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Iowa's Jackson opens May with a bang05/02/2012 12:16 AM ET
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com
Brett Jackson considers himself a spark plug in the Iowa Cubs lineup. On Tuesday night, he and the team were firing on all cylinders.
The Cubs' No. 2 prospect went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a career-high four runs scored to lead Triple-A Iowa to a 13-4 rout of the Memphis Redbirds.
Jackson got things started quickly for the Cubs, leading off the game with a double and scoring on Dave Sappelt's double. Iowa batted around and Jackson doubled again, plating Matt Tolbert to cap the six-run first inning.
The 2009 first-round Draft pick ignited Iowa again in the fourth, bunting for a hit and scoring on Ty Wright's two-run double. An inning later, he singled home another run and scored on Adrian Cardenas' RBI single. Jackson was hit by a pitch in the ninth and scored ahead of Sappelt's third homer of the season.
"I like to think of myself as a catalyst for the lineup," said Jackson, who eclipsed his previous high of three runs scored, established most recently on Aug. 26. "When I get on base, with the guys in our lineup, it means more wins for the team. I can't praise the team enough for the outing tonight. I think everyone came up with a big hit tonight."
Jackson, who recorded his third career four-hit game and first since 2009, had been slumping, with two hits in his previous four games. The 23-year-old outfielder was batting .236 with 11 runs scored in his first 22 games. He raised that mark by 30 points Tuesday.
"April was a good growth month for me," Jackson said. "I endured some struggles and I'm looking forward to coming out of it and being a better player for it. I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead and putting what happened in April behind me.
"Obviously, you always want to succeed and get off to a good start, but the way I look at it is that it's forced me to make some adjustments that I wouldn't have made. I know there is a lot more to the player I am."
Jackson struck out in the sixth and expressed disappointment at missing out on a fifth hit.
"I would have liked to go 5-for-5," he said. "You almost have some disappointment about not getting a hit in that at bat. It's something I like to take pride in; I take every at-bat as if it's the most important one."
The 13 runs were a season high for Iowa, which improved to 10-14 but trails first-place Omaha by six games in the Pacific Coast League American North Division.
"I think this team has the ability to win a lot of games," Jackson said. "We're not too happy with our record after the first month. We talked about it in the clubhouse today; it's a new month. It's a big positive for us."
Sappelt finished with three hits and two RBIs, while Cardenas drove in three runs.
Jay Jackson (2-2) benefited from the offensive explosion and limited the Redbirds to three runs on six hits while striking out six over five innings.