Steele, Thompson kept cool in Tuesday's tense win over Dodgers

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cubs rookie pitchers started and finished Tuesday's extra-innings victory over the Dodgers. Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele, above, both talked about dealing with the emotions of the moment.

    Cubs rookie pitchers started and finished Tuesday's extra-innings victory over the Dodgers. Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele, above, both talked about dealing with the emotions of the moment. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/5/2021 8:27 PM

Cubs reliever Justin Steele got some good play on social media with his emotional outburst after striking out the Dodgers' Austin Barnes to close out the top of the ninth on Tuesday.

Before Wednesday's series finale, Steele talked about that moment.

 

"Something my mother always told me growing up was whenever you get the butterflies, just make sure they fly in formation," he said. "That's kind of what I was trying to do out there. Obviously, it's a high-intensity situation against the World Series champs. So getting out of that situation, starting with a runner in scoring position, felt very good."

Earlier in the game another Cubs rookie, Keegan Thompson, made his first major league start and second major league appearance. He talked about how the nighttime start was a much different experience than his single relief inning in Cincinnati on Sunday.

"On Sunday, out of the bullpen it's kind of hard to be in the head space to be nervous," Thompson said. "Today, you have all day to sit there and wait for your game to start. So the nerves were a little bit more today."

Thompson started the game by giving up a double to Mookie Betts, then a walk. But he got out of that jam and seemed to gain confidence. He ended up throwing 3⅔ scoreless innings.

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"I'm glad it looked like I was in control of my emotions, because inside it was a whirlwind," Thompson said. "It's just like a dream. Wrigley's one of the oldest stadiums in the league and such a cool atmosphere. Just to be a part of it, it's always been a dream to throw here, so it was really cool."

There's another connection between the two pitchers. Steele is from Lucedale, Miss., and Thompson from Cullman, Ala., so there's a Southern small town vibe with both of them.

"I'm a die-hard Alabama fan, my dad played there," Steele said, "and he played at Auburn, so we've got a friendly rivalry going on there."

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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