ST. LOUIS — Matt Holliday is keeping quiet about his recent hitting surge.
However, his St. Louis teammates are more than happy to praise him after Holliday hit the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning Monday to rally the Cardinals to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
St. Louis moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time this season with its third straight win. The Cardinals are one game ahead of Milwaukee, which lost to the Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh dropped three games back.
Kolten Wong, a 2008 Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate, started the three-run rally in the seventh with a two-run, pinch-hit homer to tie the game 4-all.
Holliday, who is 7 for 11 with three homers and 12 RBI in his last three games, then followed with a single to left to bring in Jon Jay with the winning run.
“I’m OK with him going off all month long,” St. Louis starting pitcher Lance Lynn said. “This (three) game stretch, I’d like for it to be like to a 28- to 45-game stretch. If he can keep doing what he’s doing, that’s a big boost.”
Holliday has driven in three runs or more in each of his last three games, the first St. Louis player to do so since Scott Rolen from Aug. 11-13, 2002.
“He loves to come up with the big hit and he got it again,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (7-5), who gave up a two-run double to Holliday in third, was also impressed.
“The guy is just unbelievable,” Cole said. “He’s probably the strongest human being in the world. He just continues to get it done when he needs to get it done.”
Holliday drove in the game-winning run with a two-run single in the eighth inning of a 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. He also had two homers in the second game of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
“He’s been a good player for a long time,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s just what he does.”
Jay followed Wong’s homer with a triple to set up Holliday’s team-leading 81st RBI of the season.
Seth Maness (6-3) picked up the win in relief. Trevor Rosenthal got the last three outs for his 41st save in 46 opportunities.
Lynn gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Cole allowed all five runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Andrew McCutchen homered for the Pirates off Kevin Siegrist in the seventh to push the lead to 4-2. The 454-foot shot was the second-longest by a visiting player in the history of the current Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006.
Phillies no-hit Braves
ATLANTA — Cole Hamels and three Philadelphia Phillies relievers combined to pitch a no-hitter Monday, beating the Atlanta Braves 7-0 and giving a last-place team a rare reason to celebrate.
Hamels (8-6) was pulled after six innings and said he was fine with manager Ryne Sandberg’s decision. The lefty struck out seven, walked five, hit a batter and threw 108 pitches on a hot afternoon at Turner Field.
Relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a perfect inning to finish off the fourth no-hitter in the majors this season. This was the 11th combined no-hitter in major league history.
Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett of the Dodgers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants threw no-hitters earlier this year.
Right fielder Marlon Byrd foiled the Braves’ best bid for a hit, racing in and toward the line to make a diving catch on Chris Johnson’s slicing liner to end the third.
Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers threw the previous combined no-hitter in the majors, against the Dodgers in 2012. The first combined no-hitter came in 1917, a game Babe Ruth started.
walked the first Washington batter of the game and was ejected, and Boston Red Sox reliever Ernie Shore didn’t allow another runner.
Julio Teheran (13-10) took the loss.