High socks do the trick for Wilson
Shortstop ends hitless streak with old-school look
HOUSTON -- The old-school high-socks look did its duty for Jack Wilson on Monday. The hit didn't fall until the ninth inning, but now Wilson can return the pants he borrowed from Doug Mientkiewicz and go back to the more modern uniform look on Tuesday.
"It's a good thing," Wilson joked. "It feels weird."
Admittedly a tad superstitious, Wilson sports the sock-over-the-pant look on rare occasions -- typically when a hitting slump dictates. The Pittsburgh shortstop did it for the first time this season on the Sunday before the All-Star break. He went 2-for-4.
And after enduring an 0-for-15 skid in four games out of the break, Wilson had the high black socks showing again on Monday. Though he went hitless in his first four at-bats, Wilson willed an RBI single to fall during the Pirates' seven-run ninth inning.
With the hit, Wilson is hopeful his post-break funk has dissipated.
"I've been playing baseball for a long time, and you're going to go through ruts like that," he said. "You've just got to stay level. You've got to stay upbeat. Even if you're 0-for-whatever, you've still got to help the team with whatever you can do."
The fact that the Pirates have two more games against the Astros would also seem to bode well for Wilson. The infielder has a .403 career average at Minute Maid Park. His nine homers in the ballpark are also the most anywhere other than along the banks of the Allegheny River.
While Wilson's recent slump was magnified by the fact that it came after the break and as the Pirates were swept in Colorado, Wilson's average has been hampered since he was moved to the ninth spot in the order at the start of the month.
Though baseball logic would suggest that hitting in front of the leadoff hitter rather than ahead of the pitcher would give Wilson more hittable pitches, the lineup shuffle has yet to benefit the Pittsburgh shortstop. In 18 games batting ninth, Wilson has a .234 average. He hit .245 out of the eighth hole.
Wilson doesn't attribute his down month to where he hits, though.
"Obviously, I just don't feel very good at the plate," Wilson said. "Everybody here has gone through it this year and hopefully this is it."
He's also counting on Monday being the last time he has to show those socks.
"You can't wear them out," Wilson explained. "I don't like doing it. It feels weird. But it's just a little superstition."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.