Rafael Montero is a fast mover.
No wonder the Redbirds couldn't catch up to him on Sunday.
The Mets' No. 4 prospect carried a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning and ended up matching the longest outing of his career as Triple-A Las Vegas defeated Memphis, 4-2, at AutoZone Park.
Montero (3-3) allowed a run on four hits in all, striking out four batters without issuing a walk. He threw 67 of 100 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 3.88 in 11 Pacific Coast League Starts.
The 22-year-old right-hander gave up a one-out single in the first to Ryan Jackson, then retired 19 batters in a row. The streak ended in the seventh on a one-out double by Cardinals No. 4 prospect Kolten Wong, who'd worked the count full. One out later, Greg Garcia reached on an infield hit that ended Montero's shutout bid.
The native of the Dominican Republic worked a 1-2-3 eighth, retiring Audry Perez, Chad Huffman and Mike O'Neill on fly balls. It was the second time since the Mets signed him as a non-drafted free agent in January 2011 that Montero pitched eight innings, with the other coming on June 1, 2012 for Class A Savannah.
Montero split last year, his first full season in the Minor Leagues, between Savannah and Class A Advanced St. Lucie, going 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA. He began this season at Double-A Binghamton and went 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 11 starts before moving up to Las Vegas.
Greg Burke was charged with a run in the ninth, but Robert Carson recorded the final out for his eighth save.
Michael Wacha (5-3), St. Louis' second-ranked prospect, matched zeros with Montero until the fourth. That's when Mets No. 8 prospect Wilmer Flores smacked his 15th homer and Zach Lutz delivered an RBI double and scored on a base hit by Matt den Dekker.
Wacha, who gave up one run over 12 innings in his previous two outings, was charged with three runs on six hits over five frames.