PHILADELPHIA -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was saddened to learn of the passing of Tigers Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell.

Harwell died Tuesday at the age of 92 after battling cancer for the last nine months.

"He was one of the neatest, classiest, talented guys in this game," La Russa said. "He's one of the neatest men I've met in all of the 40-some years I've been in baseball. He was the real deal. Great man."

Harwell called Tigers games for 42 of his 55 illustrious years in Major League Baseball. He started with the Tigers in 1960.

"I had great respect for him," La Russa said. "He really knew how to do that job."

Holliday nagged by groin, but perseveres

PHILADELPHIA -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was going to lift Matt Holliday in the top of the 10th inning Tuesday night if the left fielder reached base.

La Russa was made aware before the at-bat that Holliday had a sore groin. Holliday struck out, so it wasn't an issue.

La Russa said before Wednesday's game that Holliday is still bothered by the nagging groin, yet the slugger was penciled into the starting lineup.

"It's a little tight," La Russa said. "He's OK to play. It just got a little tight. ... You've got to be careful with it."

Entering Wednesday, Holliday was hitting .287 with four homers and 11 RBIs.

"He's getting his hits," La Russa said. "He just hasn't gotten red-hot in 20 or 30 at-bats. I think he's really close. He's hanging in there."

Pitching, defense propelling Cardinals

PHILADELPHIA -- It may sound like a cliche, but pitching and defense sure can lead to success.

Just look at the National League Central-leading Cardinals.

Through Tuesday, they sported an impressive 18-9 record thanks to a stellar pitching staff and tremendous defense.

Adam Wainwright's performance Tuesday -- four hits and one earned run in eight innings -- extended the club's streak of consecutive quality starts to 13. That's the most in Cardinals history since a 14-game stretch beginning with the second game of a doubleheader on May 20-June 6, 1973.

"When you have an ERA in the twos, that's a great start," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We have five months to play, so we don't want to belabor it. We'll acknowledge it as a great start and try to build on it."

St. Louis' rotation leads the Major Leagues in ERA, including 2.15 since April 21. The starters have produced 24 quality starts, while the bullpen has combined for a 2.83 ERA.

"Everyone has come in with the mind-set of going to work," closer Ryan Franklin said. "I think we have a very focused club all the way around."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are leading the NL with their .988 fielding percentage, also turning a league-best 33 double plays.

Miles to be evaluated for role with Cards

PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals signed veteran infielder Aaron Miles to a Minor League contract on April 27.

Whether Miles works his way up to St. Louis is another story.

"I have not heard anything yet," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "When he gets some playing time, we'll start evaluating."

The switch-hitting Miles was a starter on the Cardinals' 2006 World Series champion club. Now 33, Miles was recently released by the Reds before signing the Minor League deal with the Cards, where he previously played for three seasons."

In 2008, Miles hit a career-best .317 in 134 games for St. Louis.