Missions’ late inning magic ends in loss to Sod Poodles

Allen Cordoba celebrates his two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning for the San Antonio Missions' first runs of the game against the Amarillo Sod Poodles on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Allen Cordoba hit his third home run of the season in the first inning on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.
Coming off back-to-back walk-off wins, the San Antonio Missions found themselves in another close game in the late innings on Thursday.

This time it was the Amarillo Sod Poodles who got the key hits, scoring twice in the top of the 11th to beat the Missions 6-5 at Wolff Stadium.

The Sod Poodles erased a 3-1 Missions lead with two runs in the eighth. Both teams scored a run in the 10th. The Sod Poodles took a 6-4 lead in the top of the 11th and the Missions scored once in the bottom of the 11th on a bases-loaded walk.

Allen Cordoba’s third home run of the season accounted for the Missions’ first two runs in the bottom of the first.

Juan Fernandez doubled in the fourth, went to third base on a wild pitch and then scored on another wild pitch to give the Missions a 3-1 lead.

Missions pitcher Fred Schlichtholz made his first start of season after 19 relief appearances. The 6-foot-3 left-hander went 3.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits, two walks and one strikeout.

Reiss Knehr had been listed as the projected starting pitcher.

Juan Fernandez, Ben Ruta, Eguy Rosario key Missions’ ninth-inning rally

The San Antonio Missions shower Juan Fernandez with ice water after he had the game-winning hit Wednesday night at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions shower Juan Fernandez with ice water after he had the game-winning hit Wednesday night at Wolff Stadium.
The San Antonio Missions walked off the Amarillo Sod Poodles for the second straight night.

The Missions got three key hits to score twice in the bottom of the ninth and beat the Sod Poodles 7-6 Wednesday at Wolff Stadium.

Juan Fernandez ended it with a single through the right side with the bases loaded, two outs and the game tied in the ninth. That brought Eguy Rosario home and started a celebration that concluded with Fernandez getting doused with ice water by his teammates.

The Missions trailed 4-1 early in the game and rallied to take a 5-4 lead. The Sod Poodles scored two runs in the top of the ninth to lead 6-5.

Ben Ruta, in his second game with the Missions, led off the bottom of the ninth with a double. Ruta scored on Rosario’s single to tie it 6-6. Rosario ended up at second base when the Sod Poodles threw home to try to get Ruta. Rosario went to third on Kyle Overstreet’s ground out.

Jack Suwinski and Yorman Rodriguez drew intentional walks to load the bases and Allen Cordoba popped out to set up a two-out situation. That brought Fernandez to the plate with his chance to win it.

The Missions got strong relief pitching as they worked their way back from an early deficit. Brandon Komar took over in the fourth inning and threw four scoreless innings. Carlos Belen retired the Sod Poodles in order in the eighth inning and struck out two batters.

The Missions’ early runs came on an RBI single by Cordoba in the bottom of the second inning, a Suwinski sacrifice fly in the third, Ruta scored on a wild pitch in the third, and an RBI double by Jose Azocar and a sacrifice fly by Ruta in the fourth.

Allen Cordoba, Jose Azocar have key hits in 10th inning as Missions beat Sod Poodles

Allen Cordoba (left) and Jose Azocar celebrate after Azocar drove in Cordoba with the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning as the San Antonio Missions beat the Amarillo Sod Poodles 5-4 on Tuesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Allen Cordoba (left) and Jose Azocar celebrate after Azocar drove in Cordoba with the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning.
Allen Cordoba drove in the tying run in the 10th inning and then scored the game-winner on a hit by Jose Azocar as the San Antonio Missions beat the Amarillo Sod Poodles 5-4 Tuesday at Wolff Stadium.

The game was tied 3-3 after nine innings. The Sod Poodles scored in the top of the 10th to take a 4-3 lead.

Cordoba led off the bottom of the 10th with Juan Fernandez on second base. Cordoba doubled to bring in Fernandez and tie it 4-4. Cordoba got to third base on a passed ball.

Azocar’s hit to center brought Cordoba home from third to end the game.

In between Cordoba’s hit and Azocar’s hit, there was plenty of drama. Kelvin Melean lined out for the first out of the inning. Chandler Seagle was called out on strikes – then both Seagle and Missions manager Phillip Wellman were ejected from the game.

That left Cordoba on third base with two outs when Azocar came up to finish it off.

In addition to his winning hit, Azocar also scored two runs.

San Antonio Missions starting pitcher Aaron Leasher didn’t get a decision but had another strong outing. He went six innings and allowed one run on two hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. It was his sixth start in a row when he went at least five innings and allowed either zero or one earned run.

Nick Kuzia (2-4) pitched the ninth and 10th innings for the Missions and got the win.

