When Tyler O'Neill made his Major League debut in April, the brute strength that helped him to be one of the best power hitters in the Minors did not go unnoticed. Upon returning to Triple-A Memphis, the showcases of power have not subsided but, in fact, become commonplace.
The Cardinals No. 2 prospect went deep twice to register the 12th multi-homer game of his career as the Redbirds blanked the Isotopes, 11-0, on Wednesday at Isotopes Park. The performance marked the career-best fourth two-homer effort this season for O'Neill, who stands fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 15 long balls.
Video: Memphis' O'Neill belts second homer
The 22-year-old earned his first call to the Majors on April 16 and has since shuttled back and forth to St. Louis twice. Over 16 total games with the Cardinals, he hit three homers and a double, driving in seven runs and batting .237 in 38 at-bats.
O'Neill last was optioned back to Memphis on May 31 and has continued to produce in the PCL. Through 32 June at-bats, MLB.com's No. 74 overall prospect has compiled a .313/.450/.563 slash line with eight walks, six RBIs and six runs scored.
Gameday box score
On Wednesday night, O'Neill caught hold of a 3-2 pitch from Albuquerque starter Nelson Gonzalez in the first inning and sent it sailing over the left-field fence. He got another chance against the right-hander with runners at the corners in the third and bounced into a forceout that drove in a run before scoring on Rangel Ravelo's base hit to left.
With the Redbirds leading, 7-0, O'Neill grounded into a double play in the fourth to cap Gonzalez's night. The British Columbia native bounced out again in the sixth, but jumped on the first offering from lefty Mason Melotakis with two outs in the ninth and smacked it out to left.
Patrick Wisdom followed with a homer to complete Memphis' second back-to-back blasts of the game. Ravelo and Adolis Garcia went yard in succession to start the second.
Third-ranked Cardinals prospect Dakota Hudson (8-2) did his best to reward the Redbirds' high-powered offense, posting eight scoreless frames while yielding four hits and four walks and striking out six. The right-hander lowered his ERA to a league-best 2.18, surpassing teammate Daniel Poncedeleon, the 30th-ranked St. Louis prospect.
Hudson, who did not allow a run over six frames in his previous start against Tacoma on June 7, threw 66 of 104 pitches for strikes.