After setting a National League record earlier this month for consecutive games reaching base to open a big-league season, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was ejected from Tuesday night’s game, halting the run at a still-impressive 45 games.
After flying out to left in the first and hitting into a double play in the fourth, Holliday, who has been battling illness over the last week or so, was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Joe West with a runner on.
In a game that featured just one run, emotions flared as the veteran headed back to the dugout and he was promptly tossed, along with skipper Mike Matheny – the first time the Cardinals’ manager was ejected this season. After the game, the former catcher-turned-manager was still adamantly defending Holliday and the accusations made against him to media, including MLB.com.
"“You watch body language, and you can see when they’re just about at their end,” Matheny said. “It didn’t look like it, but next thing you know our three-hole hitter with a pretty nice streak going gets thrown out of the game. I don’t expect them to give extra rope for things like streaks, but I know Matt wasn’t swearing at him and that usually holds some value too.”"
Holliday, who carries a .313/.429/.431 slash-line into play on Wednesday afternoon, fell eight games shy of tying New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter for the all-time record of 53-straight contests, a mark set back in 1999.
The grizzled leader of the first-place Cardinals maintained his innocence–at least in terms of the content his remarks contained, even after earning the ejection late in a 1-0 game at Busch Stadium.
"“I have a clean conscience on what I said,” Holliday said. “None of it was vulgar. As a player, you have a right to voice your displeasure, especially in that situation. We’re trying to score more runs, and I feel like you get the bat taken out of your hands. That’s how I saw it.”"
The last time Holliday finished a season with an on-base percentage north of .400 was 2008, when the played with the Colorado Rockies, finishing the campaign with an impressive .409 OBP to go along with his 25 long-balls and 88 runs batted in.