Adrian Martinez unhittable in return to starter’s role as Missions win 2nd straight

Adrian Martinez started on the mound for the Missions and held the Hooks hitless for six innings Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Adrian Martinez started on the mound for the Missions and held the Hooks hitless for six innings Friday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
Adrian Martinez was a starter for the San Antonio Missions early in the season.

More recently, he was coming in a few innings later when the Missions used Reggie Lawson like an opener.

Martinez was back to being a starter on Friday night. The 6-foot-2 right-hander from Mexico pitched six hitless innings and struck out nine batters.

The Missions beat the Corpus Christi Hooks 3-1 at Wolff Stadium. The Missions have a modest two-game winning streak after going through a rough stretch that included a winless road series against Frisco.

Martinez (3-3) got the win. Mason Fox and Henry Henry followed with one inning each on the mound. Joe Beimel threw a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth for his first save of the season in only his second appearance, both coming this week.

Combined, the four Missions pitchers held the Hooks to two hits and two walks while striking out 10.

Missions batters had only four hits, but came through at the right time and took advantage of two Hooks errors.

Michael Curry hit his first home run of the season in the third inning for the Missions’ first run of the game.

Jack Suwinski smoked a ground ball down the first base line to drive in Jose Azocar in the fifth. Eguy Rosario scored in the eighth on a Juan Fernandez bunt combined with a Hooks error.

Naturals roll late to beat Missions

Juan Fernandez hit his third home run of the season to give the Missions a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Juan Fernandez hit his third home run of the season to give the Missions a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals scored seven runs over the final three innings to beat the San Antonio Missions 10-3 on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.

The Missions’ scoring came on an RBI single by Kyle Overstreet in the first inning and a two-run homer by Juan Fernandez in the fourth.

Missions starting pitcher Osvaldo Hernandez held the Naturals scoreless over the first four innings but was tagged for three unearned runs before he left in the sixth.

Dwanya Williams-Sutton made his debut with the Missions after being promoted from Class A Fort Wayne. He started in left field and had one walk.

Missions pitching stifles Midland, Jack Suwinski hits 8th homer

San Antonio Missions outfielder Jack Suwinski homered in the seventh inning of Saturday's victory over the Midland RockHounds at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Missions outfielder Jack Suwinski homered in the seventh inning of Saturday’s victory over the Midland RockHounds at Wolff Stadium.
San Antonio Missions pitchers extended their scoreless streak to 15 innings on Saturday.

After blanking the Midland RockHounds over the final five innings Friday, the Missions’ Aaron Leasher, Nick Kuzia and Jose Quezada threw a combined shutout in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Wolff Stadium.

Leasher was the starter and improved his record to 3-2 by going 6.0 innings and allowing only one hit and one walk with four strikeouts. Kuzia went the next two innings and struck out four batters with no hits. Quezada pitched the ninth and earned his seventh save.

The Missions didn’t have a lot of offense with four hits, but some batters who have been hot lately came through again. Juan Fernandez, who homered and tripled on Friday, tripled again in the bottom of the fifth and scored on Brad Zunica’s double. Jack Suwinski hit his eighth homer of the season in the bottom of the seventh.

Allen Cordoba, who played with the San Diego Padres in 2017, made his season debut. He played third base and went 0-for-2 with two walks.

The Missions have won six of their last seven games. Their current six-game home series against Midland concludes on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.

San Antonio Missions starter Aaron Leasher pitched six innings and got the win in Saturday's victory over the Midland RockHounds at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Missions starter Aaron Leasher pitched six innings and got the win in Saturday’s victory over Midland.
The Missions' Juan Fernandez slides into third with a triple in front of San Antonio manager Phillip Wellman and the Missions' bullpen pitchers in Saturday's victory over the Midland RockHounds at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Juan Fernandez slides into third with a triple in front of San Antonio manager Phillip Wellman and the Missions’ bullpen pitchers

Eguy Rosario, Juan Fernandez homer as Missions blast Midland

Eguy Rosario hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, when the San Antonio Missions scored six runs to take a 6-3 lead over the Midland RockHounds on Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Eguy Rosario watches his two-run homer fly out in the sixth inning, when the Missions scored six runs to take a 6-3 lead over the RockHounds on Friday at Wolff Stadium.
The San Antonio Missions had two big innings that both included home runs as they beat the Midland RockHounds 13-3 Friday at Wolff Stadium.

The Missions went hitless and scoreless the first five innings. They came alive in a big way when they scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The rally included a two-run homer from Eguy Rosario.

Juan Fernandez, who tripled during the sixth-inning rally, lashed a two-run homer two innings later as the Missions scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth. Both Rosario’s and Fernandez’s homers went out in left field.

The Missions finished with 11 hits. Taylor Kohlwey, Rosario, Jack Suwinski and Fernandez had two hits each. Rosario and Fernandez both had three RBIs.

