Closeups of the 2019 San Antonio Missions

San Antonio Missions catcher/first baseman David Freitas won the Pacific Coast League batting title. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Missions catcher/first baseman David Freitas won the Pacific Coast League batting title. – photo by Joe Alexander
Even front row seats are a long way from some positions on a baseball field.

During the course of the 2019 San Antonio Missions season, I occasionally got closer a look at some of the players.

That seemed like a good way to wrap up my summer from Wolff Stadium.

Tyler Saladino returns, Missions homer their way past Grizzlies

Tyler Saladino singled and eventually scored the winning run in the eighth inning Monday afternoon at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
Tyler Saladino singled and eventually scored the winning run in the eighth inning Monday afternoon at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Missions hit four home runs including three in one inning to beat the Fresno Grizzlies 9-8 on Monday afternoon at Wolff Stadium.

The Missions trailed 6-0 early in the game but narrowed the gap when Tyrone Taylor hit a three-run shot in the third inning, his eighth homer of the season.

The Missions took an 8-6 lead with four runs in the fifth inning. Troy Stokes Jr. hit a solo home run, his eighth of the season. Jacob Nottingham hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the season. Jake Hager hit a solo home run, his eighth of the season.

The Grizzlies scored single runs in the top of the seventh and eighth innings to tie it 8-8.

The Missions took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Saladino led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor. Saladino scored the winning run when David Freitas singled to right and Grizzlies right fielder Jose Marmolejos mis-handled the ball, allowing Saladino to advance two bases.

Missions reliever Angel Perdomo (3-0) pitched the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win. Ray Black pitched the ninth inning to earn his second save withthe Missions.

NOTES

  • Monday’s game was Saladino’s first action in a Missions uniform since being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers on June 28.
  • Missions pitcher Jimmy Nelson had his second strong appearance in a row in relief. He threw 1 2/3 innings with no runs, one hit, one walk and four strikeouts
  • Black, who came to the Brewers organization from the San Francisco Giants in a deal at the MLB trade deadline, hit 101 MPH on the stadium radar.

  • Missions’ Keston Hiura, Tyler Saladino set to join Brewers

    Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Keston Hiura, shown earlier this season, is expected to officially be called up by the Brewers on Friday. – photo by Joe Alexander
    On a night when the San Antonio Missions combined stellar pitching with couple of home runs, the biggest story was two players who weren’t at Thursday’s game.

    Keston Hiura and Tyler Saladino packed their bags before the game and left Wolff Stadium. Next stop, the big leagues.

    The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to announce on Friday that Hiura and Saladino are being called up. Both have spent time with the Brewers earlier this season. Speculation about when Hiura would be called back up has been constant since he was sent back to San Antonio.

    Apparently the call came Thursday afternoon. Both players were at batting practice at Wolff Stadium. At about 4:20 p.m. Central time, Hiura walked off the field as teammates waved at him.

    A short time after that a member of the gameday staff reported that Saladino had exited the stadium. A team official confirmed both players were headed up.

    Hiura hit .329 in 57 games in Triple-A with a team-high 19 home runs. Saladino hit .288 in 67 games and was second on the team in homers with 14.

    The Missions' Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Tyler Saladino, shown earlier this season, is expected to officially be called up by the Brewers on Friday. – photo by Joe Alexander

    By the way, Missions win

    The Missions beat the Round Rock Express 3-0 on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.

    Lucas Erceg and Jake Hager both homered for the Missions. Nate Orf drove in the other run.

    Missions starting pitcher Burch Smith (6-3) went six innings and got the win. He allowed one hit with seven strikeouts and four walks. Deolis Guerra, Donnie Hart and Taylor Williams each pitched one inning in the combined shutout.

    Missions starter Burch Smith pitched six innings and got the win against the Express on Thursday night at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Missions starter Burch Smith pitched six innings and got the win against the Express on Thursday night at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

    Missions’ Freitas, Hiura, Jackson, Saladino named to PCL All-Star roster

    Missions second baseman Keston Hiura playing against the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Keston Hiura was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
    From a San Antonio Missions news release

    The Pacific Coast League announced today their 33-man roster for the 2019 Triple-A All-Star Game. Second baseman Keston Hiura, infielder Tyler Saladino, catcher David Freitas, and relief pitcher Jay Jackson will represent the San Antonio Missions in their inaugural season as a member of the Pacific Coast League.

