Missions slide after 10 lost games with weekend wins in Amarillo

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Highlighting the past week and previewing the coming week for the San Antonio missions:

After hail as big as golf balls caused a 20-minute delay, the San Antonio Missions gambled away a ninth-inning lead in Amarillo on Friday and eventually ended a four-hour game with a setback in the eleventh inning to mark a tenth straight loss.

Kevin Kopps, the Missions’ highest-ranked pitcher, went into the ninth inning with a two-barrel lead. He sat down against the first two batters he faced and led his streak to 12 retired batters spanning five outings, but gave the next two hitters a walk and a homer to set the stage for Amarillo’s eventual 11-10 win to prepare.

Despite hitting another low, San Antonio (4-11) responded with two weekend wins to end the streak, a rare highlight in a difficult first month of the season.

San Antonio’s pitching was consistently hammered by Amarillo with a 9.74 ERA, a 2.11 WHIP and a .339 opposing batting average — all the worst marks for the week at any level of minor league baseball.

The Missions tried to keep up at the top, averaging the second-best average in the Texas League at .318, but the team struggled to hold the lead.

San Antonio led 9-5 in Friday’s game before the late collapse. The Missions also missed a 4-0 advantage in an 8-5 loss on Thursday after giving up an 8-2 lead in a 19-10 loss on Tuesday.

Since last week’s six-game sweep against Frisco, eight of the 10 losses down the mission chute have been decided by three runs or fewer.

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Second baseman Korry Howell, the highest-ranking prospect on the list of missions ranked 14th in the San Diego Padres organization according to MLB.com, found some pop in his racquet after a slow start to the season.

Although he only hit .150 that year, all four of his hits against Amarillo were for extra bases, with two doubles, a triple and a home run.

San Antonio also added pitcher Reggie Lawson, the Padres’ No. 18, from Triple-A El Paso, who entered the series against Amarillo. He made his debut Wednesday, giving up four runs with five hits and three walks without a strikeout in 22/3 innings.

Outstanding Hitters

Center fielder Esteury Ruiz has safely hit base in all 15 games this season and has .407 with 15 walks, which leads in the Texas League. He also sits at the top of the league with 22 hits and 12 stolen bases.

In Tuesday’s series opener against Amarillo, Ruiz faced the Missions’ first grand slam since June 2 of last season.

First baseman Brandon Dixon also got off to a hot start for San Antonio, leading the TL with 21 RBIs. Dixon quits at the Double-A level for the first time since 2016, playing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 and the Detroit Tigers in 2019 and 2020 before making the leap to Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League last season.

He signed a minor league contract with San Diego in March and shone in San Antonio by leading the team with five homers while hitting .333.

Outstanding pitcher

Right-hander Angel Felipe was the only mission arm to escape the series against Amarillo unscathed, going 21/3 scoreless innings in two appearances.

A 24-year-old playing in Double-A for the first time, Felipe went 61/3 innings without conceding an earned run and giving up five hits and four walks for eight strikeouts.

Based on the numbers

6: Straight one-hit games to start the year for outfielder Robbie Podorsky before his streak was called off on Friday. Podorsky hits .400 with a pair of threes through 40 at-bats.

8.73: ERA for San Antonio’s starting pitchers during the series against Amarillo, marking a second tough week in a row after the starting group consolidated to an 8.44 ERA in the previous series against Frisco.

10.50: ERA for San Antonio’s bullpen during the series against Amarillo, a sharp contrast to the 1.26 ERA reliefs combined against Frisco the previous week.

18: Walks for San Antonio’s slugger against Amarillo, the lowest total in the league.

68: Strikeouts for San Antonio’s sluggers against Amarillo, the highest total in the league.

Next

San Antonio opens a six-game home series against the Springfield Cardinals Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Wolff Stadium.

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Twitter: @GregLuca

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