Matt Holliday back in Cardinals’ lineup Tuesday evening

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From beat writer Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com comes word that outfielder Matt Holliday is back in the St. Louis starting lineup on Tuesday night as the Cardinals open a three-game interleague series at Busch Stadium against the visiting White Sox.

Holliday was held out of action on Saturday and Sunday due to back spasms. He rested throughout Monday’s scheduled off day, then felt significant improvement in pregame batting practice Tuesday.

Holliday, 32, is hitting .276/.362/.458 with 10 home runs, nine doubles and 35 RBI through 257 plate appearances this season.

Mariners sweep A’s in two-game Japan Series

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The big news, of course, is Ichiro’s retirement. But there was a baseball game that counted today as well and the Mariners took it. Seattle beat Oakland 5-4 in 12 innings to sweep the two-game Japan Series.

Ichiro may have taken an 0-for-4 in his last game, but Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, staking Seattle to a 3-0 lead after three. The A’s picked up two in the fifth and Seattle added one via a Jay Bruce sac fly to make it 4-2 in the seventh. Oakland tied things back up, ultimately sending it to extras when Khris Davis singled in Matt Chapman in the seventh. Davis would blow a chance to put Oakland ahead in the 11th when he struck out with the bases loaded.

In the twelfth, Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle’s win in the opener on Wednesday, beat out a would-be double-play with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead and, ultimately, winning run.

The rebuilding Mariners are now 2-0 on the young year. The A’s, who won 97 games last year, are 0-2. Viva the smallest of sample sizes.