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Youngsters help Cardinals keep flying high

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Roster Report · Youngsters help Cardinals keep flying high

Third baseman Daniel Descalso, who won games on Monday and Tuesday with late-inning tie-breaking singles, is one of several young players who have helped keep the Cardinals at the top of the National League Central Division standings.

They were needed because first baseman Albert Pujols has struggled somewhat and infielders Skip Schumaker and David Freese have missed a month because of injuries.

Descalso, 24, is batting a modest .242 overall but he hits late. After the sixth inning, Descalso has knocked in nine runs either to tie a game or put the Cardinals ahead, and is averaging .360 in those situations. He leads the team with five game-winning runs batted in.

Outfielder Jon Jay and outfielder-infielder Allen Craig both are hitting over .300 in part-time play, with Jay particularly hot over a 16-game span, hitting .400.

Craig, who never had started a game at second base, has handled the position well and delivered key hits. Descalso, Jay and Craig all have less than one year of experience in the majors.

And the influence of the young farm system players isn't confined to the offense.

Right-handed reliever Fernando Salas, who also has less than a year of big-league experience, has eight saves in eight tries, and right-handed rookie Eduardo Sanchez is 5-for-7 in save opportunities.

General manager John Mozeliak said: "We've had a lot of confidence in what we've been doing all along, in the draft, and in player development. And now we're seeing it come to fruition."

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2016 Team Leaders
HRJedd Gyorko , 2B30
RBIStephen Piscotty , RF85
OBPMatt Carpenter , 3B.380
SLGMatt Carpenter , 3B.505
RStephen Piscotty , RF86
SBStephen Piscotty , RF7
WCarlos Martinez , SP16
ERACarlos Martinez , SP3.04
WHIPCarlos Martinez , SP1.22
KCarlos Martinez , SP174
SVSeung Hwan Oh , RP19

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