Holliday hits 1st homer, Cardinals beat Triple-A Memphis 8-1
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Matt Holliday hit his first home run of the spring, Randal Grichuk added his team-high fifth and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated their Triple-A Memphis affiliate 8-1 Friday night.
Top prospect Marco Gonzales pitched 5 2-3 innings of three-hit ball for the Cardinals. The left-hander will stay down on the farm at Memphis to begin the season as a starter-in-waiting for St. Louis.
''That's what we wanted to see out of Marco tonight, and keep seeing out of him for as long as he's pitching for Memphis,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''He was changing speeds and had outstanding command.''
Gonzales struck out four and gave up just an unearned run in the sixth on a groundout. He also delivered an RBI single before 9,827 fans at AutoZone Park.
Gonzales did issue four walks, including one that loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth. Randy Choate came on to get an inning-ending strikeout.
Despite going 3-0 and yielding only two earned runs in 15 1-3 innings this spring, Gonzales was passed over in favor of Carlos Martinez for the fifth starter's job in St. Louis.
While unpacking his bags in the Memphis locker room, Gonzales showed no disappointment at all after Friday's game.
''I was happy about tonight. I want to go out, get stronger and build up my arsenal every time I start, no matter where it is,'' he said. ''I'm just worried about the next start ... and this (Memphis) team has a lot of talent. It's going to be fun.''
After Redbirds starter Tim Cooney hit Matt Carpenter with a pitch, Holliday launched a drive onto the left-field bluff.
In the fourth, after Matheny had pulled his starters, the Cardinals added a run on doubles by Pete Kozma, the backup shortstop who went 3 for 3 with two runs scored, and reserve outfielder Peter Bourjos, who also had a two-run single in the seventh.
Grichuk delivered a two-run homer in the eighth.
Cardinals: St. Louis opens the season Sunday night in Chicago, sending Adam Wainwright to the mound against Jon Lester, the Cubs' big free-agent signing of the offseason.
Memphis: The Redbirds begin Pacific Coast League play Thursday at home against the Iowa Cubs and touted prospect Kris Bryant, who hit nine home runs in spring training.