ST. LOUIS — Before Sunday night, no World Series game had ever ended with a runner being picked off. So no player knows the feeling of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Kolten Wong, who was nabbed by Boston closer Koji Uehara off first base to end Game 4 — with Cardinals slugger Carlos Beltran at the plate.
“My foot slipped on me,” Wong told reporters late Sunday night.
He was, in fact, inconsolable, trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears at his locker during postgame interviews. A first-round draft pick in 2011 who played in just 32 regular season games, Wong said he was not trying to steal. Uehara, though, hadn’t made a throw to first base during the entire postseason, and caught him leaning the wrong way.
“I’m aware of what’s going on,” Wong said. “Just got a little too far off, and the back foot slipped out.”
The Cardinals, then, were left to prop Wong back up Monday before Game 5. Second baseman Matt Carpenter said he and other players had spoken to Wong to make him understand “that was not the reason we lost the game.”
“It affected him because he’s human and he cares,” Manager Mike Matheny said. “. . . You figure out how to get through it. But there’s nothing wrong with sitting on it for a while, too, and that’s what he was doing last night. I think that’s healthy.”
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday has perhaps the most analogous experience. Holliday was picked off first in the top of the eighth inning of Game 2 of the 2007 World Series in Boston, when Holliday played for Colorado. Boston won by a run.
“We are human,” Carpenter said. “We make mistakes, and let’s not make it more than it is.”
The Cardinals, who entered Game 5 hitting just .235 and slugging just .309 in the World Series, altered their lineup significantly Monday, adding first baseman Allen Craig, who made his first appearance in the field since Sept. 4, when he suffered a left foot injury that cost him more than six weeks.
Craig, who went 2 for 2 as a pinch hitter in Games 3 and 4 and was 4 for 9 in the Series, wasn’t inserted until about 90 minutes before the first pitch, after he had tested his foot. He hit sixth, replacing Matt Adams — who had hit cleanup and played first in Craig’s absence.
But the move did little good, as Craig went hitless in three at-bats against Boston left-hander Jon Lester.
However, Robinson went 0 for 3. Jay had been 2 for 13 in the World Series. . . .
Shane Victorino, the Red Sox’ regular right fielder, was out of the lineup again because of back tightness, though Boston Manager John Farrell said he was “much-improved.” . . .
Clay Buchholz, hampered by a shoulder injury, had volunteered to be available for Game 7, Farrell said.