PHOENIX -- Something about Trevor Cahill brings out the best in Matt Holliday, although do not ask Holliday to explain it.
Holliday's two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning -- his third home run in nine career at-bats against Cahill -- broke a 1-1 tie Tuesday and led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
"I think I do have a few off of him. Sometimes that just happens. He's a good pitcher, I don't know why," Holliday said.
"When I first hit it, I was like 'Don't catch it, don't catch it. All right, get over the fence.' That's just kind of what you're thinking in your head."
Holliday hit two solo homers off Cahill in 2010, when Cahill was with Oakland. The two were teammates with the A's for four months in 2009 before Holliday was sent to the Cardinals in a July trade-deadline deal.
"He's probably the strongest guy I've seen," Cahill said. "If he gets the barrel on it, it is going to go out, whether he's on one foot or a toe. Every team I'm on, he's always killed us. He can probably swing with one arm and hit it out. He's just kind of a freak athlete."
Holliday lined a low changeup into the left field seats one out after Cahill hit Jon Jay with a pitch to open the sixth.
"That was a pretty good pitch, too. He went down and golfed that ball out of the air," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Holliday. "Typically you're not going to get hurt when you're down in the zone like that, but Matt's got some exceptional ability. That was obviously the offensive turning point for us."
Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and Jay homered off reliever Heath Bell in a three-run seventh inning to help Jaime Garcia win his first start of the season. Garcia gave up one run and two hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Cahill, who lost 15 pounds after modifying his diet in the offseason, wound up allowing five hits and three runs while striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings.
"I kind of got tired at the end and let stuff unravel," Cahill said.
St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter had two doubles, giving him three for the season, and Jay scored twice. Kozma had two hits, including an infield single.
Miguel Montero's leadoff home run in the second inning was all the scoring the D-backs could get off Garcia and three St. Louis relievers. After Garcia walked the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth inning, Edward Mujica struck out pinch hitter Jason Kubel to preserve a 3-1 lead.
"That was kind of a golden opportunity for us to get back in the game, but we were unable to do that," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Mujica throws a lot of splits, and he had thrown a lot early. He just froze him up."
Montero had two of the D-backs' three hits. His leadoff, opposite-field homer to left field in the second inning gave the D-backs a 1-0 lead in his first career at-bat against Garcia. Montero hit six of his 15 home runs against lefties last season.
Carpenter doubled to open the fourth inning and scored on two groundouts to tie the game at 1. Carpenter, starting at third base with David Freese on the disabled list, also doubled and scored in the first inning Monday. Freese will be eligible to return for Sunday's game against San Francisco.
NOTES: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will major his first D-backs start in the final game of the three-game series against St. Louis on Wednesday. It will be McCarthy's first regular-season appearance since being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar on Sept. 5, when McCarthy was pitching for Oakland. McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion and a skull fracture and underwent surgery later that night to stabilize the fracture. He showed no signs of ball aversion in six spring training appearances. ... Garcia has 35 victories, the most for a Cardinals left-hander since the six-division alignment was instituted in 1994. Donovan Osborne is second with 26. ... St. Louis' Yadier Molina moved into 20th place in major league history with 611 assists by a catcher when he threw out Gerardo Parra attempting to steal second base Monday. Molina is two assists short of catching Mike Matheny, now his manager. Yadier's older brother, Bengie, ranks 12th with 659 assists.