San Antonio –
In the opening matchup of an eight-game home stand, the Missions erupted for 16 hits and dominated the visiting Midland RockHounds 8-2. Starting pitcher Michael Kelly (5-1) threw six solid innings of one-run ball, and designated hitter Nick Torres had a loud three run homer onto the left field berm to put the game out of reach in the seventh inning.
Kelly, who had allowed just four runs in his previous four outings (24 innings total), looked impressive, locating his breaking and off speed pitches, and hitting 94 MPH on his fastball. The former first-round pick didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, though he worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth when he walked a pair of batters (his only two walks of the night), and a third batter reached on catcher’s interference. He struck out eight RockHounds altogether, contributing to the 13 K’s for the Missions staff on the night.
José Rondon, Stephen McGee, and Ty France (fresh off a 6-RBI game on Sunday) all had three-hit nights and scored a run a piece for San Antonio. The Missions were aggressive, swinging at pitches in the zone, and had lots of hard contact off of Midland pitcher Evan Manarino, who saw his ERA balloon from 3.00 to 6.10 in his second Texas League start. Despite only walking once, the home offense collected 22 total bases, with every batter getting a hit.
Although the game wasn’t in doubt in the ninth, Missions closer Trey Wingenter (2.14 ERA) came in to lock down the win. The 6’7” right-hander struck out the side around a one-out walk, flashing a heater that touched 99 MPH. Wingenter’s K/9 rate improved to 12.4 on the year.
The Missions improved to 32-25 (.561), good for the best record in the Texas League. They look to put some more distance between Midland and the Corpus Christi Hooks (both three games back in the South division) tonight as starting pitcher Enyel De Los Santos gets the call. De Los Santos has racked up 13 strikeouts in his last two outings (14 innings total) while allowing just three runs. Against Midland, however, he has a 17.36 ERA in three starts. When facing the rest of the league (eight starts), his ERA drops to 2.54.
Prospect Watch: Luis Urías went 1-4 with a single. He would come around to score on a Noah Perio single after taking second and third on pitches that dribbled away from the catcher. Urías also grounded out twice, flied out to center, and had a sacrifice bunt. He looked good at second base, making a particularly good play ranging into the grass on his left to field and throw over to first. He committed a throwing error on a rushed double play attempt, though a more accomplished first baseman (Perio, who was playing first, is more of a middle infielder) would have probably picked it at first instead of letting it get past him.