8/3/2014 6:24 P.M. ET
Holliday once again heating up in second half
By Alex Halsted and Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday paused for a moment as the ball flew deep into the warm St. Louis air before landing in the left-center bleacher seats at Busch Stadium.
The way Holliday admired the flight of the ball Sunday afternoon follows suit with the way the Cardinals feel about the slugger's second-half surge.
After hitting six home runs in 339 at-bats before the All-Star break, Holliday's seventh-inning homer Sunday, which brought the Cardinals within one run of the Brewers in an eventual 3-2 victory, marked his sixth in 51 at-bats since.
"He's a good hitter," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Just the same thing we've been trying to say since April. It's not that we're going to wave a magic wand and August is here and we expect everything to be right. Just keep fighting, grinding, and figuring out a way to get it done and put together good at-bats. The hits, the home runs, they will come."
There may not be a magic wand, but there is familiarity for Holliday with what a second half has often brought.
Last season, Holliday hit a National League-best .348 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 58 games after the break. He's hitting .294 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 14 games out of the break this season.
The key to that success?
"It's hard to say," Holliday said. "There's comfort and feeling good. Sometimes you're good and sometimes you're not. I'm going through a nice stretch right now where I'm getting the ball in the air a little bit and hitting it hard."
Holliday, who has battled back tightness at times in his career, used the four-day All-Star break to take time away from the game.
"You spend so much time in the cage, the calluses and the blisters, you give them a chance to heal a little bit," Holliday said. "You get away from the game a little bit and then you come back more refreshed. I think that helps. Especially guys that have been around a lot, sometimes you need a few days off to get refreshed and get ready to go again."
Rosenthal is rewarding Matheny's confidence
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has not wavered in showing confidence in closer Trevor Rosenthal this season.
Even when the 24-year-old right-hander has hit bumps in the road during his first full season as the Cardinals' closer, his manager has been assertive in saying he would remain the team's go-to guy at the end of games.
"He's the same guy in just about every situation," Matheny said. "You go into the clubhouse even now … and if you approached him, you wouldn't know how things went. He's very consistent, and that really helps him in that role. He's been very stable all season."
It should come as no surprise then, that Rosenthal stood at his locker with little emotion Sunday after closing out a 3-2 win over the National League Central-leading Brewers to record his Major League-leading 34th save.
The Rosenthal on Sunday nearly mirrored the one from early July when he had back-to-back outings of two runs allowed on July 4 and July 5, with the second culminating in his fourth blown save this season. The performances, though, have been anything but similar.
Since that blown save, Rosenthal has allowed one run in 10 appearances spanning 10 innings.
"Anything you do at this level in a different role, there is a bit of a learning curve," Matheny said. "I saw that one little blip where he was putting guys on base as a time where he was fighting through the midseason struggles that a lot of people go through."
In closing out Saturday's win, Rosenthal got Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra to swing through a changeup on the ninth pitch of a long at-bat. Rosenthal has used his changeup only slightly more this season (16.4 percent) than last (15.4), but has become more confident in the use of the pitch that keeps hitters off balance with his at-times triple-digit fastball.
"It's one of those things, throwing strikes and getting ahead helps make all of the pitches effective," Rosenthal said. "I know we've definitely mixed it in."
McCarver set to join St. Louis Walk of Fame
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Walk of Fame will unveil a sidewalk star for Cardinals broadcaster and former catcher Tim McCarver during an induction ceremony on Monday.
The ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. CT at 611 Delmar in The Loop, is free and open to the public. A longtime analyst for FOX's national baseball broadcasts, McCarver is in his first year calling games locally for the Cardinals. But he has been tied to the organization since the Cardinals signed him in 1959. McCarver went on to play 12 of his 21 Major League seasons in St. Louis and was a member of the Cardinals' 1964 and '67 World Series championship teams.
The St. Louis Walk of Fame, founded in 1988, has previously inducted 137 St. Louisans who have had a impact on the nation's cultural heritage. Other sports broadcasters who have previously been honored include Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Bob Costas and Joe Garagiola.
Several former Cardinals -- including Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean and Ozzie Smith -- have previously been honored with sidewalk stars.
Sore wrist continues to trouble Jay
ST. LOUIS -- A sore left wrist kept Jon Jay out of the starting lineup for a fifth straight day on Sunday, but Mike Matheny said he was available off the bench and would hopefully return for Tuesday's series opener with the Red Sox.
Jay has been bothered by the soreness since attempting to check his swing during an at-bat in the Cardinals' last series. Matheny considered starting him on Sunday, though with an off-day on Monday, sitting Jay for another day allowed additional healing time.
"It's been something that has been bothering him here for a while," Matheny said. "It's one of those things that needs a little time, and he continues to get treatment, and it seems to be getting better."
Though Jay has not hit since his start on Tuesday, Matheny would consider using him in a pinch-hit situation on Sunday.
• Michael Wacha is scheduled to undergo another MRI exam on Monday, after which the Cardinals are hopeful that the right-hander will be cleared to resume a throwing program. If Wacha does begin throwing this week, the organization projects that he will return to the club in early September. Wacha has been sidelined since mid-June with a stress reaction in his right shoulder.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta are the first Cardinals middle infielders to homer in the same game twice in a season since 1963, when Julian Javier and Dick Groat accomplished the feat.
• Lefty Marco Gonzales earned a no-decision despite a strong 6 1/3-inning start for Triple-A Memphis on Saturday. Gonzales scattered seven hits and didn't walk a batter while allowing one run. He struck out seven.
• The Cardinals named left-hander Tim Cooney (Triple-A) and outfielder Magneuris Sierra (Rookie level) the organization's respective pitcher and player of the month for July. Cooney went 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts. He struck out 24 and walked five in 27 2/3 innings. Sierra, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, hit .439 with a .489 on-base percentage in 82 at-bats for the Gulf Coast League affiliate. Sierra, 18, leads the GCL in average (.390), hits (46) and OPS (.985).
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter and Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.