x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Home sweet home for Holliday as he leads Cardinals to victory

Matt Holliday hit two solo home runs as his impressive start to life with the St Louis Cardinals continued with a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the National League.

Matt Holliday hit two solo home runs as his impressive start to life with the St Louis Cardinals continued with a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the National League. Holliday connected on the first pitch for each of his homers for the Central Division leaders, hitting a drive to right in the second and a shot to centre in the eighth. He also singled in the fourth.

Chris Carpenter tossed an eight-hitter for his second complete game of the season and also scored the go-ahead run in the seventh. The fifth inning hurt the Astros. After losing Wandy Rodriguez to a hamstring injury, Michael Bourn was ejected for arguing after being thrown out trying to steal second. The Chicago Cubs were not at their best against the Florida Marlins - but they still managed to complete a 9-8 success which keeps them only half a game behind the Cardinals.

The Cubs struck out 14 times, stranded 14 runners, gave up nine walks and lost Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez to injuries. They also squandered an early six-run lead - but Derrek Lee led off the 10th inning with a home run to make sure they did not pay for their wastefulness. The misery continues for the Milwaukee Brewers, who fell to a season-worst five and a half games off the pace as a result of a 4-2 defeat by San Diego Padres, while the Colorado Rockies won their third game in a row, at the same time inflicting a fifth successive loss on Cincinnati, with a 6-2 defeat of the Reds.

Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez turned in his longest outing in more than a month, throwing six shut out innings before conceding two runs. Sean Smith hit a home run for Colorado. The Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe excelled in his side's 4-3 win over his former team the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lowe threw six innings in his first game since swapping clubs and gave up just five hits. In his first game back with the Braves, Adam LaRoche collected two singles, with the second one sparking the decisive two-run sixth inning, while Greg Norton drove in what proved to be the winning run.

Angel Pagan hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the eighth inning as the New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-6. Pagan's first home run in two injury-plagued seasons was the highlight of the match against a team who have hit fewer homers than any in the majors this season. The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 11-6, with Andrew McCutchen managing three home runs and a career-high six RBIs.

It meant a fourth successive defeat for the East Division's hapless bottom team. East Division leaders Philadelphia Phillies were blanked and dropped the third of a four-game set 2-0 against the San Francisco Giants. Tim Lincecum hurled a shut out through eight innings, striking out eight along the way, to out duel Joe Blanton, while Juan Uribe provided the Giants with all the offence they would need with a sacrifice fly in the fifth and another in the seventh.

* PA Sport