Wong, Gast key Cardinals' victory

Former No. 1 pick gets three hits; starter goes seven innings

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | April 6, 2012 8:11 PM ET

Kolten Wong made a slight adjustment in his batting stance during the offseason, planting his front foot earlier to keep himself from lunging in the batter's box. The 5-foot-9 Cardinals prospect said he hoped the change to his pre-pitch leg kick would lead to, if even indirectly, "a lot more home runs."

He'll settle for three bases out of four.

St. Louis' No. 6 prospect collected two triples -- equaling his total in 47 games last season -- and three RBIs on Friday night to support starter John Gast in Double-A Springfield's 4-1 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders.

Facing left-hander Miguel De Los Santos, the left-handed-hitting Wong singled in the first inning, struck out in the third and tripled home two runs in the fifth.

"He was really good and he kept us off-balance," Wong said. "I just saw the pitch out of his hand, the changeup, that I hit for the triple."

Wong, who batted second and played second base, tripled in another run in the eighth while matched up against right-hander Wilfredo Boscan. He went 3-for-4 overall.

"It's a little better because you can see what [the pitcher] did to the first guy," said Wong, who mostly led off in 2011, about being slotted second. "That also allows me to have more RBIs."

Wong, who went 1-for-3 in his Double-A debut on Opening Day, was the Cards' first-round pick last June. The Hawaii native batted .335 and collected 22 extra-base hits, including five homers, and 25 RBIs in 47 games at Class A Quad Cities in his first pro season. He was 13-for-46 (.283) against lefties.

"Hopefully, I can do what I did last year," Wong said. "Hopefully, maybe, a lot more home runs."

Gast (1-0) yielded only a third-inning double to Alex Buchholz and a fourth-inning single to Chris McGuiness through six frames. The Cards' No. 9 prospect had retired seven straight before Mike Olt, the Rangers' No. 3 prospect, smacked a 1-0 offering in the seventh over the left-field fence.

"Gast made that one mistake," Wong said. "That's what happens when a guy is going to sit on pitch -- he's not going to miss it."

Gast issued his first walk of the night, to McGuiness, before retiring his final two batters to end the seventh. The 23-year-old left-hander struck out seven.

From his vantage point, Wong said Gast's fastball-changeup-curveball mix was on point. The infielder also admired his pitcher's pickoff move: Gast caught McGuiness wandering off first base in the fourth.

"He has one of the best moves I've seen," said Wong, who stole nine bases last year. "He basically scared their whole team; nobody took a lead off him the rest of the night."

A 2010 sixth-round pick, Gast went 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 13 outings at Springfield in 2011.

Jorge Rondon followed up Keith Butler's scoreless eighth with a solid ninth for his first save.

De Los Santos (0-1) allowed two runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out eight.

Olt also singled in four at-bats, while leadoff man Jurickson Profar, Texas' top prospect, went 0-for-4.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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