Wong back on track with 3-hit night

Wong back on track with 3-hit night

ATLANTA -- Had the official scorer been a bit more generous, Kolten Wong would have finished Saturday's 12-2 win with his third career four-hit game. Manager Mike Matheny even boldly noted that Wong could have been credited with a five-hit performance.

As it was, Wong settled for the three uncontested hits he collected while reaching base five times in what was a banner night for the lower third of the Cardinals' lineup, which went 6-for-14 with five runs scored and three RBIs. It was an especially uplifting performance for Wong, who began the week utterly bamboozled by Pittsburgh lefty Francisco Liriano.

Twice unable to come through in bases-loaded spots in that Opening Day loss, Wong has hit safely in four games since.

"It is encouraging," Wong said afterward. "My timing is still a little off. I'm out in front of a lot of pitches and falling on my front foot a little too hard. But it's still early. I understand that now and am just trying to enjoy playing every day, not worried if I get a hit or not."

On a night when the Cardinals tallied 14 hits and took 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Wong sparked three run-scoring innings with leadoff singles. His aggressiveness breaking to home on a second-inning ground ball gave the Cardinals their first run, and three times he advanced an extra base when a ball got past the catcher.

Wong scores on a wild pitch

Wong reached twice on errors, as well, though the Cardinals have already petitioned the league to change Nick Markakis' third-inning miscue into another hit for their second baseman. Markakis lost the ball in the lights and couldn't recover in time to make the catch.

Markakis error scores Piscotty

Wong later reached in the ninth inning when Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia couldn't handle Wong's sharply hit ground ball.

Regardless how he reached, Wong acknowledged that he's simply pleased to have some offensive momentum back after that forgettable showing against Liriano. He's the only Cardinals player who has reached base in each of the team's first five games, and he leads the team with four runs scored.

"I like where he is right now," Matheny said. "And I'm sure he does, too."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.