ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals have blasted 11 home runs in the 2014 postseason. In the six postseason games the Cardinals have played, 17 of their 23 runs have come off of home runs. St. Louis finished dead last in the National League in homers during the season, but power doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Redbirds right now.
“I think it's the postseason,” said Kolten Wong, moments after winning Game 2 of the NLCS with a walk-off blast. “You have so much adrenaline, so much excitement going on at this stage, things are going to happen. That’s the beauty of baseball.”
After being shut out Saturday night by Madison Bumgarner, four different Cardinals hit solo homers in Sunday night’s 5-4 win over the Giants. Home runs accounted for half of the Cards hits in the game.
“We knew as a team that this game was important for us, so we went out with the mentality of just playing hard,” said Matt Adams, who hit the third homer of the night. “We grinded out at the at-bats today, played good defense and just barreled balls up.”
The first homer came in the third inning off the bat of Matt Carpenter. His fourth home run of the postseason gave the Birds their first lead of the series. It took five more innings for another home run, this time from Oscar Taveras that tied the game. The pinch-hit homer was his first career postseason shot.
“I feel good and always stay focused,” Taveras said through a translator afterward. “I understand what we try to do, the best for winning the game. I feel grateful for the opportunity I received.”
The big shot of the night was Wong’s walk-off. As the lead-off batter in the bottom of the ninth, Wong said he just went up to the plate hoping to get on base.
“When I was walking in the dugout, AJ [Pierzynski] stopped me and he said, ‘Base hit, base hit swing.’ And after I hit it, I went looking for him. ‘AJ, where you at? Is that good enough for you?’” he laughed.
“I knew I hit the ball hard. How it came off the bat, I wasn’t sure,” Wong continued. “I made sure to get out of the box quick in case it hit the wall. I was in scoring position when it got over. When it did, I lost it a little bit and got a little excited.”
The walk-off homer was the first in the postseason for the Cardinals since David Freese’s in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. All four home runs were hit off different Giants’ pitchers.
“Throughout the season, people were worried about out power,” Adams said. “But we knew inside the clubhouse that we didn’t lose any power. We just have to go up there and have good at-bats and we know the home runs will come.”
Only the Kansas City Royals come close to matching the Cards in postseason home runs, sporting eight to go with their 2-0 ALCS lead.
The Cardinals now take their bats to the Bay, set for an afternoon tilt in Game 3.