 2.87
Ryan Franklin (W,3-3) 1100020 1.89
IBB - Scales by John Smoltz
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 108-65, Kyle McClellan 33-21, Ryan Franklin 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 5-9, Kyle McClellan 2-0
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 27, Kyle McClellan 7, Ryan Franklin 3
Game Information
Attendance - 45959
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Kerwin Danley