2015 NLDS: John Lackey Not Lacking for Cardinals in Game 1 Win


The play was close. And it was early, too early for most Cardinals fans’ comfort. But, Matt Holliday‘s line-drive single up the middle in the first inning was just enough to score Stephen Piscotty from second. And it ended up being plenty to win the first game of the NLDS over the Chicago Cubs.

As he’s been all season, right-hander John Lackey was money for the Cardinals. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out five in 7.1 innings of work, the longest postseason outing of his career. And this is a pitcher who reeled off three wins in the Anaheim Angels’ 2002 run to the World Series title.

Oct 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Thomas Pham (60) celebrates with base coach

Eric Hinske

(77) after a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs in the 8th inning in game one of the NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Addison Russell‘s single up the middle to open the sixth was Chicago’s first hit off Lackey, who finished the game with 56 strikes in 86 pitches. The Cubs got no break when he left the game, either. Lefty Kevin Siegrist came in with one out in the eight and fanned two. Then, closer Trevor Rosenthal nailed the door closed in the ninth. In all, a very Cardinals-like efficient pitching performance.

Not that it was necessary, but in the eighth inning Tommy Pham pulled a 3-1 fastball into the leftfield seats for his first postseason homer in the first postseason at-bat of his career. Piscotty then hit a two-run homer a few at-bats later to give the Cards’ a 4-0 lead heading into the ninth.

By then, all that tension pervading Busch Stadium after the first inning, when Holliday was stranded on second, was long gone. For tonight, at least, Cardinals fans can sleep soundly. They can hit the pillow knowing that 36 of the 40 teams to take a 1-0 lead in best-of-five NLDS advance to the NLCS.