(BaseballStL) – In their final home stand of the regular season, the Cardinals started off with a monstrous statement – the second longest home run in Busch Stadium III history – while pushing toward the playoffs on the arm of their ace.
Matt Holliday blasted a 467-foot homer into Big Mac Land to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the first. The home run was just two feet shorter than his shot off Ryan Dempster and the Cubs back on July 20, 2012, which stands as the longest home run in Busch III.
“I thought it was still going up when it hit Big Mac Land. He hit that as hard as ball has been hit in a long, long time,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Holliday echoed his manager in that knew he hit the ball well, but he was more concerned about handing Adam Wainwright the lead.
“He’s really a great pitcher when he has the lead,” Holliday said, “He’s always a great pitcher. In my experience, if he gets a three run lead, he’s hard to beat.”
Wainwright yielded only one run while throwing eight innings. The Colorado Rockies lone score came as Nolan Arenado hit a double off of a Wainwright curveball. The Redbirds’ ace said it was probably the best swing he’s ever seen someone put on his ‘famous’ pitch.
Friday night’s performance continued Wainwright’s resurgence after his complete-game victory in Milwaukee. Prior to that game, he had allowed 12 earned runs over three starts.
“I knew I was close for a couple of starts,” Wainwright added. “When I’m cruising I’m ahead in the count, throwing all my pitches for strikes, trusting my defense and pounding the bottom of the zone.”
With the win, the Cardinals move to 2.5 games over the Pirates and 4.0 games up on the Brewers. Both Holliday and Wainwright admitted to feeling an extra push on the cool Friday night in September in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.
“This is where we want to be. We’ve got a lead and we’re ahead in the division,” Holliday said, “Whether we hit a wall in Cincinnati or they pitched really well, we just didn’t have the intensity that we had in Milwaukee. Just go play hard. That’s all you can do.”
“There’s always a little bump in September and October. You definitely have a little more adrenaline,” Wainwright continued, “The cool air [Friday] gets you ready for October.”