The Diamondbacks are finally showing their youth. Showing it off on a national stage, that is.
Chris Young and Stephen Drew may not be old enough to rent a car, but they helped drive the D-Backs to within a game of winning this NL division series with an 8-4 Game 2 victory over the Chicago Cubs before 48,575 fans at Chase Field on Thursday night.
The Cubs put two runners on base with one out in the ninth, but closer Jose Valverde struck out Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez to end the game, getting both on 96-mph fastballs.
Forget the billy goat.
It has been all about the kids.
Young, 24, hit a three-run home run, his 33rd of the season, in a four-run second inning against Ted Lilly to key the D-Backs’ 40th comefrom-behind victory of the season.
Three weeks ago, without much fanfare, Young became the first rookie in major league history with 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases when he stole second base in San Francisco on Sept. 12.
Drew, also 24, singled and scored in the second inning, then added a two-run triple in the fourth for a 6-2 lead as Doug Davis recorded his fifth victory in his last six starts against the Cubs.
Drew had his second two-hit game of the playoffs and has 16 hits in his last 37 at-bats after finishing the regular season on a 12-for-29 run.
After a travel day, the D-Backs will send Livan Hernandez to the mound as they try for the clinching victory Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
No team in the 12-year history of the NL division series has lost the first two games and won the series, although it has happened four times in the American League.
The last time the D-Backs had a 2-0 lead in a postseason series was against the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
The Cubs are one game from turning their World Series drought to triple digits. They have not won a Series since 1908.
Ex-Cub Augie Ojeda also had two hits, singling in a run in a two-run fifth inning on a line drive that struck lefthander Scott Eyre in his pitching hand and forced him out of the game. Ojeda is hitting .571 in the playoffs.
Davis executed a successful squeeze play for the D-Backs’ final run of the sixth inning, laying down bunt far enough in front of the plate to score a charging Justin Upton from third base.
Davis, Game 1 starter Brandon Webb and the D-Backs’ bullpen have silenced the first four batters in the Cubs’ order.
That quartet was 1-for-16 with 0 RBIs in Game 1. A slightly different grouping was 4-for-19 with 0 RBIs in Game 2. All the hits have been singles.
Leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano is 2-for-10 with four strikeouts in the first two games. He had two singles in Game 2, although one hit was a line drive off the left-center fence that he turned into a single by not running full speed out of the batter’s box.
Davis won his second game of the season against the Cubs, improving his career record against them to 8-5, while giving up only a Geovany Soto two-run home run in the second inning.
Davis, who left to a standing ovation with two outs in the sixth inning, improved to 9-2 in the second half, and the D-Backs have won 13 of his last 16 starts.
Cubs pinch-hitter Daryle Ward greeted Juan Cruz with a two-run double, but Cruz struck out Soriano to end the threat. Tony Pena and Brandon Lyon each pitched a scoreless inning before Valverde finished.