    The 32nd Annual Triple-A All-Star Game will pit the Pacific Coast League All-Stars against the International League All-Stars and will be played on Wednesday, July 10 at Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM CDT. The game will be televised on MLB Network with Scott Braun, Bill Ripken, Jim Callis, and Kelly Nash on the call. The telecast will be available online at MiLB.tv, the MiLB First Pitch app, and MLBNetwork.com. The game can be heard on KONO 860 AM with El Paso Chihuahuas broadcaster Tim Hagerty and Louisville Bats broadcaster Nick Curran calling the action.

    Hiura is ranked as the top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and has been named to a mid-season all-star team for the second consecutive season after being tabbed a 2018 Carolina League All-Star while with Advanced-A Carolina. In 56 games with the Missions the second baseman is batting .332 with 44 runs, 16 doubles, 19 home runs, and 46 RBI. His .692 slugging percentage and 1.104 OPS are each ranked third in the Pacific Coast League. His 19 home runs are tied for seventh in the league and his batting average is good for ninth. The 22-year-old made his Major League debut this season and in 17 games with the Brewers hit .281 with 5 home runs and 9 RBI.

    Freitas joined the Missions on April 14 after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers from the Seattle Mariners. In 53 games the 30-year-old is batting .369, which is good for third in the PCL. He has scored 28 runs, tallied 15 doubles, 5 home runs, and driven in 46, which is tied with Hiura for the second most on the Missions. His on-base percentage of .444 is also third on the circuit. This is the fourth mid-season all-star nod for Freitas and first since 2012. He was named a mid-season all-star in each of his first three professional seasons.

    Saladino has played all over the diamond for the Missions this season having seen time at all four infield positions along with left field and right field. In 66 games for the Missions the 29-year-old is batting .293 with 43 runs, 18 doubles, 14 home runs and 57 RBI. His 57 runs driven in are tied for seventh in the PCL. This will be Saladino’s second appearance in the Triple-A All-Star game as he was selected to represent the International League while with Charlotte in 2014.

    Jackson has been named a mid-season all-star for the third time in his career and first since 2013. The right-hander has been one of the elite options out of the bullpen in the PCL in 2019 as he sports a 4-2 record with a miniscule 1.14 ERA in 25 appearances for San Antonio. He has converted six of seven save opportunities, which are tied for sixth in the league. Opponents are hitting just .171 against Jackson, which is the second lowest among relievers. He also boasts the fewest baserunners per nine innings among relievers at 7.11.

    David Freitas. The San Antonio Missions beat the Round Rock Express 10-9 Sunday at Wolff Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ David Freitas was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions' Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Tyler Saladino was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander
    Jay Jackson got the save. The Missions beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-3 Friday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Jay Jackson was named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. – photo by Joe Alexander

    Keston Hiura leads Missions’ longball barrage

    Keston Hiura celebrates with his teammates at the plate after hitting a grand slam in the second inning on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Keston Hiura (18) celebrates with his teammates at the plate after hitting a grand slam in the second inning on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
    Keston Hiura continued to pile up big at-bats since returning to the San Antonio Missions.

    In the eight games since being optioned down from the Milwaukee Brewers, Hiura has added four home runs, 11 RBIs and hit 11-of-34 (.324).

    That includes two home runs and five RBIs Thursday night as the Missions pounded the Tacoma Rainiers 15-1 at Wolff Stadium.

    Both of Hiura’s homers came off Rainiers starting pitcher Justus Sheffield. Hiura hit a solo shot in the first inning in his first at-bat. He added a grand slam in the second inning. That boosted his team-leading home run total to 15 for the season.

    Hiura had plenty of help in the hitting department as the Missions spent a big part of their night celebrating at the plate.

    Tyler Saladino hit his 13th home run of the season, a leadoff shot in the second inning.

    Mauricio Dubon hit a two-run homer in the third inning.

    Lucas Erceg added a three-run homer in the seventh inning.

    The Missions finished with 15 hits including doubles by Dubon and Troy Stokes Jr.

    Missions starting pitcher Burch Smith (4-3) went five innings to get the win. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out 10 batters with two walks.

