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Cards' ship comes in against D-backs in 12th

Clutch defense, relief pave way for Holliday's walk-off run

ST LOUIS -- The Cardinals made the plays at the plate, and Arizona didn't. In the end, it was just that simple.

The rest of the game was anything but.

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ST LOUIS -- The Cardinals made the plays at the plate, and Arizona didn't. In the end, it was just that simple.

The rest of the game was anything but.

View Full Game Coverage

A throw by D-backs shortstop Chris Owings on Allen Craig's grounder with the bases loaded in the 12th inning on Wednesday night bounced away to the backstop and allowed Matt Holliday to score. The run gave the Cardinals a 3-2 victory in front of 40,542 at Busch Stadium.

The walk-off win was the Cardinals' second of the season, neither of which were actually won on a base hit. Last week, the Cardinals used a hit by pitch to force in the game-winning run against the Cubs.

"You need it. You're at home, in extra innings, you want to win," Holliday said. "You feel like you have the advantage at home in extra innings, but for some reason, I don't feel like we've done that well at home."

Holliday led off the 12th inning with a walk, Matt Adams doubled him to third and Yadier Molina was intentionally walked to bring Craig to the plate. Craig, who had reached in all five of his plate appearances with three singles and two walks, hit a 2-2 pitch off reliever Trevor Cahill to Owings. The shortstop's throw home was off the mark, helping the Cardinals improve to 6-2 on the homestand.

"Just didn't throw it where I wanted to," Owings said. "Plain and simple. Holliday's running, it's kind of in the hole a little bit, but I just didn't make a good throw."

Scoreless relief appearances by Trevor Rosenthal, Randy Choate, Jason Motte and Seth Maness set up the win.

Motte, making his first appearance since recovering from Tommy John surgery, was called on with a runner on first and the score tied, 2-2, with one out in the 10th inning. After getting Owings to fly out to right field, Paul Goldschmidt doubled into the left-field corner, and the speedy Ender Inciarte attempted to score the go-ahead run from first.

But St. Louis made the play. A relay from Holliday to shortstop Daniel Descalso to catcher Molina cut down Inciarte, ending the inning.

"You work on that stuff in Spring Training, how to do the cutoffs," Motte said. "Descalso threw a strike and got the guy out. That was awesome."

"That's the game," manager Mike Matheny said. "No question."

St. Louis used six relievers after Michael Wacha was knocked out of the game, not by Arizona's hitters, but by a stray foul ball off the bat of Adams. Wacha had thrown six scoreless innings allowing two hits on only 88 pitches, poised to give the Cardinals their sixth straight seven-inning start, when he headed to the dugout after a 1-2-3 sixth.

He had avoided getting hit by a line drive in the fifth inning by catching a comebacker to the mound, but he wasn't prepared for Adams' screamer into the dugout that sent teammates scrambling to get out of the way. A Cardinals trainer and Matheny immediately checked on Wacha, who headed into the clubhouse, done for the night. He was hit on the back of his pitching arm just above the elbow.

"I was very happy with my outing," Wacha said. "I wanted to go back out there in the seventh, but just wasn't able to. I was very happy with it. It's a good club over there. I was just trying to get ahead and control the counts."

The D-backs took advantage. Right fielder Gerardo Parra tagged reliever Carlos Martinez for a two-run home run in the eighth to give Arizona its first runs of the series and a 2-1 lead.

It has been an especially rocky month for Martinez, whose wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score in Sunday's loss. In his last 7 2/3 innings, Martinez has allowed nine hits, seven earned runs and walked four.

"His stuff is too good for that to happen," Matheny said. "This is a very young guy who just had a little bit of experience, even though it was on a big stage last year. [He's] still trying to figure out how to do it on a consistent basis."

The Cardinals answered in the bottom half of the inning when pinch-hitter Jon Jay hit a sacrifice fly to center field to even the score. Jay later made a diving catch in the top of the 12th to end the inning, taking away a potential go-ahead hit.

St. Louis scored its only run off Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy on Craig's two-out RBI single in the fourth.

Arizona threatened the next inning with runners on the corners and one out, but had another runner thrown out at home, this time on a safety squeeze. The umpires briefly reviewed to see if Molina had obstructed Cody Ross' path to the plate, but the call stood and Wacha ended the inning by inducing a grounder to first base.

The Cardinals had earlier benefited from replay when it erased an Arizona runner from scoring position by ruling that Molina had thrown Miguel Montero out as he tried to steal.

In the end, the Cardinals made the plays when it mattered.

"You've got to tip your cap," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They made the plays tonight and they ended up beating us."

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Adams, Allen Craig, Michael Wacha