ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matt Holliday long has been a thorn in the side of Chicago Cubs starter Travis Wood.
Holliday hit his third home run in two games and broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run single, rallying the St. Louis Cardinals past the Chicago Cubs 9-6 on Sunday.
Holliday is 13 for 37 (.351) against Wood with four home runs.
Chicago took an early 5-0 lead before Holliday began the comeback for the Cardinals. He hit his 16th homer in the fourth off Wood.
“Everything was rolling pretty good there and I got 2-0 on Holliday and I was just trying to get back into the count and he hit a homer,” Wood said. “That was all the damage they had done there and I kind of lost it there in the fifth. I couldn’t find the strike zone and they made me pay. They put the bat on the ball and manufactured some runs.
“I wasn’t as crisp today. That fifth just got to me. I was a little sporadic, wasn’t able to pound the strike zone and they made me pay for it.”
John Lackey pitched 6 1-3 innings in his sixth start for St. Louis since coming over from Boston on July 31. The right-hander allowed five runs, two earned, and nine hits.
Lackey issued a leadoff walk in the second and made a throwing error that allowed a run to score. Chris Coghlan hit a two-run single and Luis Valbuena, who had three hits, added a two-run homer to make it 5-0.
“We were able to get Woody a five spot early in the ball game and he was actually pitching pretty well,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “We had a couple of plays today that quite frankly that probably could have been made that weren’t. We extended innings a little bit and we didn’t continue to tack on runs to keep us where we needed to be.”
Holliday had three hits and four RBIs for the Cardinals, who began the day one game behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong homered but left in the top of the eighth after falling backward when he tried to catch a popup in short right field. He appeared to hurt his head and shoulder, and was replaced by Pete Kozma.
Kozma, in his third stint with St. Louis this season, led off the bottom half with a double. It was his second hit in four at-bats this year.
After failing to get down two bunt attempts, Daniel Descalso got the third one down and beat Carlos Villanueva’s throw to first for a single. With the bases loaded and two outs, Holliday singled off the foot of Villanueva (5-7) to drive in two runs.
Jhonny Peralta’s third single scored the final run in the three-run eighth.
“There’s nothing positive out of this,” Villanueva said. “What needs to be addressed has already been addressed and we take nothing from it. We take a loss and we’re not happy about it.
“Our goal down the stretch is to break as many hearts as possible and we play a lot of teams that are in contention now and that’s what we’re going to learn from – winning those games. We’ve got a month left so we’ll see how we do.”
Pat Neshek (7-1) earned the win with one inning of work. Trevor Rosenthal got his 40th save in 45 chances with a scoreless ninth.
Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo (tightness in lower back) was out of the lineup again. Rizzo, second in the NL with 30 homers, has not played since Tuesday in Cincinnati, where his back tightened up during a 50-minute rain delay. He is expected back Monday.
Cardinals: RHPs Michael Wacha (shoulder) and Jason Motte (shoulder) were scheduled to pitch Sunday night for Double-A Springfield. Both pitchers are on rehab assignments.
Cubs: Jacob Turner (4-8, 5.84 ERA) will make his second start at home Monday against Milwaukee. The St. Louis native is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three appearances with Chicago since he was acquired from Miami.
Cardinals: Lance Lynn (14-8, 2.79) starts at home Monday afternoon against Pittsburgh. Lynn’s start will be his team-leading 28th of the season and his fourth against the Pirates. With a victory, Lynn would join Detroit ace Max Scherzer as the only pitchers with 15 wins in each of the last three seasons.
Cubs: Chicago optioned Zac Rosscup to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. Rosscup was available for both games Saturday as the Cubs’ 26th man. He will be back Monday when team rosters can expand.