Pham finding his groove, swats first HR

Cards center fielder garners praise from bench coach Bell

Pham finding his groove, swats first HR

JUPITER, Fla. -- Tommy Pham said he wasn't sure where his first spring homer landed Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium. He said he didn't see it.

"I just knew off the bat it was gone," the center fielder said of his ninth-inning shot that tied the game in the Cardinals' 4-3 split-squad win over the visiting Astros. "It was a line drive. It's good to square the ball up in Spring Training."

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Pham went 2-for-3, raising his Grapefruit League batting average to .300, and also walked.

"He had a good day," said Cardinals bench coach David Bell, who managed one split-squad team while manager Mike Matheny was in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the game against the Mets. "Hard-hit balls, four quality at-bats."

Pham said that the toughest thing about trying to establish a rhythm at the plate is that hitters often see a different pitcher every at-bat.

"We're trying to get our timing and everything back into midseason form, so when you have a couple good at-bats, it's just a positive sign going forward," Pham said. "I felt like the last game I started to have better at-bats and it carried over to today. It's still a process, though. The main thing you want to look at is, am I swinging at strikes and am I putting good swings on the balls within the strike zone. I accomplished that today, so I want to stay there."

• Closer Trevor Rosenthal, who had struggled in his recent outings, gave up one hit and struck out two in one inning against the Astros. He lowered his spring ERA from 9.00 to 6.75. Left-hander Kevin Siegrist and right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon each registered two strikeouts in their one inning of work, in the eighth and ninth, respectively.

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.