Pujols and Holliday look to help the Cardinals, who are running away in the NL Central, win for the ninth time in 10 games Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pujols hit his major league-leading 42nd homer for St. Louis (78-55) against the Brewers on Wednesday, but it was Holliday that delivered the decisive blow.
After Pujols drew his major league-leading 40th intentional walk, Holliday hit a three-run homer to break a 4-all tie in the seventh inning, and the Cardinals hung on to win 7-6 to remain 10 1/2 games up on the Chicago Cubs.
“I’m going to anticipate Albert being walked if Babe Ruth is hitting behind him,” Holliday said. “I mean, 42 home runs on Sept. 1. I think he’s the best player of all time.”
While Pujols is putting up Babe Ruth-like numbers, leading the majors in runs (104), on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.673), the Cardinals might not be where they are without Holliday.
The left-fielder has homered in three of his last five games, and is batting .371 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs in 35 games since being acquired from Oakland on July 24. Most of that damage has come at Busch Stadium, where Holliday is batting .403 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 20 games.
While the Cardinals are a major league-best 26-9 since the acquisition of Holliday, they’ve been even better with one of their top three pitchers on the mound.
Since the start of July, St. Louis is 30-4 in starts by Adam Wainwright(notes), Joel Pineiro(notes) and scheduled starter Chris Carpenter(notes) (14-3, 2.20 ERA). With Tuesday’s victory, the Cardinals won for the 11th straight time with Pineiro on the mound.
St. Louis has been winning with such regularity, something strange happened the last time Carpenter took the mound - the team lost.
Carpenter gave up two runs and five hits in six innings of a 4-3 loss to Houston on Thursday, but didn’t receive a decision. It snapped his string of six consecutive starts with a victory.
Although Carpenter didn’t get the win, the right-hander is still 9-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 11 outings since July 5. Like Holliday, Carpenter has also been at his best at Busch Stadium, going 7-1 with a 1.86 ERA in nine starts there.
In his only start of the season against Milwaukee on May 25, Carpenter retired the first 18 batters and ended up allowing two hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks in eight innings of a 1-0, 10-inning loss.
After spending more than two months on the disabled list with an injured triceps muscle, Bush allowed five runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-5 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday. He looked sharp through the first four innings before falling apart in the fifth, when he gave up four runs.
“As frustrating as the results are, I’m trying to focus on the fact that I felt healthy, I felt good, I wasn’t tentative,” Bush told the Brewers’ official Web site. “From here on, I’m going to start pitching better.”
This will be the right-hander’s first start of the season against the Cardinals, whom he is 2-4 with a 6.06 ERA in six starts against.