Albert Pujols' two-run home run in the fifth inning began a barrage of four long balls in a span of six at-bats and Blake Hawksworth survived a rocky start in the St. Louis Cardinals' 8-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night.
They didn't need Holliday, who got a day off.
"That was something you didn't see too much in the first half, but we knew it was coming around," Pujols said. "Hopefully we can continue to swing the bats the way we are, and play defense, too."
Rookie Allen Craig added his first career homer and Skip Schumaker hit his third of the season in a five-run fifth against Kyle Kendrick. Randy Winn led off the sixth with a pinch-hit shot off Chad Durbin. The four-homer game tied a season best for the NL Central leaders, who have won a season-high six in a row and are a season-best 11 games over .500 (52-41).
Kendrick (5-4) surrendered seven runs in five innings, coughing up a 4-2 lead as the Phillies lost for the fourth time in five games. Ryan Howard, who grew up in suburban St. Louis, had two hits and an RBI and is a .382 hitter with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 18 games at 5-year-old Busch Stadium.
Kendrick had been 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in five previous starts against the Cardinals, including seven shutout innings May 5 in Philadelphia, a game in which Cardinals manager Tony La Russa joked, "We couldn't hit the ball past the pitcher."
This time, they reached the seats.
"My command was off all night," Kendrick said. "I got behind, I left pitches up. They should be hit where they hit them."
The two-time defending NL champions are six games out in the NL East, matching a season low.
"It's not over," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "The guys with the bats and the balls, they control what the pen says."
Jon Jay doubled for the second time for an RBI before Pujols hit his 22nd homer and first since the All-Star break for a 5-4 lead. Pujols also doubled and had a run-scoring groundout.
The three-homer inning was the Cardinals' first since June 19, 2009, when Ryan Ludwick hit a grand slam and Rick Ankiel and Khalil Greene connected on consecutive at-bats off Kyle Davies at Kansas City. The Cardinals have four four-homer games this season, but hadn't hit four at home since July 17, 2008, when they had four solo shots to beat the Padres' Jake Peavy.
Hawksworth (4-5) gave up five hits and needed 32 pitches to get out of the first, but scattered five over the next five innings. Hawksworth, one of the rotation fill-ins for injured Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse, worked six innings for the second straight start to match his career best.
"That could have gotten ugly," Hawksworth said. "But you try to forget the things that happened early in the game, and just focus on the present and the next pitch.
"It worked out, but it's about the other guys. Not me."
Shane Victorino, batting sixth for the first time this season, had a two-run single in the first for Philadelphia. But Hawksworth retired eight in a row with the help of a double-play ball to end the second and catcher Yadier Molina's pickoff of Jayson Werth to end the third, and was hurt the rest of his outing only by Rollins' RBI single in the fourth.
Placido Polanco had an infield hit off Pujols' glove at first in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the last three since coming off the 15-day disabled list from an elbow injury.
Ludwick (calf strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday. ... Lohse threw a second bullpen session Monday and is set to face hitters on Wednesday. ... Gregg Dobbs is only 3 for 28 as a pinch-hitter this season but hit a bloop single in the sixth for his 48th with the Phillies, fourth on the franchise list. ... Pujols has 100 doubles at Busch Stadium. ... Raul Ibanez is 4 for 5 with two homers and three RBIs against Hawksworth, including two singles Monday. ... Cardinals rookie RHP Adam Ottavino will attempt to rehab a shoulder injury after seeking a second opinion in New York. Cardinals doctors had recommended surgery.
A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora respond to questions on speculation that the Astros were stealing signs during Game 1 of the ALCS.
Heading into Game 4, the defending champs could have concerns about their banged-up stars, lineup misfires and even their closer.
After sparking the Red Sox to a Game 2 win, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. uncorked an eighth-inning grand slam that broke open Game 3 on Tuesday, propelling Boston to a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS.
Just a day after he posted a video poking fun at Nathan Eovaldi, Alex Bregman talks about Eovaldi's outing on the mound.
A.J. Hinch believes both teams have explosive lineups, but the Astros need to do a better job at limiting Boston's.
A.J. Hinch explains his pitching decisions including Roberto Osuna's grand slam he surrendered.