Tyrone Taylor, Corey Ray homer as Missions roll into showdown with Express

The San Antonio Missions' Tyrone Taylor hit his 13th home run of the season in the first inning on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Tyrone Taylor hit his 13th home run of the season in the first inning on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Tyrone Taylor stayed hot with a home run for the second night in a row as the San Antonio Missions beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-0 Sunday night at Wolff Stadium.

Sunday marked the Missions’ last home game before the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

The Missions, who swept the three-game series against the Dodgers, are one game behind the Round Rock Express in the American Southern division. The Missions and Express open a crucial four-game series Monday in Round Rock.

The Missions got the jump on the Dodgers when Taylor hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning.

It was was the 13th homer of the season for Taylor, who is on a 12-game hitting streak. Since Aug. 12, Taylor has hit five home runs and his batting average has climbed from .238 to .275.

The Missions’ other run came when Corey Ray hit his sixth home run of the season in the seventh inning.

The San Antonio Missions' Corey Ray hit his sixth home run of the season in the seventh inning on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Corey Ray hit his sixth home run of the season in the seventh inning on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

Missions beat OKC to stay close in playoff chase

The San Antonio Missions' Tyler Austin (right) and Tyrone Taylor celebrate after Austin's two-run homer in the third inning on Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Tyler Austin (right) and Tyrone Taylor celebrate after Austin’s two-run homer in the third inning on Friday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Missions got key hits and shutout pitching through eight innings to beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-2 on Friday at Wolff Stadium.

The Missions remain 1 1/2 games behind the Round Rock Express in the Pacific Coast League American Southern Standings. Round Rock beat New Orleans 3-2 on Friday.

Tyler Austin hit a two-run homer in the third inning, his second home run and fourth extra-base hit since joining the Missions on Aug. 16.

Nate Orf drove in the Missions’ first run with an RBI single in the second inning.

Troy Stokes Jr. added an RBI single in the sixth inning to bring in the Missions’ final run.

Missions starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (8-2) pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He lowered his season ERA to 3.34.

Angel Perdomo and Miguel Sanchez combined to pitch a scoreless sixth inning. Freddy Peralta kept the Dodgers scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings.

The Dodgers scored both of their runs in the top of the ninth off of Missions reliever Ray Black.

To respectfully, kind of, disagree

From the Express at Missions game Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
From the Express at Missions game Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
It’s no fun being picked off first base. It’s even less fun when you get called out when you think you were safe.

Garrett Stubbs. From the San Antonio Missions (Flying Chanclas) vs. Round Rock Express (Chupacabras) game on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.

Houston Astros prospect and Round Rock Express outfielder Yordan Alvarez

Yordan Alvarez of the Round Rock Express playing against the San Antonio Missions at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Yordan Alvarez of the Round Rock Express playing against the San Antonio Missions at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
You get the feeling that Yordan Alvarez is going to be playing in the majors very soon.

And that the 21-year-old from Cuba is going to stay in the majors for a long time.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound outfielder is currently with the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A farm club of the Houston Astros. The word around the league is that Alvarez will continue to improve his skills in the outfield. He has also seen time at first base for the Express.

His left-handed batting skills have already made him one of the biggest offensive threats in Triple-A and the Pacific Coast league.

Here is how Alvarez ranks in Triple-A as of May 23, 2019 (41 games played):
1st in batting average – .396
1st in total bases – 133
2nd in home runs – 19
2nd in RBIs – 57
2nd in hits – 61
3rd in doubles – 15
3rd in runs scored – 39

The Round Rock Express are currently at home for a four-game series against the San Antonio Missions. The series continues tonight and concludes Friday, weather permitting.

Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson’s rehab game with Missions a promising sign

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson making a rehab appearance with the San Antonio Missions against the Round Rock Express on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Jimmy Nelson making a rehab appearance with the Missions against the Express on Sunday. – photo by Joe Alexander
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson took the mound for the San Antonio Missions on Sunday.

The Triple-A game at Wolff Stadium was Nelson’s first game since he suffered a shoulder injury late in the 2017 season.

That was a promising year for Nelson. The 6-foot-6 right-hander had a 12-6 record and 3.49 ERA with the Brewers.

But that came to an end when he was hurt and diagnosed with a partially torn labrum and a strained rotator cuff. That not only ended his 2017 season, he missed 2018 as well.

Sunday night, Nelson went 3 1/3 innings and threw 72 pitches against the Round Rock Express. The 2010 second-round draft pick allowed three earned runs and two hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

The key for the Brewers is that Nelson came out of the game healthy.

Nelson is scheduled to pitch for the Missions again on Saturday, according to a report from Adam McCalvy, who covers the Brewers.

