Surging Wong leads Cardinals vs. Padres
ST. LOUIS — Overshadowed only somewhat by Luke Weaver’s dominant pitching Wednesday night in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-2 win over the San Diego Padres was what Kolten Wong did to ignite the offense.
Hitting leadoff for the night with first baseman Matt Carpenter laid up at home with a virus, Wong punched out three hits in five at-bats. He scored three runs and stole two bases in the eighth inning, setting up his final run.
That gave Wong a .314 average for the year, as well as a six-game hitting streak in which he has gone 10-for-22. He’ll look to make it a seven-game run in Thursday night’s series finale at Busch Stadium.
“It’s just understanding the kind of hitter I am,” he said of his success this year. “I hit it in the gaps and run. That works for me. I don’t try to do too much. I just let the game come to me.”
Wong’s 24 doubles are just four off the team lead, which is impressive considering he has played in just 84 games due to injuries. His on-base percentage is a career-high .396, thanks to an improving eye, as he has drawn 29 walks and been hit by pitches 10 times.
“From Day 1, I’ve just told myself to have quality at-bats,” he said.
Wong’s defense has also improved — after a shaky start that saw him leak errors, often after making the kind of great plays his range and arm make possible.
Aside from stranding 12 baserunners, there was a lot to like about St. Louis’ effort Wednesday night. Thanks to Weaver’s seven shutout innings, it ended a 12-game streak of allowing at least five runs.
Carlos Martinez (10-9, 3.57 ERA) will try to follow in Weaver’s footsteps Thursday night. Martinez has won three straight starts, including an 11-10 decision Friday night in Pittsburgh that saw him pitch seven innings, allowing six hits, a walk and three runs while striking out four.
Martinez has faced San Diego six times in his career, three as a starter, going 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA. The one victory came last July in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at Busch, a 4-2 verdict.
Former Cardinals farmhand Luis Perdomo (6-8, 4.93) gets the call for the Padres. Picked in the 2015 Rule V Draft, Perdomo will make his first career start against St. Louis. He pitched an inning against it last April and permitted three runs.
The sinker-balling righty is coming off a 7-1 loss Friday night to Washington at Petco Park, being tagged with six hits and five runs (three earned) over six innings. Perdomo’s induced 22 double-play balls, fourth among all pitchers.
San Diego is hoping for a bit more control from its hurlers in this one. The Padres set a franchise record by hitting five batters Wednesday night, four by starter Jhoulys Chacin. They also issued six walks and threw a wild pitch.
“It was a fight from the beginning,” San Diego manager Andy Green said of Chacin’s outing. “There late, it was clearly a struggle.”