It may not come as a surprise that the Arizona Diamondbacks got another season off to a winning start.
Impressive performances at the plate from Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock were more unexpected.
The outfielders attempt to build on strong season debuts as the Diamondbacks and visiting St. Louis Cardinals continue a three-game series Tuesday night.
Arizona has opened seven consecutive seasons with a win and started last year with a franchise-record four-game winning streak.
The Diamondbacks got 2013 off to another solid start with a 15-hit performance in Monday's 6-2 win over St. Louis, as Parra and Pollock led the way offensively.
Parra matched his career high with four hits and set a personal best with three doubles. Pollock had career bests with three hits and two RBIs and became the first Arizona rookie to get three hits in a season opener since Travis Lee in the Diamondbacks' first game in 1998.
"I'm happy because it's a good team," said Parra, who hit .273 last season. "Maybe we don't have a lot of power, but we have a lot of fast guys, a lot of contact guys."
Parra may be hitting leadoff again since he's a career .310 hitter with a .366 on-base percentage over 51 games in that spot. He's also 8 for 23 (.348) with four doubles and a triple over his last five home meetings with the Cardinals.
Pollock, a .247 hitter in 31 games last year, is 6 for 8 in his three career meetings with St. Louis and should be back in the lineup with Adam Eaton (elbow) and Cody Ross (calf) on the 15-day disabled list.
Martin Prado added a pair of doubles and an RBI in his team debut Monday, improving to 8 for 18 over his past five games against the Cardinals.
Trevor Cahill is expected to get the ball in an effort to carry success from spring into the regular season. The right-hander was 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 19 1-3 innings over five starts. He ended his spring by fanning 11 and yielding an unearned run in 5 2-3 innings Thursday against Texas.
Cahill went 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA last year, capping his first with Arizona by winning four of his final five starts with a 2.62 ERA. He has a 2.25 ERA in two starts against St. Louis, but no record thanks to getting only two runs of support.
The Cardinals, who had five hits Monday, are slated to counter with Jaime Garcia , who is trying to continue putting last year's shoulder trouble behind him. The left-hander went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six starts during spring training, logging a team-high 29 innings.
That may have been a relief to the Cardinals after Garcia spent much of last summer on the disabled list, and exited Game 2 of the NL division series against Washington after just two innings.
He went 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 20 starts during the regular season, winning his final three behind a 2.29 ERA.
The success during the spring seems to have given Garcia some confidence.
"The biggest thing was being able to go out there every fifth day, being able to trust yourself and get in a position where you are ready to go for the season," Garcia told the team's official website. "The first thing is health. Obviously, that's what everybody wants. I'm going to be there for my teammates, and I'm going to take one day at a time."
Garcia has won both career starts against Arizona, allowing three runs in 11 innings.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|March 26, 2013||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Strained back|
|March 24, 2013||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 22, 2013||Jason Motte||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 07, 2013||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 22, 2013||Chris Carpenter||60-Day DL||Nerve irritation, right shoulder|
|March 30, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|March 22, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Left calf strain|
|March 22, 2013||Adam Eaton||15-Day DL||Left elbow strain|
|February 18, 2013||Daniel Hudson||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Matt Holliday has nine at-bats in his career against Trevor Cahill - and three home runs.
Holliday's two-run shut off the Arizona right-hander put St. Louis ahead for good in a 6-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
"That was a pretty good pitch, too," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He went down and golfed that ball out of the air. 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."
Pete Kozma and Jon Jay also homered for St. Louis as the Cardinals evened the season-opening series at a game apiece.
Jaime Garcia (1-0) gave up two hits, one of them a homer by Miguel Montero , in 5 2-3 innings for the Cardinals.
Holliday's home run broke a 1-all tie in the sixth.
"I threw it where I wanted to throw it," Cahill said. "It is just that he is really strong and if you get him off balance he is strong enough to hit it out."
The St. Louis slugger has no idea why he's been so successful against Cahill.
"Sometimes that just happens," Holliday said. "He's a good pitcher. I don't know why."
Kozma added a leadoff homer and Jay a two-run shot off the right-field foul pole, both off reliever Heath Bell in the seventh.
Kozma's homer came on Bell's first pitch with the Diamondbacks. Matt Carpenter doubled twice for St. Louis.
Cahill (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. The slimmed-down Arizona right-hander struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter with a pitch.
After getting 15 hits in their 6-2 season-opening victory on Monday night, the Diamondbacks managed just three on Tuesday. Montero had two of them.
Garcia struck out four and walked four, including three in a row with two outs in the sixth, bringing an end to his outing.
Three St. Louis relievers allowed one hit in 3 1-3 innings.
Garcia and Cahill were locked in a 1-all game through five innings before Jay was hit by a pitch to start the sixth. Carpenter flied out to bring up Holliday, who hit Cahill's 2-2 pitch a couple of rows into the seats in left field and St. Louis led 3-1.
Arizona got its first home run of the season when Montero hit Garcia's first pitch in the second to the opposite-field in left to put the Diamondbacks up 1-0.
St. Louis tied it in the fourth. Carpenter led off with a double into the right-field corner. He went to third on Holliday's groundout to second and scored when Allen Craig bounced out to shortstop.
The Diamondbacks got the potential go-ahead run to third in the fifth. Carpenter, the third baseman, threw wild to first, allowing Cliff Pennington to reach second. Pennington advanced to third when Cahill bounced out to the pitcher, but Gerardo Parra grounded out to end the threat.
After getting the first two outs in the sixth, Garcia walked three in a row to load the bases.
"There's no question I wanted to get him through that, especially with his spot coming up (to bat) there," Matheny said. "But with him a lot of times it's pretty obvious when he hits that wall. He kept fighting but just couldn't get through it at that point. He knew he'd done a pretty nice job and we had some fresh arms down in the `pen to get him out."
Right-hander Edward Mujica came on and caught pinch-hitter Jason Kubel looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
"Kubel had a decent at-bat but he took the third strike," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "That was kind of a golden opportunity for us to get back in the game but we were unable to do that."
Bell, the former closer acquired in a trade with Miami in the offseason, allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.
After Kozma's first-pitch homer, Shane Robinson walked and Jay's soaring drive bounced high off the right-field foul pole for a two-run homer to make it 6-1. Carpenter doubled and Bell struck out Holliday, then Craig singled and the reliever's rough Arizona debut was over.
NOTES: A female fan on the porch in left-center field was hit in the face by Kozma's home run. Her male companion jumped out of the way. They stayed in their seats afterward and she didn't appear to be hurt. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy gets the start for Arizona in the series finale, his first appearance in a big league game since sustaining a horrific head injury from a line drive while pitching for Oakland last September. RHP Lance Lynn goes for the Cardinals. ... St. Louis plays three games in San Francisco before its home opener next Monday against Cincinnati. ... Arizona OF Alfredo Marte went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his major league debut. ... Carpenter has three doubles in two games.