ST. LOUIS (AP) — This was a different sort of injury bug for Matt Holliday.
In a bizarre episode, a moth got stuck deep in Holliday’s right ear, forcing the St. Louis Cardinals star to walk off the field while the Los Angeles Dodgers batted in the eighth inning Monday night.
With two outs, Holliday called time in left field and started toward the dugout holding his ear. Cardinals trainer Barry Weinberg met Holliday and tried to help.
“He had a moth fly into his ear, deep into his ear. I don’t even know what happened to it,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said moments after his team’s 2-1 loss.
Team spokesman Brian Bartow said Holliday was taken into a dark room and trainers put a light by his ear, trying to lure the insect out. That didn’t work, so they used a utensil to get the moth, which was still alive, out of Holliday’s ear.
Holliday was not available for comment after the game but appeared to be OK, Bartow said. Corey Patterson replaced Holliday in the field.
Holliday has been on the disabled list twice this season. The All-Star slugger has missed time because of an appendectomy and quadriceps injury.
The Dodgers rallied in the ninth to beat St. Louis. The Cardinals fell nine games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.
“It’s no more disappointing than the others we’ve lost in similar fashion,” said Lance Berkman, who led off the second inning with his 29th home run. “A loss is a loss. They’re all disappointing.”
St. Louis led 1-0 after eight innings behind the strong pitching of starter Chris Carpenter, who has never lost to the Dodgers. His 6-0 record and 1.57 ERA entering the game was the tops against Los Angeles among all active major league pitchers.
Carpenter began the ninth by hitting Juan Rivera with a pitch and Arthur Rhodes relieved.
“That’s my bad for hitting Rivera,” Carpenter said. “If I get him out, I don’t have to worry about it.”
Carpenter allowed the Dodgers just five hits while striking out seven.
Rhodes struck out Andre Ethier, La Russa brought in Fernando Salas (5-5). Aaron Miles tripled to right-center field to tie it.
“I fell behind in the count and I went to my best pitch to the lefties, a changeup,” Salas said. “The guy put a good swing on it.”
Miles said that he was looking for a changeup. He was also thinking third base all the way.
“You’ve got to take chance with one out,” Miles said. “I knew I was going to go for it. They had to make a good relay to get me.”
With Miles on third, La Russa then went to Jason Motte, who got Rod Barajas to hit a sharp grounder. But shortstop Rafael Furcal bobbled the ball briefly allowing Miles to score the go-ahead run.
The blown save was the fifth in 27 tries for Salas.
“I just played the inning,” La Russa said. “I watched what happens. You decide as you go along. He hit the first guy and with Ethier up, I figured it was better to go with the left-hander.”
Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly was grateful to see Carpenter gone, but would not second-guess the decision to remove him.
“We didn’t do much with him, that’s for sure,” Mattingly said. “I’m sure Tony has his reasons. He knows his ballclub a lot better than I know his ballclub.”
Matt Guerrier (4-3) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win. Javy Guerra pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.
James Loney had three hits for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp was 0 for 4 and had his 11-game hitting streak snapped.
Los Angeles rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed just a solo home run to Lance Berkman, his 29th, leading off the second inning. Eovaldi lasted five innings and allowed five hits while walking one and striking out two.
NOTES: St. Louis failed to score in the opening frame against the Dodgers, who have allowed just 35 first-inning runs. Los Angeles is on pace to allow 45 first-inning runs, which would be the fewest by a National League team since 1920. The 1975 Dodgers’ team holds the record with 49 runs allowed.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press