Relief pitcher Miguel Sanchez solid in rare start for Missions

The San Antonio Missions' Miguel Sanchez pitching against the Round Rock Express on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Miguel Sanchez pitching against the Express on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Miguel Sanchez made his first start of the season for the San Antonio Missions on Sunday.

The right-handed relief pitcher from the Dominican Republic got the assignment after seven relief appearances earlier in the season.

Sanchez pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in the Missions’ 6-1 seven-inning victory over Round Rock in the second game of a doubleheader. He gave up one hit with three strikeouts and one walk.

For the season, Sanchez is 1-2 with a 2.93 ERA.

Left-hander Donnie Hart (1-1) came in for Sanchez in the fourth inning and got the win. Hart pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one hit. Alex Wilson and Deolis Guerra pitched one inning each to finish the game.

Express’ Forrest Whitley has short appearance against Missions

Former Alamo High School star Forrest Whitley pitched for the Round Rock Express against the San Antonio Missions on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former Alamo High School star Forrest Whitley pitched for the Express against the Missions on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Former Alamo Heights pitcher Forrest Whitley is a rising star in the Houston Astros organization.

Whitley is currently with the Round Rock Express – the Astros’ Triple-A team. He was at Wolff Stadium on Sunday pitching for the Express against the San Antonio Missions.

Despite his reputation and his homecoming, it wasn’t Whitley’s day on the mound. He took over a resumed game that had been suspended on Friday night with the Express leading 6-1. Whitley was on for the bottom of the fourth inning and got only two outs before leaving the game.

The Missions got to Whitley for five runs to it 6-6. The Missions went on to win 10-9.

San Antonio started the frame with back-to-back doubles by Kestin Hiura and Lucas Erceg. David Freitas followed with an RBI single and what had been a five-run Round Rock lead was down to 6-3.

Whitley recorded a strikeout for the first out of the inning, then got a groundup followed by a walk.

The Missions’ Blake Allemand hit a three-run home to tie the game.

At that point Brendan McCurry replaced Whitley. McCurry struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Jake Hager’s walk-off hit gives Missions dramatic win over Express

The Missions' Jake Hager drills a game-ending single to center against the Round Rock Express on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Jake Hager drills a game-ending single to center against the Express. – photo by Joe Alexander
Jake Hager’s clutch hit brought a sudden end to a game that started two days before.

Hager drove in Cory Spangenberg with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the San Antonio Missions’ 10-9 victory over the Round Rock Express on Sunday at Wolff Stadium.

The game was a continuation of the game suspended Friday night due to weather.

The game resumed Sunday with the Express leading 6-1 in the fourth inning. The Missions scored five runs in the fourth to tie it 6-6.

The Express took a 9-6 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth. The Missions cut it to 9-7 with a run in the bottom of the sixth.

The Missions came back for good with a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth. Mauricio Dubon led off the inning and eventually scored to cut it to 9-8. Spangenberg doubled to drive in Keston Hiura to tie it.

And at long last, Hager’s line drive single to center scored Spangenberg to end the game.

The resumed game was played as the first game of a doubleheader. The Missions won the second game 6-1.

Missions’ Blake Allemand hits first Triple-A home run

The Missions' Blake Allemand hits a fourth-inning home run against the Express. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Blake Allemand celebrates his fourth-inning home run against the Express. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio native Blake Blake Allemand hit his first Triple-A home run Sunday.

His three-run shot in the fourth inning helped the San Antonio Missions rally to beat the Round Rock Express 10-9 Sunday at Wolff Stadium. The game was a continuation of the game that was suspended due to weather on Friday night.

The game picked up Sunday in the fourth inning with Round Rock leading 6-1. Blake Allemand’s homer was the big hit of the bottom of the fourth as the Missions scored five runs to tie it 6-6.

It was Blake Allemand’s fifth game with the Missions since being called up from Double-A Biloxi. He finished the game with four RBIs.

Blake Allemand played at Texas A&M and hit five home runs his senior season. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth round in the 2015 draft. He played in high school at Boerne Champion.

Hiura’s homers not enough for Missions against Express

Keston Hiura hit home runs in the eighth and ninth innings against the Express on Saturday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Keston Hiura hit home runs in the eighth and ninth innings against the Express. – photo by Joe Alexander
Keston Hiura hit two late home runs for the San Antonio Missions on Saturday at Wolff Stadium.

The Round Rock Express dominated the rest of the game to beat the Missions 11-4.

The Express scored four runs in the first inning and three in the second and it never got close after that. Round Rock had 15 hits including home runs by Kyle Tucker, Nick Tanielu and Taylor Jones.

Hiura hit a solo home run in the eighth inning and two-run shot in the ninth, giving him 10 for the season.

Round Rock starting pitcher Brady Rodgers (3-0) got the win and pitched six innings. He allowed one run on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.