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Cardinals vs. Mets, March 30

The good news is that it didn't seem to take long for Cardinals clean-up man Matt Holliday to find his stroke after his return from an injury induced absence. He pounded a pair of homers for the Birds as they downed the Mets 9-4.

The bad news is that backup catcher Jason LaRue, playing in the place of injured starter Yadier Molina, had to leave the game after a collision at the plate with Mets left fielder Jason Bay.

LaRue had some swelling in the hand and was taken for an MRI the results of which were not released Tuesday. But if the hand is broken or his wrist is jammed, the Cardinals could find themselves in a sticky situation behind the plate.

Molina is not expected to play in any more games in spring training and his availability for opening day is in doubt. Meanwhile, third string catcher Matt Pagnozzi doesn't have much more than a cup of coffee's worth of major league experience. He has three career at bats in the big leagues with no hits.

Holliday, who was 2-for-3 with a walk, wasn't the only Cardinals player to wield a hot bat Tuesday. Felipe Lopez was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, Brendan Ryan was 2-for-4 and Allen Craig was 2-for-5.

Chris Carpenter started the game for the Birds and the results were perplexing. Five innings, check. Four hits, check. One earned run, check. SIX walks. Six? and a hit batsman? What's up with that?