It wasn't pretty. But it counts as an important victory as the Cardinals struggled all night before finally overcoming the Pirates 6-4.
Chris Carpenter had poor control early in the game and allowed back-to-back homers for the first time since 2005 -- although one barely snuck out of the stadium and the other hit the foul pole. The Cardinals were down 4-2 midway through the game and it looked like there was little the offense could do with the Buckos' no-name pitching staff...
But that new guy Matt Holliday, well... He's pretty darn good. After Khalil Greene doubled home Julio Lugo in the seventh to tie the game, Holliday got on base in the eighth, then stole second and took third on the wild throw into centerfield. Holliday scored when Ryan Ludwick was able to inside out a sacrifice fly to right field.
Colby Rasmus, mired in an awful slump, golfed another sacrifice fly in the ninth for an insurance run and the new look Cardinals picked up the win with runs in each of the last three innings. After his rough start, allowing four runs in the first three innings, Carpenter looked like a different guy after the third as he shut down Pittsburgh through the eighth inning to improve to 11-3.
Meanwhile, finally playing a team with a pulse, the Cubs were finally beaten. The Rockies knocked the Wee Bears out of their first place tie with the Cardinals and the sun just seems a little brighter this morning.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Holliday was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and a pair of RBIs. In addition to his one-man rally in the eighth, Holliday hit a homer in the first to keep the Cardinals in the game through the Pirates early outburst.
Lowlight: Rick Ankiel was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts as he is still struggling to find consistency with his stroke.