Missions bullpen clicks in season opener

Pedro Avila pitched the final inning for the San Antonio Missions in their 8-3 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks in Tuesday's season opener. - photo by Joe Alexander
Pedro Avila pitched the final inning for the San Antonio Missions in their 8-3 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks in Tuesday’s season opener. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Missions relievers were one pitch away from four scoreless, hitless innings in the season opener.

Four Missions pitchers worked one inning each in relief in the Missions’ 8-3 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks on Tuesday.

Missions starter Reiss Knehr went five innings before turning things over to the bullpen with San Antonio leading 5-2.

Things didn’t look so promising right after Knehr left the game. The Hooks’ first batter of the sixth inning, David Hensley, hit a home run off of Sam Williams. That cut the Missions’ lead to 5-3. But the Hooks didn’t record a hit the rest of the night.

Williams, a 6-foot-3 left-hander, got through the sixth inning with no more damage, allowing one walk with one strikeout.

Carlos Belen pitched the seventh. The 6-1 right-hander from the Dominican Republic struck out two batters with no walks.

Tom Cosgrove pitched the eighth. The 6-2 left-hander also struck out two batters with no walks.

Pedro Avila closed out the game. The 5-11 right-hander from Venezuela pitched the bottom of the ninth with no hits, no strikeouts and no walks.

For the game the Missions’ relievers allowed one run on one hit with five strikeouts and one walk in four innings.

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.