ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday took another small step forward on Wednesday in his return from a right hand injury.

Holliday has been out of the lineup since experiencing inflammation in his right middle finger in a game in Pittsburgh early last week. But he was throwing on the field at Busch Stadium on Wednesday more than four hours before the 7:15 p.m. CT first pitch against the Mets.

Holliday was expected to hit off a tee on Monday afternoon, but there was no word on whether the left fielder took swings on Wednesday.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said before the game that there was no update on Holliday's status, and the slugging outfielder would still likely miss Wednesday and Thursday's games.

Chambers making most of opportunities

ST. LOUIS -- Adron Chambers is loving life these days.

As if the story of his journey from defensive back at Mississippi State to rookie outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals wasn't improbable enough, the 24-year-old continues to add to it by taking advantage of whatever opportunities manager Tony La Russa presents him.

"I'm lovin' it, you know?" Chambers said Tuesday night, following the Cardinals' 11-6 win over the Mets at Busch Stadium. "I mean, when you have somebody believing in you -- he wouldn't put me in a situation if he didn't think I could come through -- so I'm just happy I have somebody behind me."

For the second time in five days, the left-handed outfielder came up with a big hit to help St. Louis win.

Chambers delivered the game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning of the Cardinals' 4-2 win over the Phillies on Friday, which was his first Major League hit. On Tuesday, he came through with a pinch-hit three-run triple, his second hit in four at-bats, part of a six-run rally with two outs in the seventh inning.

"I was real pumped," Chambers said. "Who wouldn't be? My fourth at-bat. Hitting the go-ahead triple like that, well, give us some runs to go ahead. It was just a happy moment for me, you know?"

The rookie, who hit .277 with 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 128 games at Triple-A this season, has justified his September callup and impressed his teammates and manager.

"He's a good hitter," infielder Ryan Theriot said. "He's definitely a good hitter. He showed that with the at-bat he had when we were on the road. It was a great at-bat. Two really, really good at-bats."

La Russa said on Tuesday night that Chambers had earned another opportunity and maybe even a start at some point over the final eight games.

"We watched him in Spring Training," La Russa said. "This isn't a gift promotion. [General manager John Mozeliak] and the guys in the organization thought long and hard about it, and they just figured he earned it, and he gave us a lot of pluses -- speed and three positions. He's a very confident guy, and when he gets experience, he's got a chance to be an impactful Major League player."

Dotel gives Cardinals' bullpen instant lift

ST. LOUIS -- Over the course of his 13-year Major League career, which began in 1999 with the New York Mets, right-hander Octavio Dotel has served in a variety of roles for 12 different teams.

The 37-year-old, acquired from Toronto in the Colby Rasmus deal, has started, closed and served as a setup man.

Lately, Dotel has proven to be a good addition to a bullpen that is helping St. Louis make a push for the National League Wild Card.

"We knew what he was capable of, but we hadn't seen him," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We didn't know what kind of shape he was in, how much life he had. He's pitching like he has his whole career, which has been very effective."

In 24 games with St. Louis entering Wednesday, Dotel was 2-2 with two saves and a 3.60 ERA. In 20 innings, he had struck out 25 batters, walked five and allowed 13 hits.

He recorded a one-out save in the Cardinals' 4-3 win in Philadelphia on Monday night, getting Hunter Pence to ground out to third base. He picked up a one-out win Tuesday night when he entered the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning and struck out David Wright looking on a 2-2 slider.

For his career, Dotel began the day with a 53-46 record, 108 saves and 1,070 strikeouts over 883 2/3 innings.

Worth noting

• First baseman Albert Pujols' two hits on Wednesday night raised his batting average to a season-high .305.

Pujols is trying to extend his Major League record of batting .300 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs to an 11th consecutive season. He entered Wednesday's game with 36 home runs and 97 RBIs.