Missions starting pitcher Osvaldo Hernandez went five innings. He didn’t get a decision, but kept the game within striking range and left with Midland leading 3-0. Reliever Carlos Belen recorded two scoreless innings and got his first win of the season.

The Missions have won five of their last six games and 11 of their last 16.

Juan Fernandez hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the San Antonio Missions' 13-3 victory over the Midland RockHounds on Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Juan Fernandez hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Missions’ 13-3 victory over Midland on Friday at Wolff Stadium.

Missions catcher, Padres prospect Juan Fernandez: a first look

Juan Fernandez playing for the San Antonio Missions in the 2021 season opener on May 4 in Corpus Christi. - photo by Joe Alexander
Juan Fernandez playing for the San Antonio Missions in the 2021 season opener on May 4 in Corpus Christi. – photo by Joe Alexander
Juan Fernandez is a 22-year-old catcher from Venezuela.

Fernandez has seen action in eight of the San Antonio Missions’ first 16 games of the season and is batting .250. He was the Missions’ opening day starter at catcher and had three hits and a walk in the first game, an 8-3 road win in Corpus Christi.

This is Fernandez’s first season in Double-A. Two years ago, he played in 53 games in Class A and batted .274.

Fernandez joined the San Diego Padres organization in March 2016 when he was signed as a free agent to a minor-league contract.

Hooks’ strong pitching holds off Missions

The Missions' Jose Azocar tracks down a fly ball against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Missions’ Jose Azocar tracks down a fly ball against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. – photo by Joe Alexander
Corpus Christi Hooks pitching held the San Antonio Missions in check for all but one inning on Wednesday night.

The Hooks beat the Missions 4-2 to even the series after the Missions won Tuesday night’s season opener.

The Missions strung together three hits in the fifth inning to score twice. But the Missions only had one other hit the rest of the night, that coming in the ninth inning.

Juan Fernandez ignited the Missions’ fifth-inning rally with a leadoff single. Mat Batten followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position with no outs.

The Hooks got the next two batters on a ground out and a strikeout. Robbie Podorsky, who had four hits in Tuesday’s opener, came through again with a two-out single to center that brought in both Fernandez and Batten.

The Hooks went in front for on a two-run homer by Grae Kessinger that gave Corpus Christi a 3-2 lead.

Three Hooks pitchers combined to allow four hits while striking out 17 Missions batters.

Random observations:

Missions second baseman Eguy Rosario is listed at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds. That’s probably how big he was when he signed his first contract as a teenager. I’m guessing he is more like 5-11 and 190 pounds. He has some muscle on him.

Podorsky is one of the smaller guys on the team and looks like a contact hitter. Two games is a small sample size, but so far he is the Missions’ most consistent batter at putting the ball in play. He has five hits and three RBIs while batting in the No. 9 spot.

Fernandez looks like a guy who has fun playing the game. I think he will be a fan favorite in San Antonio.

The sun angles at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi are very different from Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. At Whataburger, the right fielder is staring into the sun as it sets over the grandstand. At the Wolff, the left fielder is the one fighting the sun before it sets.

Photo gallery: Missions’ defensive plays

Missions make San Antonio’s return to pro baseball a winner

It was this kind of night for the San Antonio Missions and for Juan Fernandez. The Missions catcher celebrates one of his three hits in Tuesday's opening night victory. - photo by Joe Alexander
It was this kind of night for the San Antonio Missions and for Juan Fernandez. The Missions catcher celebrates one of his three hits in Tuesday’s opening night victory. – photos by Joe Alexander
The 20-month layoff from minor-league baseball finally came to an end Tuesday.

The San Antonio Missions won their first game game since September 2019, beating the Corpus Christi Hooks 8-3 on opening night in Corpus Christi.

The return to action meant fun to a sold out but socially distant crowd. For minor league players, it means a return to the journey they hope leads to the major leagues.

Missions starting pitcher Reiss Knehr went five innings and allowed two runs to get the win. He gave up three hits and struck out five batters with three walks.

Robbie Podorsky, the No. 9 batter in the Missions’ batting order, led the team with four hits and scored twice. Cather Juan Fernandez had three hits, CJ Abrams, the team’s top prospect, had two. In all, seven different Missions batters had hits as the Missions out-hit the Hooks 13-4.

Reiss Khern started on the mound for the Missions and got the win in Tuesday's season opener in Corpus Christi. - photo by Joe Alexander
Reiss Khern started on the mound for the Missions and got the win in Tuesday’s season opener in Corpus Christi.
Esteury Ruiz slides into home with the San Antonio Missions' second run of the game in Tuesday's season-opening victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks. - photo by Joe Alexander
Esteury Ruiz slides into home with the San Antonio Missions’ second run of the game in Tuesday’s season-opening victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks.