St. Louis — Rookie outfielder Dylan Carlson has played at an extremely productive level this season, showcasing how relaxed he is both at the plate and in the field. The young Cardinal is far and beyond his years, and the scary thing is he’s only 22 years old. Each and every moment he is locked in, not being anxious and trying to do too much as many rookies tend to do.
Carlson has had a coming out party this series against the Cubs, and he’d continue his impressive performance in the series finale on Thursday. Carlson tallied three extra-base hits, becoming the youngest Cardinals player to have a three extra-base hit game since Albert Pujols in 2002. All three were key to the Cardinals success, but his lead off homerun in the first was a tone setter.
Another key hit from Carlson came during the bottom of the third. His 20th double of the season set up Nolan Arenado’s 19th home run, giving St. Louis an early 3-0 advantage over Chicago. Arenado didn’t end things there however. The slick fielding third baseman manufactured a double play off a sacrifice attempt from the Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay.
In addition to the incredible play by Arenado, the Cardinals as a whole shined defensively. Look no further to Harrison Bader for a perfect example of high flying heroics. Bader missed time earlier in the season due to a sore rib after laying out for a ball that got caught underneath his body. Obviously the ribs are fully healed.
In similar fashion, Bader charged in from deep center field to dive and rob Anthony Rizzo of a base knock. Along with the strong resurgence from Carlson, Bader has also stepped his game up over the last few games, especially in this series, just showing how much energy and excitement he can provide on a daily basis.
Great defense coupled with a three run cushion would be enough for Cardinal starter Kwang Hyun Kim. Kim gave the Cards six innings, allowing two runs off just two hits, walking only one batter and striking out seven. KK delivered a huge win for St. Louis on his 33rd birthday.
Another pleasant sign was from Alex Reyes. After blowing his first save of the year in his last outing, Reyes looked much more like himself, closing out a 3-2 win for the Cardinals.
With the 3-2 win, St. Louis moved back above .500 and is now standing alone in third place in the NL Central. A happy flight to Cincinnati sets up a three game weekend series with the chance of catching or staying in the race for second place in the division.
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