Cardinals beat Pirates 1-0 on Holliday's first-inning double

News-DemocratApril 26, 2014 

— There were plenty of heroes for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night, and they needed every one of them.

Matt Holliday had an RBI double in the first inning and Shelby Miller threw 5 2/3 shutout innings as the Cardinals defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 in the opener of a six-game homestand.

Holliday had three hits and a walk, while Miller (2-2) defeated the Pirates for the first time in six career decisions. He allowed three hits, walked four and struck out four.

"We got out of some big situations in the game," Miller said. "I threw some backdoor cutters ... and mixed it up a little differently. The defense made some huge plays for me, and I think that was the ultimate outcome for the game, especially that double play (Jhonny) Peralta had."

Shortstop Peralta had a stellar game with a single and a double to snap a dreadful 0-for-22 slump. He also made two above-average defensive plays, none bigger than in the third.

Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out, thanks in part to Miller's third walk of the game. Reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen then grounded a smash up the middle on which Peralta made a diving stop to his left and began a 6-4-3 double play.

"I feel pretty good at the position and I felt pretty good today," Peralta said. "McCutchen hit the ball pretty good to the middle of the field, so I tried to play more to second base and we got it."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Peralta seemed light on his feet Friday. Peralta made another nice defensive play on an eighth-inning rundown that nailed Starling Marte at third base.

"He was moving nice today," said Matheny, who was particularly impressed with the double play. "That was a tough turn. Any time you turn a double play on a player like McCutchen, you know, one, he's hit the ball hard, and two, you're making a good, clean exchange. Kolten (Wong) does a real nice job around the bag."

The Cardinals got tremendous work from their bullpen as Pat Neshek, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal blanked the Pirates over the final 3 1/3 innings. Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save.

Martinez worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth by striking out Pedro Alvarez and Chris Stewart.

"I don't know if you can get much tougher (of a situation)," Matheny said. "You look where we were in that lineup and how we got there. He's done that a couple of times now, where he's able to focus in and get the job done with way above-average stuff. That just shows his makeup."

Matt Carpenter led off the first with a bunt single against Gerrit Cole (2-2). After Jon Jay rolled out to first to send Carpenter to second, Holliday came through with his 12th RBI of the season. After a slow start, Holliday has lifted his average to .271.

McCutchen had a one-out double off left fielder Holliday's glove in the sixth. Miller retired Alvarez on a short fly to left before being replaced by Pat Neshek.

Neshek stranded McCutchen by getting Russell Martin on a grounder to third base.

Yadier Molina had an eighth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, which tied a career-high set in 2007.

Pittsburgh won an appeal in the bottom of the third.

With Jay at first, Holliday hit a single to right. Jay was called safe at third base despite a strong throw from Travis Snider, but he was then ruled out after an appeal that lasted 2 minutes, 36 seconds.

"Our people contacted us and said it most likely was going to be overturned," Matheny said. "I love Jon Jay's aggressiveness there. We're always trying to push first to third. It took a very good throw, which they did. We had an idea they were going to change it."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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