Michael Wacha hadn't earned a victory for Memphis for a couple months, but the only thing on his mind has been finding his way back to St. Louis.
The Cardinals' No. 2 prospect struck out seven and gave up two hits over six innings as Triple-A Memphis blanked Tucson, 3-0, on Tuesday.
Wacha, who had been winless for the Redbirds since May 10, faced two over the minimum while throwing 54 of his 82 pitches for strikes. The 22-year-old right-hander retired the last 10 batters he faced in a row.
"I was just trying to attack the hitters," Wacha said. "Trying to get the first pitch over for a strike and then going from there. Working both sides of the plate with all my pitches. Mainly just the fastball and changeup for the strikeouts.
"[Catcher Travis] Tartamella was working good back there. We were mixing it up quite a bit, and the second time through, I was able to keep them off-balance."
The Iowa native is 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 14 Pacific Coast League starts for Memphis. Wacha also made three starts in the Majors, going 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA for the Cardinals. With the trade deadline coming up Wednesday, players of Wacha's caliber often get mentioned, but it's something he tries not to think about.
"I just try and block out the trade rumors and focus on my start," he said. "I have no control over what goes on. I just try and worry about what I can control and that's going out there and pitching when I'm supposed to."
While he can't control when he gets back to St. Louis, he knows improvement on the mound could help him the Cardinals make that decision. To that end, Wacha feels his biggest need is to accumulate innings.
"Just keep continuing to pitch," the 2012 first-round pick said. "Get some innings under my belt and the rest will continue to take care of itself. If I pitch well, hopefully I'll get up there in September, but who knows what the plan is?"
Sam Freeman earned his second save after allowing two hits over the final 1 1/3 frames.
Brock Peterson slugged a solo homer in the sixth inning and Greg Garcia was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for the Redbirds.