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A's deal Holliday to Cards

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Matt Holliday wanted to join his new team quickly, so he hopped on a train with his wife and two sons and got to the ballpark in plenty of time.

Holliday was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals from the Oakland Athletics on Friday for a package of prospects. The three-time All-Star outfielder gives the Cardinals a big bat for their pennant drive and provides protection in the lineup for slugger Albert Pujols.

Holliday was in New York for Oakland's series against the Yankees when he learned about the deal. To avoid getting stuck in traffic, he chose public transportation over a car ride down congested I-95.

"Getting from New York to Philly on a Friday afternoon can be tough," Holliday said. "I'm extremely excited to be back in the National League, to be back in a pennant race. This is a great team, a great organization."

Holliday made it to Citizens Bank Park early enough for manager Tony La Russa to pencil him into the lineup in left field and bat him cleanup behind Pujols for Friday night's game against the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

"It's a heck of a move for our club," La Russa said. "There are guys who are going to lose at-bats, but they're excited because he improves our club. We'll be tough to pitch to."

Holliday's presence will make opponents think twice about pitching around Pujols, who has been intentionally walked 34 times.