Rookie infielder says foot slipped, rendering him unable to beat throw to first
By Chad Thornburg / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS — The outcome of Game 4 was clear across Kolten Wong’s face.
Fighting back emotions amid a pack of reporters just minutes after the Cardinals’ 4-2 loss to the Red Sox in the World Series on Sunday night, a dejected Wong rehashed the toughest moment of his young career.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Allen Craig lined a pinch-hit single to right field and Wong replaced him at first as a pinch-runner. After Matt Carpenter popped out for the second out, Carlos Beltran stepped into the box representing the tying run. Wong, who stole a base in Saturday’s Game 3, advanced a little too far toward second, slipped as he tried to get back and was picked off by Boston closer Koji Uehara.
“I just got a little off the base,” Wong said. “Wanted to go back, and my foot slipped on me. … I just got too far off and he made a good throw.”
After his failed slide attempt, Wong remained on his hands and knees for a few seconds as the Red Sox began to celebrate. He slammed his helmet to the ground, and then returned to the dugout, his eyes fixed on the ground.
“Well, he knew, we had meetings early on, we go over all these guys,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “We talk very clearly about a very good pickoff move. He was reminded once he got on base, and also reminded that run didn’t mean much, [to be] be careful, shorten up. And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him.”
Just one night earlier, the rookie second baseman was enjoying one of the best moments of his career. He knocked his first hit of the postseason and stole a base in his first World Series appearance. Twenty-four hours later, the emotions had completely flipped.
“A roller coaster,” Wong said. “Just got to keep going.”
It was the first time in World Series history that a game ended with a pickoff.
“I feel bad for the kid, because I know that he’s trying to steal the base and put himself in a position where he can score, and he ended up getting picked off,” Beltran said. “It has to be a bad feeling for him, but at the same time, I feel that the best way for us to pick him up is being able to come here [Monday] and get a win.”
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.