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Holliday returns to Cards' lineup for Game 7

SAN View Full Game Coverage FRANCISCO -- Matt Holliday, who was pulled from the Cardinals' lineup before Sunday's game due to lower back tightness, returned to the field for Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

Holliday's availability for Monday's NLCS finale was in question when the Cards left AT&T Park on Sunday night. However, the outfielder "passed a lot of key tests" on Monday, said general manager John Mozeliak, thereby convincing the Cardinals that he is healthy enough to warrant a start.

"I talked to him most of the day going back and forth, and we feel completely comfortable that he's going to be in there and do something to help us win," manager Mike Matheny said during a 4:15 p.m. CT news conference. "Now, if we did need to make an adjustment, we all know that Matt Carpenter is there and ready to go, but right now everything is pointing toward Matt Holliday is ready."

Holliday did not take on-field batting practice with his teammates prior to Game 7, though he was expected to take some swings in the indoor cage. Most of his day was spent receiving treatment on his back, which has given him problems on and off throughout the season.

Mozeliak said he first observed something wasn't right with Holliday's back again during the left fielder's first at-bat of Game 5. The lack of finish on Holliday's swing gave away that he was compensating for some discomfort.

With Holliday returning to the lineup, the Cards are going with Matheny's preferred postseason batting order of Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, David Freese, Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma. In the 12 postseason games St. Louis had played before Game 7, this was the starting lineup for 10 of them.

Holliday entered the game 10-for-45 this postseason, with two extra-base hits and seven RBIs. He had not drawn a walk or collected an extra-base hit in this series.

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Holliday