NEW YORK -- Paul DeJong's run of franchise firsts continued on Monday with a homer that also helped lift the Cardinals to a 6-3 victory over the Mets.New York has gotten its fill of the rookie DeJong, who powered his way into the All-Star break at the expense of the
NEW YORK -- Paul DeJong's run of franchise firsts continued on Monday with a homer that also helped lift the Cardinals to a 6-3 victory over the Mets.
New York has gotten its fill of the rookie DeJong, who powered his way into the All-Star break at the expense of the Mets less than two weeks ago. DeJong homered in all three of those games, and he extended that streak with a two-run blast that sparked Monday's decisive six-run sixth.
With it, DeJong became the first player in Cardinals history to homer in four consecutive games against the Mets, eclipsing the three-game streak Jose Pujols put together from 2001-02. And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, DeJong is the only Cardinals player ever to go deep in his first four career games against any team.
"A lot of things have been good for me in these first 40 games, but I think I still have a long way to go and I can be a lot better," DeJong said. "I still have a few moments here or there where I'm like, 'Wow, I'm in the big leagues.'"
He had such a moment earlier in the day on Monday while visiting the Topps headquarters. There, DeJong got to see his new baseball cards, including one that depicts his first Major League at-bat -- also a home run.
Monday's blast was DeJong's ninth since then, making him the sixth player to reach double-digit home run totals for the Cardinals this season. Those 10 home runs have come in DeJong's first 40 career games. The only Cardinal to hit more in his first 40 games was Pujols, who tallied 14.
"I think that's one of the things that caught our eye -- how the ball did jump for him to all fields," manager Mike Matheny said. "Anybody in batting practice in Spring Training can yank balls out of the park, but to see a guy stay back and take a pitch the other way and hit it with authority, that can sometimes put him in a different category. He put up a big year in Memphis, which is not a hitter-friendly park. So there's no reason why the power shouldn't translate, and it apparently it has."
DeJong has hit a combined 23 home runs this season in 88 games split between St. Louis and Triple-A Memphis. Last season, he clubbed 22 in 132 Minor League games.
"His home run power to right-center and left-center is pretty awesome," teammate Adam Wainwright said. "You don't see many guys able to come up with a controlled, nice, easy swing, with good balance and be able to drive a ball out to right field. The last guy I saw do that was Allen Craig. David Freese could do that. But it doesn't happen often. It's pretty special."
The Mets, however, are all too familiar with DeJong's power. Even though he sandwiched Monday's home run with three strikeouts, DeJong is 10-for-17 with five runs, four doubles, four homers and six RBIs against the Mets this month. Nine days ago, the Mets watched as DeJong became the first Cardinals shortstop to tally four extra-base hits in one game.
Now he's one of 17 players to homer in at least four straight against the Mets. Only four players -- Yasmany Tomas, Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Howard and Hank Aaron -- have done so in five consecutive games.
"I'd have to say it's chance, honestly," DeJong said. "[I'm] just getting good pitches to hit. Tonight I was a little aggressive at times. But the homer mattered, and we got the win."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.