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09/09/09 7:23 PM ET

Holliday pulled with bruised left knee

Outfielder expected to return Friday against Braves

MILWAUKEE -- Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was removed from Wednesday afternoon's 5-1 win over the Brewers due to a bruised left knee.

With two outs in the third inning, Holliday hit a hard grounder to third base. He was thrown out, and after he crossed the bag, he tripped. He hit his left knee hard on the ground, suffering a bruise. He played the field in the bottom of the third and fourth, but was removed for pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel in the fifth.

"It's just a little bit swollen and I just thought with an 11 1/2-game lead [in the National League Central], there's no reason to push," Holliday said.

Ankiel remained in the game in left field. Holliday's stumble was an odd one, as he didn't trip on the first-base bag. He fell a couple of steps after crossing first.

"I took my eye off what I was doing and I think my cleat got caught," he said.

Holliday, 29, has been a major force for the Cardinals since they acquired him from Oakland in late July. Entering Wednesday's game, he was batting .381 with a .437 on-base percentage and a .706 slugging percentage as a Cardinal. He has hit more home runs (12) in 43 games in St. Louis than he had in 93 games with Oakland (11).

Holliday and the club both expect he will be able to return to action on Friday, when the Cardinals open a homestand against the Braves. St. Louis is off on Thursday.

"He fell right on top of his knee and it started swelling a little bit, so we got him out," manager Tony La Russa said. "He'll be fine on Friday."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.