(BaseballStL) — Kolten Wong said after his walk off homer on July 8 he wasn’t used to being the guy trotting toward the celebration.
“I’m definitely not the kind of guy to hit a home run, but I’m glad it happened to me,” he said after his bomb beat the Pirates that night. “I didn’t know what to do.”
By the end of Thursday night, he’s likely getting accustomed to it.
The Cardinal second baseman had enough power to light a village in the finale with Boston, hammering two balls to right field for two of the five St. Louis runs.
The first came in the fifth off starter Brandon Workman; a 384 foot rope just over the wall to make the game 4-2.
“I hit it to the right spot,” Wong said. “Down the line, it plays pretty fair here. Anything in those gaps or especially center field, it’s tough.”
The second would have left any park in the country, as the quick-swinging lefty hammered a seventh inning pitch 423 feet to right to make the lead 5-2.
“He’s got some pop man, good lord,” said starter Adam Wainwright. “He hit a couple of those balls tonight and really the last couple of weeks he’s shown his power potential. He’s got a lot of juice.”
Wong’s hands are lightning fast in the field, but at the plate, they turn the 5’9 infielder into a home run threat.
“He’s got really impressive bat speed, always has,” Mike Matheny said after the game. “We talked about that since the day he got here.”
For Wong, the secret to big power has been avoiding the temptation to showcase it. He has focused on making good swings instead of powerful ones and put the idea of home runs out of his head- at least until he’s enjoying them during his trot.
“The biggest thing is not trying to swing super hard. I’ve been telling myself every at bat not to swing too hard,” he said. “If I feel myself swinging hard I’ll step out. I think people think I’m crazy, because I’m talking to myself at home plate.”
“That usually leads to bad things,” Matheny agreed. “I haven’t seen really anybody in this league that goes up there trying to hit home runs and [not seen] a swing fall apart.”
Wong is the first St. Louis second baseman to hit two homers in a game since Tyler Greene did it against Houston in May of 2012, and both came with two outs in the inning.
Last chance production is becoming something of a specialty for Wong, who has 25 two-out RBIs in 2014, and an average of .338 with one out to go.
There’s no secret his success, he says, just simply refusing to give up on any at bat.
“I hate giving away an at bat by swinging at a bad pitch or getting myself out somehow,” he said.
Wong now has nine homers, just three behind Matt Holliday and Matt Adams for second on the team.