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Carlson finds his wings with Cardinals

Baseball's No. 18 prospect snaps slump with first big league homer
Dylan Carlson is greeted by teammate Yadier Molina after slugging his first Major League home run in the Cardinals' win. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
August 23, 2020

Pilots aren't the only ones who earn their wings. Dylan Carlson reached the seats for his first Major League homer to provide some breathing room as the Cardinals moved over the .500 mark with a 6-2 victory over the visiting Reds on Sunday. St. Louis' top prospect also singled three

Pilots aren't the only ones who earn their wings.

Dylan Carlson reached the seats for his first Major League homer to provide some breathing room as the Cardinals moved over the .500 mark with a 6-2 victory over the visiting Reds on Sunday. St. Louis' top prospect also singled three innings earlier to post his first multi-hit effort as a big leaguer.

Carlson entered play 4-for-35 with 10 strikeouts through 11 games but his early struggles were the furthest thing from his mind after the game.

“That’s unbelievable,” he told reporters after the game. “It’s a moment I’ll always remember -- and for Yadi to be there, of all people, that’s a pretty special moment.”

After notching a pair of hits in his first at-bats in The Show, Carlson found Major League pitching to be anything but friendly.'s No. 18 overall prospect was hitless in his previous 10 at-bats going into Sunday's game, part of a 2-for-25 stretch that dropped his average to .114. Carlson reached on a fielder's choice in his first plate appearance and scored when Harrison Bader connected on his second long ball in as many games. The 21-year-old singled to right in the fourth and grounded back to the mound in the fifth.

With St. Louis ahead in the seventh, 4-2, and Yadier Molina on first, Carlson fell behind in the count 0-2, but worked it full. He deposited the seventh pitch of the at-bat over the fence in right-center field. The two-hit day lifted his average 40 points to .154.

“Just a very steady guy that’s got a nice approach, doesn’t try to do too much, letting the game come to him,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “For a young guy, it’s impressive what he’s doing and how he’s been able to handle some balls being hit at people and not getting the results and not overreacting and just staying within himself and stay within the process.”

A career .260 hitter through four Minor League seasons, the California native enjoyed a true breakthrough campaign in 2019. Carlson spent the majority of the year with Double-A Springfield and was promoted to Triple-A Memphis, where he appeared in 10 games to close out the season. He set career highs across the board, batting .292/.372/.542 with 28 home runs, 62 extra-base hits, 95 runs and 68 RBIs in 126 games.

“It’s just been a lot of learning, a lot of trusting and just sticking to the process and grinding,” he said. “Just understanding that it’s a process, not trying to rush everything and do everything right away. Just believe in myself. Guys on the team have been preaching to me that it’s a process and it’s coming.”

Carlson took home a pair of MiLBYs in 2019, earning earning Breakout Prospect honors from the staff and the fans' choice as Top Offensive Player.

Cardinals right-hander Génesis Cabrera (2-1) picked up the victory in relief. The club's 11th-ranked prospect walked one in two hitless frames.

In other action:

Nationals 9, Marlins 3

Luis Garcia may not have been the most anticipated prospect promotion of the last couple of weeks in a crowd that has included Top-100 talents such as the Tigers' Casey Mize and the Giants' Joey Bart , but García is making his presence known. Washington’s No. 2 prospect tallied his second three-hit game in his last five contests and scored three runs. He notched his first two singles off right-handed Miami starter Humberto Mejia, hitting a bouncer through the right side in the second inning and scoring three batters later on a single to short by Trea Turner. Leading off the bottom of the fourth, García lined a single to center and came home on a two-out double to right by Adam Eaton. In the fifth, García laced another single to center off former Nationals organization teammate, right-hander Sterling Sharp and raced home when Victor Robles reached on a fielding error charged to Miami third baseman Brian Anderson.Top Nationals prospect and baseball’s No. 23 overall prospect Carter Kieboom walked twice and drove in a run. Miami’s fifth-ranked prospect Jesus Sanchez doubled to left off right-handed Washington reliever Ryne Harper in the ninth for his first Major League hit. Box score

