Holliday ties club record with on-base streak

Outfielder reaches for 42nd game to start season, matching Pujols ('08)

Holliday ties club record with on-base streak

ST. LOUIS -- A season that began with Matt Holliday prioritizing a strong start is now in the franchise record books because of how good that start has been.

With an RBI single in his first at-bat of Tuesday's 6-4 win over the D-backs, the Cardinals left fielder matched Albert Pujols' franchise record of reaching base in 42 consecutive games to open a season. Pujols set the mark in 2008 and had been the only player in the Majors to begin a year with an on-base streak of that length since 2000.

If Holliday breaks Pujols' mark on Wednesday, he can then set his sights on Derek Jeter, who established the Majors' modern-day record by reaching in his first 53 games of the 1999 season. Holliday is one of just seven players since 1914 to begin the year by reaching safely in at least 42 games.

"He was very motivated and vocal about needing to get off to the kind of start like the finishes he's had," manager Mike Matheny said of Holliday, who posted career lows in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS last season. "A lot if it has just been by will, too. He's just frustrated that he hasn't been able to do what he knows he can do early on."

Tuesday was the 20th time during the streak that Holliday found his way on base in the first inning. In contrast, he has had five games in which he didn't reach until his final plate appearance. That included all three games against Pittsburgh from May 1-3. He drew a 10th-inning intentional walk in the opener, walked in the ninth-inning of the second game and drew an 11th-inning free pass in the final game of the series.

Holliday also had a timely hit-by-pitch on Saturday, as he was plunked in the fifth inning of a game that was called due to rain an inning later.

Other interesting nuggets about the streak: In 18 of the 42 games, Holliday reached just once; 11 times he extended the streak without a hit; and 12 times he contributed a multihit game. Holliday also began this season with a 12-game hitting streak.

"Obviously, that streak is a big deal," teammate Randal Grichuk said. "Once you get that high, it's not easy to get on base every night. It just shows how well he's been swinging it and how good of at-bats he's been having."

Holliday, who did not speak with reporters after the game, currently boasts the National League's fourth-highest on-base percentage at .434.

He is simultaneously chasing another franchise record, too, as he has reached base in 44 straight games dating back to last season. It's the longest on-base streak by a Cardinals player since Jim Edmonds reached in 47 consecutive games in 2004. Stan Musial has the longest on-base streak (not confined to the start of one season) in Cardinals history at 55, which began in August 1953.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.