St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Greg Holland.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Greg Holland Survives High-Leverage Situation In Return To Cardinals Bullpen

Holland earned his second hold of the season after throwing a perfect seventh inning.

June 20, 2018 - 9:14 am

Greg Holland silenced the doubters, at least for one night, in the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday night. The free agent signee returned to the Cardinals roster yesterday and was immediately put in a high-leverage situation. 

And he pitched a perfect inning. 

Holland entered in the seventh, after the Cardinals scored two runs to take a 6-4 lead, suddenly turning this into a hold situation for the reliever returning from a hip impingement. He threw a one-two-three inning with two strikeouts and by all accounts looked good. 

"He was getting ahead, that was the difference," says manager Mike Matheny. "That's what we hadn't seen because we was working behind in the count." 

It could have been another disastrous moment for a reliever looking for confidence, who had 9.45 ERA before going to the DL on May 25. Holland was warming up before the Cardinals had tied the score in the seventh, but even after the two Cardinals runs were scored Matheny chose to stick with Holland. Who in five total rehab appearances between Double- and Triple-A, had a 7.20 ERA with five walks and given up two home runs.

"It wasn't by design, I think we would have rather thrown him in a different (situation)," Matheny says. "But we had to have someone pitch that spot and we had to try and stay away from guys that would normally be in that spot." 

Matheny's reliable relievers like Bud Norris, Austin Gomber and Mike Mayers had been used the day before and Matt Bowman was placed on the DL yesterday afternoon. 

So he stuck with Holland, who threw 11 of his 13 pitches for strikes.

"I was amped up and excited to be out there," Holland told Fox Sports Midwest after the game. "I'm glad I was able to make some pitches, get some outs and keep that lead after a big inning from our offense."

Holland signed a one-year $14 million deal with St. Louis, on Opening Day. Before the hip injury, he had allowed 14 runs in 13.1 innings with 15 walks and 10 strikeouts.