ST. LOUIS -- Hours after visiting his mother in the hospital, and with much more than baseball on his mind, Matt Holliday stepped up to help lead the Cardinals to an 8-3 victory over the Giants on Thursday with a pair of RBI hits.
The two knocks matched Holliday's total from the first three games of the National League Championship Series, an indicator that he had been battling himself at the plate. Any such battle, however, pales in comparison to the one now staged by his family.
Following an NL Division Series game in Washington last week, Holliday learned that his mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer. That immediately set into motion an effort, with assistance from the Cards, to bring Kathy Holliday to St. Louis, where she could have a tumor removed.
That surgery took place on Thursday morning.
"It's been hard. This week has been hard," Holliday said after Game 4. "But it's part of life. It's part of being a big boy. You have to deal with stuff that happens in life. I wish it hadn't happened, but she is doing good. We've had great support."
Holliday was able to spend some time with his mom -- and receive assurance that she had come through the surgery fine -- before arriving at Busch Stadium on Thursday. The Holliday family, much of which has gathered in St. Louis, is optimistic the recovery will only get better.
"We found some good doctors in St. Louis," Holliday said. "She's been treated by gold. Hopefully we can move on. The doctor was very pleased with how it went."
Holliday's impact in Thursday's game was immediate, as his first-inning single pushed across the Cardinals' first run against Giants starter Tim Lincecum. In the fifth, Holliday extended another St. Louis rally with his second RBI hit. The RBIs were Holliday's first since he drove home two in the final game of the NLDS.
Holliday hit .435 for the Cards in their 2011 NLCS win over the Brewers.
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.