Missions Drop Opener to Midland

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — On Friday night the Missions lost what may have been a winnable game 6-2 on sloppy defense and inconsistent pitching.  San Antonio was down by six runs after the top of the sixth inning and never recovered. 

The Missions rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning, and held the Rockhounds scoreless for the rest of the game, but it was too late.

“There is a correlation with that [on not allowing any more runs after the second inning], we played solid defense after those first two,” said Missions’ manager Phillip Wellman.  “Our errors led to all six runs, four of them were a direct result of one.”

With two outs in the first inning and runners on second and third, 3B River Stevens made a throwing error on relatively easy grounder which would have gotten starter Jake Esch out of the inning.

“When you have a two-run throwing error that is when you really need a pitcher to step up and pick up his teammate and we didn’t get that either.  The next two batters had extra-base hits which put two more runs on the board before we got the third out.”

In the second inning San Antonio failed to make a catch on a foul ball, in which the batter later doubled, followed by an error in right-center by RF Nick Torres that brought him home.  The Missions came back in the bottom of the frame with a pair of two-out RBI singles by catcher Stephen McGee and 2B Luis Urias.

Esch, whom the Padres recently picked up from the Miami Marlins and briefly appeared with San Diego this season, had his second start with San Antonio.  As in his last outing, where he was inconsistent with six walks in 5.1 innings, tonight he again struggled with his command in walking four batter, but was able throw up zeros over his last three frames.

Some good pitching performances by Adam Cimber, Trey Wingenter and Chad Nading were wasted with the Missions’ inability to put the ball in play.

“I thought we made some very poor swing decisions late in the game by chasing the pitcher around instead of forcing him to throw the ball over the plate.  A fundamental necessity for having a quality at-bat is to get a good pitch. If you don’t do that you can’t expect success.”

“That is not how we play, but it’s what we got tonight.”

Mission Notes:  San Antonio has now lost four straight and 10 out of the last 13…Urias was 1-4 with a walk and maintained his 11-game hitting streak.  His longest previous streak was 14 games…interesting factoid by San Antonio broadcaster Mike Saeger, the Missions starters have now gone 96 innings without giving up a home run.

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