ST. LOUIS -- After spinning away from a high, inside pitch tossed by Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva in the eighth inning, Matt Holliday got even on the next pitch. Holliday sent a smash off the leg of Villanueva into left field to snap a 6-6 tie and send the Cardinals to a 9-6 win in a game they had trailed 5-0 after two innings.
Holliday has driven in nine runs in the last two games, knocking in one with his 16th home run in the fourth inning and another with a double in the fifth before his two RBI hit in the eighth.
Pete Kozma, just recalled from Memphis and then thrust into the game when second baseman Kolten Wong was injured chasing a popup, doubled to lead off the eighth. Daniel Descalso failed on two bunt attempts but got the third one down, to Villanueva's right. The Cubs' right-hander looked at third but that glance cost him as Descalso beat the throw to first.
Pinch hitter Matt Adams, rested in a 4-for-32 nosedive, struck out and Matt Carpenter was walked intentionally to get to rookie Randal Grichuk, who also struck out.
But Holliday, five for seven over the last two games, delivered on a 1-2 pitch. Jhonny Peralta knocked in his second run of the game with another single and the Cardinals were on their way to reclaiming a share of first place in the National League Central Division, with pace-setting Milwaukee in well in arrears in a game in San Francisco.
The Cardinals won the last two games of the series to gain a split with the Cubs. "We needed this win," Holliday said. "We couldn't afford to lose three out of four."
Holliday is hitting .267 with 78 RBIs after his latest rush but manager Mike Matheny said, "I don't know of anybody that's had more hard outs than this guy.
"He's not getting the results but he keeps figuring out a way to get it done. He's getting big hits for us but now is when you kind of see the cream rise."
Pat Neshek picked up his seventh win in eight decisions and Trevor Rosenthal, who walked the leadoff man in the ninth, gained his 40th save.
Wong, who toppled backward and hit his head as he tried, in vain, to make a catch of a ball in the sun, underwent concussion tests, which he passed. He said he felt sore and a little drowsy but he doesn't appear to be seriously injured.
"I was a little dizzy ... and for precautionary sake, they just took me out," Wong said. "I guess I passed the concussion tests. Right now, I've just got a stiff neck and a little bit of a heavy head."
Matheny said, "I'm sure he'll be a little sore 1/8Monday3/8. We'll probably bring the doctors back and re-evaluate him. But it was good news on the initial report."
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