Slugger LaHair keeps hammering away

Slugger LaHair keeps hammering away

Slugger LaHair keeps hammering away
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair tries to avoid looking at his impressive offensive numbers.

Instead, LaHair, one of the early-season surprises in the National League, prefers to concentrate on the Cubs' win column. He helped the Cubs notch another victory with a 3-for-4 performance, including a two-run blast, in Chicago's 6-4 victory at Busch Stadium on Monday.

"Right now, I'm just focusing on winning games, not what I am hitting and how I am doing," he said. "Whenever a player focuses in just on winning, that is usually when he usual does well as an individual too."

LaHair finished the game against the Cardinals hitting .356. He has reached safely in a team-high 31 successive games, which is the longest such streak by a Cubs first baseman since Phil Cavarretta reached base safely in 32 straight games in his Most Valuable Player season of 1945.

LaHair, who entered the season with a .263 average in 195 big league at-bats, has a team-high nine home runs and is second with 20 RBIs. He homered in five of eight games from April 24-May 3. Six of his round-trippers have either tied the game or given the Cubs the lead.

LaHair has hit four of his home runs against the world-champion Cardinals.

"I've been trying to slow things down and hit some balls hard," he said.

Manager Dale Sveum has been extremely pleased with LaHair so far.

"He's had a great first six weeks," he said. "He's been everything we've hoped he would and then some. We really needed some offense out of somebody. It's been great to see."

Sveum said LaHair is capable of continuing his roll even as teams around the league start to notice his hot start.

"Hopefully, it just continues and he adjusts to everything that's going to happen," Sveum said. "When you start having that success, people start adjusting to you and you've got to adjust too."

LaHair is a low-key person -- yet he carries around a quiet confidence.

"I've always had success," he said. "I know it hasn't always been at the big league level, but I did the best I could until the opportunity came around. I'm a big believer in playing the cards you are dealt. For a long time, my cards were Triple-A and the Minor Leagues.

"Now, I'm playing some big league cards and I'm trying to play them well."