Harrison Bader came through in big spots for his team twice Thursday night. To hear him tell it, he was just repaying his teammates.St. Louis' No. 5 prospect blasted a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give his team the lead and a solo shot in the sixth to
Harrison Bader came through in big spots for his team twice Thursday night. To hear him tell it, he was just repaying his teammates.
St. Louis' No. 5 prospect blasted a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give his team the lead and a solo shot in the sixth to pad it as Triple-A Memphis downed El Paso, 6-4.
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"To be completely honest with you, I have to give my teammates and my coaching staff a lot of credit with little talks, helping me out, sticking with me," Bader said after his third career multi-homer game and first since last May 10 with Double-A Springfield at Tulsa. "I haven't been off to the best start of my career in pro ball, but a lot of my teammates have always been in my corner, always been behind me."
Bader showed signs of shaking off his early season slumber with his fifth multi-hit contest in his last nine games. In the bottom of the fourth, the center fielder connected on a 2-1 offering from El Paso starter Matt Magill and sent a two-run shot over the left-field wall to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead. Two innings later, he took Magill deep again on a one-out solo blast to left-center.
"In Triple-A, it's kind of your first real exposure to understanding the game, understanding what the pitcher's trying to do to you," said Bader, who spent 49 games in the Pacific Coast League last year.
"Getting thrown into the fire last year, starting here again this year, it's great. The failure, as much as you want to shy away from it and kind of get annoyed at it, it really honestly is great. It's what propels you moving forward. Ultimately the goal is to be in the big leagues, but you can't get there without failing first. I really do firmly believe that. You just go out there, keep failing, keep digging yourself out of holes, teammates helping you dig yourself out of holes, whatever it is, it's good. It's a good experience at this level because it makes you mentally tough for sure."
The win came one night after a 3-1 loss at Iowa that snapped an 11-game Memphis win streak, something Bader noted also contributed to his individual success. A .246/.361/.410 hitter on April 25, Thursday night's showing pushed his slash line to .273/.355/.491.
"We've been playing very, very well as a team," he said. "When you've got a lot of guys around you -- pitchers too, but hitters specifically obviously with regards to me -- everyone's kind of locked in. everyone's rolling. It makes things a lot easier at the plate. I just got some pitches to handle.
"We're all so wrapped up in just going out there every day, I know speaking for myself, I kind of looked up and was like, 'Oh, we've won eight in a row or nine in a row.' It's just one of those things where the less you think about it, the better you are."
Bader was one of four Redbirds with multiple hits in Thursday's win. Paul DeJong, the Cardinals' No. 11 prospect, sent a three-run homer to left-center in the first to get Memphis on the scoreboard.
"I'm continuing to learn every day on a daily basis from not only myself and my own experiences but my teammates' experiences," Bader said. "It's a lot of things, a lot of just honing your craft and slowing it all down."
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.