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Taveras, Wacha take flight for Redbirds05/11/2013 2:16 AM ET
By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com
What's becoming ho-hum in Memphis could become exciting in St. Louis before long.
Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras went 4-for-5 with a homer, double, three RBIs and two runs scored, and No. 4 prospect Michael Wacha gave up two runs on three hits over six innings Friday as Triple-A Memphis pounded Sacramento, 10-3.
Taveras -- MLB.com's No. 3 overall prospect -- got things going in the first inning with a solo shot off River Cats starter Travis Banwart. The blast was the outfielder's fourth of the season and first since May 2. He added singles in the fifth and sixth before doubling in two more runs in the eighth.
It was Taveras' second four-hit performance in his last five games after going 4-for-7 in an 11-4, 12-inning win over Omaha on Monday and third of the season.
Over those last five contests, the 20-year-old outfielder is 11-for-24 (.458) with five extra-base hits and eight RBIs. He's raised his batting average 38 points to .319, the highest it's been since April 14. His .496 slugging percentage and .851 OPS also sit at their highest spots in a month.
"I got to see him in big league camp this spring and every time he gets in the box, he's going to fight you to the end," Memphis manager Ron "Pop" Warner told MiLB.com after the slugger's first four-hit performance. "Once he gets into those legs and gets the hips and arms going, he's going to battle you. He's really tough to pitch to, no matter who you are."
On the mound, Wacha (4-0) was busy spinning his team-best fourth quality start. After retiring the first four River Cats, he gave up a solo homer to Shane Peterson in the second and allowed Andy Parrino to score following a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly one inning later.
The 21-year-old right-hander buckled down after giving up his third hit of the night, retiring 11 batters in a row to wrap up his outing after six innings and 86 pitches. He struck out five and did not allow a walk.
Wacha has yielded one run or fewer in each of his last five starts, dating back to a seven-inning shutout performance against New Orleans on April 18.
After being selected 19th overall in last year's Draft, MLB.com's No. 78 prospect boasts a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through seven starts in his first full Minor League season. Those statistics rank fourth and second, respectively, in the Pacific Coast League.
Ryan Jackson, J.R. Towles and Justin Christian also went deep for Memphis, with Towles and Christian going back-to-back off reliever Darren Byrd in the sixth.
Peterson led the River Cats with two hits, including his third homer, and two RBIs.