Wacha keys Cards' victory over Mets

News-DemocratJune 17, 2014 

— It was a milestone night for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Matt Holliday collected his 1,000th career RBI and Nick Greenwood became the first Cardinals pitcher to win his debut in 26 years as St. Louis skipped past the New York Mets 6-2.

Holliday's fifth-inning single scored Jon Jay to highlight a four-run outburst against Jacob deGrom (0-4). Holliday's first RBI came at Busch Stadium II on April 18, 2004.

"It means I've had an opportunity to be healthy and (have) played long enough to get it," Holliday said. "I've played with a lot of really good players who got on base in front of me. I've driven in 1,000 runs in the major leagues, which not a lot of guys have done.

"As a kid, if you had told me I had a chance to play in the major leagues, first of all, I would have been thrilled. Then to get a chance to play this long and get 1,000 RBIs in the major leagues, that's something special to me."

Holliday is the 277th player to reach 1,000 RBIs. The closest active player to Holliday is the Mets' David Wright with 909.

"It's a great accomplishment," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It seemed like when he came in, he was kind of thinking about it a little bit. He's pretty stoic most of the time, but when I mentioned something to him, he had a big smile.

"He's a baseball fan. He loves the game. He realizes there's not a lot of people that have been able to reach a milestone like that. I think it took him back a little bit. And when the fans stop and acknowledge what you've done, all these guys, it means so much to them."

Greenwood, a left-hander, relieved Carlos Martinez to start the fifth with the Cardinals' lead still just 2-1.

Greenwood walked his first batter, Curtis Granderson, then got Daniel Murphy on a 6-3 double play. He then retired eight in a row before allowing singles to Murphy and Wright.

Matheny then summoned Randy Choate, and Choate and Seth Maness recorded the final five outs of the game. Maness set down four in a row to earn his first save.

Greenwood, 26, received a standing ovation as he walked off the field with the Cardinals holding a 6-1 lead. He became the first Cardinals pitcher to win in his major-league debut since John Costello on June 2, 1988, in Philadelphia.

"It was a pretty unbelievable night from start to finish," said Greenwood, who also got his first career at-bat and grounded out in the fifth. "Getting up and warming up to come into the game ... I did walk the first guy, and obviously I didn't want to do that. But I got the double play and was able to calm down a little bit.

Matheny credited Greenwood for the perseverance he's displayed during his minor-league career, which began in 2009.

"It's been a long road to get here," said Greenwood, whose contract was purchased from Class AAA Memphis on Sunday. "When I got the call (Saturday), that was kind of the start of it. Then realizing I was going to come into the game and make an actual debut, I was thinking about the grind, the struggles, the ups and downs.

"It's awesome to win your first game. Words can't describe it."

The Cardinals offense banged out 12 hits, all coming in the first five innings. Allen Craig had three hits and two RBIs, while Jon Jay, Holliday, Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta had two hits apiece.

Jay, batting second in the order, had a double and scored three runs. Adams legged out his third triple of the season in the big fifth.

Jay, who began the season as the backup to Peter Bourjos, has seized the starting job in center field and is batting .307.

"I'm just trying to help the team win every day," said the underspoken Jay. "I don't look at numbers. I'm worried about getting to October. I've hit everywhere in the lineup in my career. I enjoy playing, so I'm just trying to go out there and have fun and win some games."

Martinez made the start for Adam Wainwright, who is battling elbow tendinitis. Martinez allowed one run (unearned) on two hits in four innings, with four walks and three strikeouts.

With the Cardinals leading 2-1 in the fourth, Martinez pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by getting deGrom on a popup to second baseman Kolten Wong and striking out Eric Young Jr.

"I felt good overall," Martinez said. "I was able to battle and keep the team in the game. I made a couple of mistakes, a couple of walks. But overall, I thought I was pretty good."

Martinez was still throwing 98 mph in his final inning.

"Being able to have Carlos and Nick step in and do what they did, I don't know if you could ask for any more when we walked in today," Matheny said. "Carlos did a nice job of getting himself out of trouble. He made some nice pitches; he had a nice mix."

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

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