    Missions’ Tyler Saladino blasts Redbirds again

    Tyler Saladino hits a seventh-inning home run in the Missions' 4-0 victory over the Memphis Redbirds on Monday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Tyler Saladino hits a seventh-inning home run in the Missions’ 4-0 victory over the Redbirds. – photo by Joe Alexander
    Tyler Saladino and the San Antonio Missions made life miserable for the Memphis Redbirds over the last five games.

    Saladino had a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning Monday as the Missions beat the Redbirds 4-0 at Wolff Stadium to complete a sweep of their series.

    In the five games against the Redbirds, Saladino batted .643 (9-of-14) with five runs scored, two home runs, two doubles and 10 RBIs. He has nine home runs and 23 extra-base hits on the season.

    Jake Hager and Tuffy Gosewisch drove in the other two runs Monday.

    Missions reliever Taylor Williams (1-0) pitched the fifth and six innings and got the win. He allowed no runs and two hits with two strikeouts. Burch Smith was the starter and did not get a decision. Smith went four scoreless innings and allowed two hits with six strikeouts and four walks.

    Lucas Erceg, Tyler Saladino homer as Missions pound Redbirds

    The Missions' Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Tyler Saladino watches his three-run homer sail over the right-field fence in the sixth inning against the Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
    The San Antonio Missions lashed out 15 hits including two home runs in a 9-3 victory over the Memphis Redbirds on Sunday at Wolff Stadium.

    Lucas Erceg hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-out solo shot in the second inning.

    Tyler Saladino hit his eighth homer of the season with two runners on base in the sixth inning.

    Erceg, Saladino and Blake Allemand had two hits each for the Missions.

    Missions starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (2-0) went six innings for the win. He allowed one unearned run on two hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

    It was the fifth straight win for the Missions, including the first four games of the current series against the Redbirds. The teams conclude their series with an early game Monday at 11:05 a.m.

    Missions edge Redbirds on Tyler Saladino’s walk-off double

    The Missions celebrate after Tyler Saladino's walk-off double against the Redbirds on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions celebrate after Tyler Saladino’s walk-off double against the Redbirds on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander
    On a night when he already had three hits including two doubles, Tyler Saladino needed to come through one more time.

    The San Antonio Missions trailed the Memphis Redbirds by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Saladino went to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.

    It looked like Saladino might push over the tieing run when it appeared he was hit by a pitch after the ball bounced. Saladino didn’t get the call.

    So Saladino took one more swing. This one produced his fourth hit and third double of the night – and ended the game.

    Saladino’s walk-off double drove in Tuffy Gosewisch and Jake Hager to give the Missions a 4-3 victory Thursday night at Wolff Stadium.

    Gosewisch had entered the game as a pinch-runner for David Freitas, who started the rally with a one-run walk. Hager, who pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot, followed with a single. Mauricio Dubon drew a two-out walk to load the bases and set the stage for Saladino.

    Missions relief pitcher Jay Jackson (2-1), who entered the game in the eight inning, pitched the top of the ninth and got the win.

    The Redbirds had taken a 3-2 lead on a pair of solo home runs in the top of the sixth inning.

    Saladino had a run-scoring single in the fifth inning that gave the Missions a 2-1 lead.

    The Missions’ Nate Orf scored the first run of the game by hitting his fifth home run of the season in the second inning.

    Missions’ Freitas, Dubon, Saladino homer against Baby Cakes

    The Missions' David Freitas hits his first home run of the season against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ David Freitas hits his first home run of the season. – photo by Joe Alexander
    Mauricio Dubon, David Freitas and Tyler Saladino homered to give the San Antonio Missions a 5-4 victory over the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium.

    Dubon hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning for the first run of the game.

    Freitas, who leads the Missions in hitting with a .359 average, hit his first homer of the season in the second inning. That gave the Missions a 2-0 lead.

    The Missions' Mauricio Dubon homers against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Mauricio Dubon homers against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

    Tyler Saladino added a massive two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was a 476-foot shot over the big wall in straightaway center field.

    The Missions' Tyler Saladino batting against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    The Missions’ Tyler Saladino batting against the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

    Missions starting pitcher Thomas Jankins (2-1) got the win. He went six innings and allowed two unearned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. He also had an RBI single in the fourth inning.

    Missions pitcher Thomas Jankins got the win against New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
    Missions pitcher Thomas Jankins got the win against New Orleans Baby Cakes on Thursday at Wolff Stadium. – photo by Joe Alexander

    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.