(Busch Stadium) Normally, Paul DeJong is about as even keel as they come. But when a guy hits his first walk-off home run, he’s going to cut loose and the St. Louis Cardinals shortstop did just that–letting out an emotional yell as teammates mobbed him at the plate following his 9th inning homerun to give them a 7-6 victory over Washington tonight.
“Yeah, I was pretty excited–my first walk-off home run,” smiled DeJong afterwards. “I had three walk-offs in Double A–two homers and double, but those don’t count. This is the only one that counts.”
Jedd Gyorko hit a solo blast in the 8th to cut the lead to 4-3 and then with a base open, Matt Carpenter made Washington pay for pitching to him by hitting a go-ahead 3-run shot to put St. Louis on top. After Bud Norris allowed two runs in the top of the 9th, DeJong delivered his 380 foot liner into the Washington bullpen.
“I lost my voice earlier when Carp hit that bomb, said DeJong. “I was just happy that I came through in the situation. I love playing with this team. Love the walk-off wins, seems like we have the most in the big leagues. Always fun to win like that.”
The walk-off was the 10th of the season, seven by home run, for the Cardinals and DeJong is the sixth different player to have the honors.
“We’ve just got a lot of positive momentum,” said DeJong. “Six straight wins…coming off a good road trip. We stayed in the game the whole time. We didn’t give up, even when Bud gave up a couple runs down there in the 9th. I was going into my at-bat, ready to do something good and pass the baton. I think it just shows how much we pull together as a group.”
In each of these six straight wins, DeJong has an RBI and credited Harrison Bader with pointing out a small adjustment to lower his hands before swinging.
“Just a little more comfortable position,” said DeJong. “I don’t think it was anything I changed, it was more like getting back to who I am. Now I just feel more natural, like I was last year and I think it’s showing.”
The Cardinals are now 64-55 with nine games above .500 being their best mark of the season.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports