San Antonio — Logan Allen had some serious heat Thursday night – and not just on his fastball.
Despite pitching with a fever over 100 degrees, the lefty dominated for 6.2 innings as the Missions opened their homestand with a 3-1 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders to extend their win streak to nine.
Facing the RoughRiders for the third time in four outings, the Missions starter changed up his approach a bit.
“Last time I faced them, I would throw one fastball and then a mix. This time, I could see their approach was a little better with the offspeed stuff, so I just pounded them with heaters,” said Allen. “I used the slider a little bit more this time.”
Allen’s fastball sat 91-93 through to his final batter, but he also used his change-up and both breaking balls effectively. He struck out a season-high nine batters while allowing three walks.
Through four innings the only runner he allowed – a one-out walk in the first – remained on base just long enough for Allen to pick him off. The next 10 Riders hitters went down in order without getting a ball out of the infield.
“I think it was just because I didn’t really care how it was going to go, I was just going to try to eat up innings,” said Allen.
Meanwhile, the Missions gave Allen a cushion in the third inning. Rod Boykin led off with a walk, swiped second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt before Fernando Tatis Jr. ripped a single to left to bring him in. Josh Naylor followed with a walk and the two executed a double steal perfectly. A single and sacrifice fly pushed them both across to spot Allen all the runs he’d need.
Frisco opened the fifth with a line drive single to left, then got lucky when first baseman Kyle Overstreet had trouble with his footwork when Tatis charged a slow chopper and fired the ball across, putting two men on with no outs. Allen then compounded the situation by walking the based loaded.
Allen came close to escaping from there, but a one-out flyball to center was just deep enough to allow Carlos Garay to score from third. Allen then induced a popout to avoid further damage.
After a quick sixth inning, Allen again pitched into trouble in the seventh. After a leadoff single, Allen struck out his eighth and ninth Riders of the night, but then allowed a Michael De Leon single.
With his starter at 90 pitches and clearly a little gassed, Missions manager Phillip Wellman came to the mound, but quickly opted to leave Allen in.
“I asked him, you got enough in the tank to get this guy out?” said Wellman. “I think it’s important for us to allow guys to get out of those situations, later in games. I think that gets guys over the hump. I think the other four starters say, ‘I’ll be damned, he left him in the game.'”
Allen wasn’t able to convert on the opportunity though, issuing a four-pitch walk that brought Wellman back out with the hook.
“Welly gave me the chance, and I appreciate him a lot letting me do that,” said Allen. “I just failed to get the job done there, but Rowan Wick came in, got a quick out and picked me up.”
Wick and Jose Castillo mowed down Frisco over the final two innings, both working with fastballs in the upper 90s.
Tatis finished the night with the single and a loud double off the fence in left, as well as one strikeout in four trips to the plate. In nine games this month, the shortstop is hitting .342/.457/.763 with 14 strikeouts against six walks in 46 plate appearances. He’s also swiped his first two bases of the year.
The Padres’ top prospect was equally impressive in the field. He went deep in the hole with a sliding stop at one point, made an equally impressive play going behind the bag at second, and converted on his opportunity coming in on the ball as well.
“I have not one negative thing to say tonight,” said Wellman. “We played great defense, we had tremendous pitching. We stole three bases and those guys all scored.”
NOTES: Just before the game, the club announced that Jesse Scholtens has been promoted to El Paso, and Lake Bachar will join them this weekend. Bachar will step into Scholtens’ spot in the rotation. Scholtens was sixth in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts through six starts and 35.1 innings of work. He’ll be taking the spot of Brett Kennedy, who became the second Chihuahuas starter to land on the disabled list this week. … Boykin had two walks and a strikeout on the night. After starting the year slowly, the 23-year-old outfielder has been hot of late, posting a .387/.457/.613 line. Seen as a project when the club selected him out of high school in Alabama in 2013, Boykin has been an offensive force since last May, despite continuing to strike out in well over a third of his plate appearances.