Wong walkoff HR gives Cards 5-4 win over Pirates
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kolten Wong was sitting on a fastball, hoping for extra bases to get something going in the ninth inning.
The rookie downplayed his power after giving the St. Louis Cardinals their second straight game-winning, ninth-inning home run on a two-out, full-count drive that soared well beyond the right field wall.
“I’m definitely not the kind of guy to hit a home run,” Wong said after the 5-4 victory stunned the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. “Usually, I’m always that guy there getting ready to jump on someone coming home.
“For me to be switches places with someone, that was awesome.”
A night earlier, Wong was part of the joyous celebration at the plate after Matt Adams hit his first career game-winning homer. He was just about to douse “Big City” with two cups of water before catcher Yadier Molina tackled him.
This time, it was Wong getting mobbed. He said his last game-winning homer came in college at Hawaii against Louisiana Tech.
“It was a little scary, I saw those big guys and I didn’t know if I was going to get beat-up or what,” Wong said. “It was awesome, seeing those guys and how excited they were. This is a huge win for us.”
Ernesto Frieri (1-1) got two routine outs before Wong, batting eighth, hit his third homer on a full count.
“I give him credit,” Frieri said. “That was a really good at-bat. I didn’t want to walk him, I don’t want to put the winning run on base.”
The drive over the right-field wall was estimated at 420 feet. On Monday night, Matt hit his first winner off Justin Wilson in a 2-0 victory.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had two tough losses and it probably isn’t going to be the last time this year,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s what makes the season so interesting.
“Great crowd, exciting games, one swing of the bat at the end changed the game, and shower up and get ready to play again tomorrow.”
The Cardinals last had consecutive game-winning homers when Albert Pujols twice beat the Cubs on June 4 and 5, 2011. They have four game-winners this season overall.
Wong also gave the Cardinals the early lead with a two-run double in the second.
Trevor Rosenthal (1-4) struck out Starling Marte on three pitches with two on to end the ninth.
Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen hit two-run homers off Carlos Martinez, in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and McCutchen’s 14th of the season put them up 4-2. Alvarez has 100 career homers with 14 homers and 47 RBIs against St. Louis, most of any opponent.
Matt Holliday had been 2 for 14 on the homestand before tying it with a two-run double off Vance Worley in the fifth. He batted second the previous 14 games while battling a slump and manager Mike Matheny put him back in his usual third slot Wednesday with Jon Jay batting second to give the top of the lineup more flexibility to bunt and hit and run.
Holliday took a called third strike and bounced out before the double for his first multi-RBI game since June 15.
Martinez allowed four runs in six innings, the longest of his five starts this season. Worley lasted five innings, the shortest of his five starts this season with Pittsburgh, and the four runs was the most he’s allowed.
NOTES: Rookie Gregory Polanco singled his first three trips for Pittsburgh and Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras had his first career multihit game with two singles. ... The Pirates are expected to recall Brandon Cumpton (3-0, 4.61) from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday to start in place of Gerrit Cole against the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (9-6, 3.17). Cole will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tight lat muscle. Cumpton beat the Cardinals in his major league debut last season, throwing seven scoreless innings. The Pirates consider Cole’s injury minor and he was due to play catch Tuesday. ... Hurdle unsuccessfully challenged after Neil Walker tripled in the fifth, but was then picked off by Molina in the fifth. Molina has three pickoffs this season and 45 for his career, most among active catchers. ... Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek worked a perfect eighth for his 14th consecutive scoreless appearance over 11 2-3 innings.