ST. LOUIS -- Many of the 43,194 fans who attended the Cardinals' 3-1, 18-inning loss to the Mets at Busch Stadium on Sunday didn't stick around to see the game end, thanks in large part to Kolten Wong, who helped extend the game on two occasions.
The Cardinals' second baseman preserved the tie with his glove in the tenth and restored it in the 13th with a home run that ensured the teams would play their second 14-inning-plus game of the year after the Mets had broken a scoreless tie in the top half of the inning.
His effort embodied what manager Mike Matheny noticed from his whole team in the club's longest game of the season.
"I saw the toughness that I believe defines this team and almost a refuse to lose attitude, that we're going to keep coming," Matheny said.
It was no more evident than when Wong, who was 0-for-9 in the series, stepped to the plate to lead off the 13th against Mets reliever Jeurys Familia. The team faced a 1-0 deficit, and its bats had largely gone silent after producing 15 hits and 12 runs the night before.
With one swing, Wong changed the complexion of the game. He pulled a 1-0 fastball just inside the right-field foul pole, igniting the remaining fans and imploring his dugout.
"Obviously, it was more than necessary at the point to keep us going, and we all believe as soon as that happens it's our game," Matheny said.
It was Wong's 10th homer of the season and his first since June 25.
"He's a talent," Matheny said. "And in those big situations, he has a knack, and to me that's just mental toughness and being able to be prepared in those big situations and not let the situation get the better of you."
Wong flashed the leather in the tenth with two outs and the Mets' Daniel Murphy on third base representing the go-ahead run. Wong ranged far to his left to field a well-hit grounder from Wilmer Flores and fired off-balance to first, where Mark Reynolds scooped the throw to preserve the tie.
"If you look at the play Reynolds made at first base after picking that ball, and Kolten covers a lot of ground there. It's little things that happen to keep you in a game like that, especially to keep it at zero," Matheny said. "They played hard, just didn't get the big hit, the home run, whatever it was to push it across."
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.