Share This Page

Holliday homer helps Cardinals even series

| Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 10:57 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is greeted by teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning against the Pirates on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Game 4 of the National League Division Series at PNC Park.

The St. Louis Cardinals hadn't hit a home run at PNC Park all season until Carlos Beltran belted one Sunday to tie Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

So it made sense that Pirates starter Charlie Morton didn't give Beltran a pitch over the plate in his second and third appearances of Game 4 on Monday afternoon.

Especially with Matt Holliday batting .167 in the series.

After walking Beltran to start the sixth inning, Morton delivered a 90 mph sinker down in the zone, Holliday drove the 2-2 pitch 417 feet over the center field fence.

Holliday's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and was the difference in the Cardinals' 2-1 victory over the Pirates that evened the NLDS and sent the best-of-five series back to Busch Stadium.

“It was great to see Matt come through right there,” Beltran said. “When they walked me and he hit that ball, it was a great feeling in the dugout.”

Holliday had snapped an 0-for-8 streak over the previous two games with a single in the first inning, and said he would “be surprised” if the Pirates were pitching around Beltran with no outs.

Manager Clint Hurdle promised that the Pirates had no plans to walk Beltran to get to Holliday, who batted .300 with 22 home runs and 94 RBI in the regular season.

“Holliday barreled the one ball,” said Hurdle, who managed Holliday with the Colorado Rockies. “(Morton) wasn't trying to pitch around Beltran. We had Beltran up three of the times with nobody on. Just couldn't get the ball where he wanted to.”

While St. Louis starter Michael Wacha was in the midst of throwing a no-hitter, Morton had given up only two hits to that point. He had gotten out of a jam in the fifth, striking out Matt Carpenter with baserunners on second and third to end the inning.

Morton put himself in another fix in the sixth by walking Beltran on four pitches, none of which were close to being strikes.

“I feel like I'm swinging the bat well,” Beltran said. “Maybe they don't want me to beat them, you know?”

Who could blame the Pirates, given that Beltran is 4 for 12 with two homers and six RBI in the series?

“We were looking for ways to get runners on base,” Holliday said. “I don't take that personally or anything. I'm glad Carlos was on base.”

Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez broke up Wacha's no-hit bid in the eighth, pounding a 438-foot shot to cut it to 2-1.

Afterward, Beltran reminded everyone that Holliday is a career .311 hitter, whereas Beltran is at .283.

“So actually,” Beltran said, “he's a better hitter than I am.”

Beltran also noted that there is a reason Holliday is hitting in the No. 3 hole in the Cardinals' lineup, a position reserved for players who hit for average and power.

“It was fun to watch him being able to come through like that,” Beltran said. “To be able to come through with that homer, that was huge.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.