Dodgers 11, Rockies 3

Sam Hilliard is getting the hang of The Show. Colorado's No. 12 prospect went deep for the second consecutive game and the third time this season. Including his career-high four-hit effort Thursday, Hilliard has gone 6-for-14 to raise his average 73 points to .240. Rockies' 22nd-ranked prospect Josh Fuentes entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth and did not bat. Box score

Padres 5, Astros 3

Luis Patiño turned in his longest and arguably best big league outing to date. The No. 3 San Diego prospect allowed one hit and struck out two over 2 1/3 scoreless frames of relief. After surrendering five runs in his first two appearances, Patiño yielded one in the next four spanning 6 2/3 frames. Seventh-ranked Adrian Morejon surrendered the first runs of his big league career, all in the opening frame. Highlighted by Kyle Tucker's two-run homer, Morejon was tagged for three runs on two hits and a walk in the first. The 21-year-old southpaw allowed another hit in the second and left after walking one and striking out three in 1 2/3 innings. No. 18 Jake Cronenworth extended his hitting streak to eight games with a run-scoring single, giving him six RBIs in his last three contests. Enoli Paredes suffered his first Major League loss after giving up a go-ahead two-run homer to Manny Machado in the eighth. The No. 13 Astros prospect retired two batters, one via the strikeout, and gave up two hits. No. 28 Blake Taylor recorded the last out of the eighth. Box score

Mariners 4, Rangers 1

Seattle’s eighth-ranked prospect Justin Dunn twirled the best outing of his big league career, working around a hit and a walk while whiffing six over six scoreless frames. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the fifth. No. 5 Evan White finished 0-for-3, and 19th-ranked Braden Bishop recorded a base hit. Texas’ No. 26 prospect Jonathan Hernandez retired all three batters he faced in the eighth, fanning one. The righty has allowed one run in 10 appearances this month. Box score

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4

Tampa Bay’s 29th-ranked prospect Josh Fleming earned the victory in his Major League debut after giving up a pair of runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three over five frames. Toronto’s No. 23 prospect Santiago Espinal went hitless in four at-bats and No. 11 Anthony Kay yielded two runs on a hit and a pair of walks while fanning two in three innings of relief. Box score

Cubs 2, White Sox 1

Top White Sox prospect Luis Robert was held hitless in four trips to the plate. No. 19 Danny Mendick collected a hit for the fourth straight game and drew a walk. Matt Foster, the club's 28th-ranked prospect, worked around a hit in a scoreless seventh. The right-hander has yet to allow a run in nine appearances and sports a 0.53 WHIP and a .095 average-against. Box score

Tigers 7, Indians 4

Detroit’s fifth-ranked prospect Tarik Skubal yielded a run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 2 1/3 frames. The lefty did not factor into the decision in his second career start. Sixth-ranked Isaac Paredes notched his first multi-hit effort in the bigs, finishing 3-for-4 with a double while No. 7 Willi Castro collected a pair of knocks and an RBI. Cleveland’s 25th-ranked prospect Yu Chang was called out on strikes after a seven-pitch pinch-hit at-bat. No. 19 Logan Allen allowed three runs on five hits and four walks with a pair of punchouts over 4 2/3 innings of relief. Box score

Twins 5, Royals 4

Minnesota’s sixth-ranked prospect Ryan Jeffers raked a base hit to left in the second off Kris Bubic (0-4). Kansas City's No. 7 prospect was tagged for the loss after allowing four runs on nine hits and a pair of walks over 3 1/3 innings. Box score

Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

Baltimore’s fifth-ranked prospect Ryan Mountcastle got the start in left field and notched his first career multi-hit performance, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a walk and a run scored. Box score

A's 5, Angels 4 (10 innings)

Oakland’s second-ranked prospect Sean Murphy knocked in the tying run with a two-out single up the middle in the sixth.’s sixth overall prospect Jo Adell went hitless in five trips to the plate. Box score

Phillies 5, Braves 4

Alec Bohm is finding life in the Majors to be as good as advertised. Philadelphia's top prospect got aboard every time he was at-bat Sunday. He walloped his first big league homer and finished with a career-high three hits, a walk and two runs scored. Bohm has four multi-hit efforts in his first 10 games and is batting .344/.462/.531 with four extra-base hits, six runs and four RBIs in 32 at-bats. Box score

Michael Avallone is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.