"No, I don't like it at all," said Howard, who has grown accustomed to seeing four infielders on the right side of the infield when he steps to the plate. "That's four hits. I mean, again, it's nothing that I'm doing wrong, I'm hitting the ball hard. It's just right at guys playing shifts. So, all you can do is continue to swing."
Sandwiched around Howard's fourth-inning solo homer were three hard-hit balls that found Wong positioned in shallow right field. Wong threw Howard out at first each time.
"At some point, you kind of feel bad because he hits two line drives and a ground ball right at me," Wong said. "I'm playing pretty deep. If I'm playing up close, I don't know if I'm making those plays at all. It definitely helps having that shift and being able to cover more ground, as opposed to being as close as we usually are.
"That just shows the kind of respect we have for him. We know the guy can hit. We're trying to do whatever we can to put ourselves in a situation to make a play on him."
The Cardinals have become more active in deploying defensive shifts in recent years, though they're not among the most aggressive. According to data released by Baseball Info Solutions last week, the Cardinals did not rank in the top half of the Majors in number of defensive shifts over the first two weeks of the season.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.