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Holliday a late scratch before finale with Jays

TORONTO -- Matt Holliday, who has started every game since April 21, was a late scratch from the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday due to lower back tightness.

Holliday was slated to serve as the team's designated hitter for the second time in the series against the Blue Jays and showed no signs of any back problems while blasting balls into the stands during yet another impressive batting-practice showing.

But minutes before manager Mike Matheny was to submit his lineup card to home-plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, he received word that Holliday's back had tightened. That led to a quick substitution -- Yadier Molina for Holliday as both DH and three-hole hitter.

It was just the third time in Molina's career that he started and batted third in the lineup.

Holliday, 2-for-14 on this road trip, has dealt with on-and-off back tightness for years. Typically, he has returned with little time missed. He will have the benefit of having a second straight day off, too, with the team's scheduled off-day before beginning a two-game series with the Rays on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Members of the Cardinals' medical staff had already planned to travel to Florida for the upcoming series, and that fortuitous timing will allow Holliday to get further evaluation of his back before a decision is made as to whether he'll miss any more time.

"He already walked by," Matheny said after the team's 5-0 win over the Blue Jays, "and said he's going to be fine."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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