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Bader having a blast in the bigs, and it shows

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- After scoring the game-winning run in Tuesday night's victory over the Rockies, outfielder Harrison Bader kept the merriment going in his second Major League start on Wednesday. He had plenty of reason to smile, as he notched three hits in the 10-5 win over Colorado.

"I think people that saw him play at Jupiter and people that have seen him play at Memphis this year all understand that it's kind of what he expects when he walks up there," manager Mike Matheny said. "We've had a great showing of the kind of talent he has, and hopefully he continues to go in a positive direction."

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ST. LOUIS -- After scoring the game-winning run in Tuesday night's victory over the Rockies, outfielder Harrison Bader kept the merriment going in his second Major League start on Wednesday. He had plenty of reason to smile, as he notched three hits in the 10-5 win over Colorado.

"I think people that saw him play at Jupiter and people that have seen him play at Memphis this year all understand that it's kind of what he expects when he walks up there," manager Mike Matheny said. "We've had a great showing of the kind of talent he has, and hopefully he continues to go in a positive direction."

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Bader's three hits tied him with Paul DeJong and Magneuris Sierra among Cardinals rookies with three-hit games this season in just his second start. He is also the first Cardinals rookie with three hits in one of his first two games since Tony Cruz hit three in his debut (May 24, 2011).

After starting the game with two singles, Bader hit an "excuse me" double, his second double in two nights, in the eighth. The hit moved Randal Grichuk to third and kept the Cardinals' offense going.

With the speed and potential that Bader showcased multiple times in Tuesday night's game and again on Wednesday, opposing defenders and pitchers are viewing him differently.

"Guys are making things happen. We talked yesterday how Bader is showing the speed, how that's going to create opportunities for him for pressure on the defense and getting on base and drawing in the infield," Matheny said. "Those sort of things are already playing out."

He also has been impressive defensively, as evidenced by his leaping catch in the eighth inning. He jumped for DJ LeMahieu's lineout to start the inning, which had an exit velocity of 102.5 mph, according to Statcast™, and made the catch look easy as he grinned from ear to ear after making the standout grab.

Although Bader has had success early, Matheny is confident that he will know how to handle himself in the Major Leagues alongside many other young players the Cardinals have called up this year, as well as the veterans.

"I think there's always that line where a guy has confidence, but still respect, and he's always been like that," Matheny said. "He showed up to Spring Training, you could tell he was respectful, but confident in his ability and looking forward to showing what he can do."

As seen in Bader's reactions to his outstanding plays in his first two games against the Rockies, he certainly is taking advantage of the opportunity and enjoying every inning he's playing in St. Louis.

"It's been a whirlwind in a sense, but at the same time, it's a lot of anticipation," Bader said on Tuesday. "You always dream about this moment, so you just take it and roll with it and kind of go from there."

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Harrison Bader