Craig hitless in Game 5 start

News-DemocratOctober 28, 2013 

Cards second baseman Matt Carpenter talks Monday about the contributions of injured teammate Allen Craig.

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— Allen Craig was a surprise starter in Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

Craig was hitless in three at-bats, grounding into a second-inning double play, bouncing to second in the fifth and rolling to third in the eighth.

Before the game, he told manager Mike Matheny he could play after taking ground balls at first base.

"Everything seem to respond well today," Matheny said. "We'll see. We'll evaluate him tomorrow and get a look at him.

"But most likely I imagine he'll be in there as a deisgnated hitter."

The start for Craig was his first since Sept. 4 in Cincinnati.when he suffered a sprained left foot after rounding first on a base hit.

Craig doubled and singled as a pinch-hitter in Game 3 and Game 4 at Busch Stadium.

More than four hours before the game Monday, Matheny said Craig would not start, but would be available to pinch-hit. The plan was to have him ready to be the Cardinals' designated hitter for Game 6 on Wednesday in Boston.

Craig was 4-for-9 entering Game 5. He had one hit apiece in Game 1 and Game 2 as the designated hitter in Boston.

Wong under their wing

Cardinal players spent Sunday night and Monday boosting the spirits of Cardinals rookie Kolten Wong, near tears after he was picked off to end Game 4 on Sunday night.

The message: Don't kick yourself. And move on.

"We've got a couple of guys, myself included, that have said some things to him," Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter said Monday afternoon. "Certainly the message most importantly being that that was not the reason we lost the game. That's how the game ended but it's not -- certainly it was not the reason we lost. There were a lot of other factors that were in play.

"That's the way baseball goes sometimes. Those things happen. We are human. We make mistakes."

Wong, pinch-running with two out in the ninth, took a misstep toward second before Boston closer Koji Uehara picked him off -- the first time a World Series game has ended in that fashion. What's worse, it took the bat out of the hands of Carlos Beltran, the best postseason hitter of his generation and representing the tying run.

"You see a young player in a big situation, and he knows that's not how he wanted it to play out," Matheny said. "And the moment just got the best of him. And yeah, it affected him because he's human and he cares."

Matheny said a number of teammates took Wong under their wing.

"They've helped him through (his) troubles because they've been there," Matheny said. "Maybe not getting picked off to end a game in the World Series, but they've had their issues that we've all had, decisions that we've made that didn't necessarily work out. ... You go back through your mind and you figure out what happened and what you'd like to have done differently. And then you learn from it and you move on."

Big Papi comes up big

Boston slugger David Ortiz had three hits and a walk, including an RBI double in the first.

He is hitting .733 (11-for-15) in the series.

"He's having a great series," said Boston manager John Farrell, who scoffed at a reporter's suggest Ortiz has already clinched the sesries MVP award. "The one thing we won't do is get too far ahead of ourselves, whether that's what we achieve collectively or what any individual's performance suggests.

"But he's in a really good place, obviously."

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