Cardinals rookies help clinch win over Cubs

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:14am EDT
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By Brett Wolf

St. LOUIS (Reuters) - The Chicago Cubs came to St. Louis with a highly regarded trio of rookie starters, but it was the Cardinals' one-two rookie punch that sealed victory in Friday's opener of their National League Division Series.

Eighth-inning home runs by Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty turned a 1-0 lead into a comfortable 4-0 win in the best-of-five series.

"Chicago has got great young guys, and we also got great young guys," the Cardinals' seven-times All-Star catcher Yadier Molina said, referring to the Cubs' Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber.

Pham crushed a pinch-hit home run off Cubs starter Jon Lester and Piscotty lined a two-run shot off reliever Pedro Strop to back a sterling effort by Cards starter John Lackey.

"In the minor leagues we're kind of groomed to come up here and contribute," said 27-year-old Pham, a late bloomer. "The expectations are high for us.

"For me it's something I dreamed about as a little kid. Now it's happening. It's truly a blessing, kind of surreal."

Lackey, 36, said he enjoyed watching the new players.

"Those guys can hit," said Lackey. "It's kind of been our whole season. We've had to have contributions from young guys cause we've had some of our veteran guys hurt."   Continued...

Oct 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) waves to fans after being pulled in the eighth inning of game one of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports