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Holliday's HR boosts Cardinals over slumping Brewers

Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Holliday hit a two-out, solo home run in the top of the ninth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-6, in the opener of a three-game set at Miller Park.

The Cardinals erased a six-run deficit and grabbed the lead on Holliday's third extra-base hit of the game. Holliday, who also had two doubles, drove the first pitch he saw from Francisco Rodriguez (3-3) to left field.

"The heart the guys showed to just keep coming and coming and the intensity and the grit and the fight. That to me is something you just don't have every once in a while," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "You have it or you don't. It's really impressive. I couldn't be more proud."

Trevor Rosenthal worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 28th save of the season. Pat Neshek (4-0) picked up the win after recording the final out in the seventh with men on the corners and tossing a scoreless eighth.

St. Louis closed to within a game of the NL Central-leading Brewers, who suffered a season-worst sixth straight loss. Milwaukee has dropped 10 of its last 11 overall.

The Cardinals activated right-hander Joe Kelly from the 60-day disabled list to start on Friday, but he didn't last long as he was chased after three innings.

Kelly made his return at the venue where he strained his left hamstring while attempting to beat out a bunt on April 16.

Milwaukee welcomed him back by scoring three runs in each of the first two innings.

The Brewers' first three batters reached base and Aramis Ramirez lofted a sacrifice fly to center with the bags full. Kelly then retired Ryan Braun on a force play at first, but Khris Davis ripped a two-run double to the gap in left-center field.

Milwaukee opened the second with singles by starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo and Carlos Gomez before Scooter Gennett laced a triple into the right-field corner. Gennett scored on a two-out triple by Braun.

The Cardinals, however, hit three homers off Gallardo as they rallied to tie the game.

Matt Adams obliterated a pitch in the fourth, sending it deep to right-center field for a two-run shot.

Kolten Wong sparked a four-run sixth with a leadoff drive to right. Holliday then walked and came home on Jhonny Peralta's one-out blast to left that ended Gallardo's outing.

Rob Wooten entered and didn't retire a batter, loading the bases on two singles and a walk. St. Louis drew even when pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras hit into a fielder's choice against Zach Duke.

Game Notes

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was ejected in the ninth by home plate umpire Mark Carlson for arguing a strike call ... The Brewers also have lost a season-high six in a row at home ... Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy will now be the starting catcher for the National League All-Star squad. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was voted by fans as a starter, but he will miss 8-to-12 weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Lucroy becomes the third Brewer in the NL's starting lineup, joining Ramirez (third base) and Gomez (outfield) ... Activating Kelly was one of several roster moves made by the Cardinals. They also claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, optioned pitcher Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis and transferred pitcher Jaime Garcia to the 60-day DL.

07/12 02:52:34 ET