SAN ANTONIO – The Missions split their doubleheader with the Amarillo Sod Poodles, winning the first game 6-1 before dropping the nightcap 6-0. In the first game, Adrian Martinez dazzled with six strong innings, and a key hit by Michael Curry, as well as home runs by Jose Azocar and Eguy Rosario, propelled the Missions to victory.
Azocar and Rosario both hit their home runs to the berm in left field. While Michael Curry didn’t get the fans scrambling down the hill for a souvenir, he got the scoring started for San Antonio with a single lined to the left field, driving in two runs in the bottom of the second. It was all Adrian Martinez needed to work with, as the 24-year-old right-hander breezed through six innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out four.
Martinez, a 24-year-old from Mexicali, Baja California, lowered his ERA to 2.87 with six innings of one-run ball. He sat comfortably 91-94 on his sinker, reaching as high as 96, and impressed with his slider as an out pitch, also utilizing the changeup sparingly, but with success.
“To be real honest with you, if [the Padres] called and said ‘Hey, we need another spot starter, who you got?’ I’m gonna say Martinez or [Aaron] Leasher,” said Missions manager Phillip Wellman after the game. “That last start with six innings and no hits, he was dominant. I told Pete Zamora [the San Antonio pitching coach], ‘He could’ve pitched in the big leagues with that tonight.’ Hopefully, he continues to grow and we get to see him at some point pitching in the big leagues.”
For Curry, he returned from two unexpected off days in rainy San Antonio to keep his hitting streak alive, now at five games. A 16th round pick out of Georgia, the former Bulldog began the season in Fort Wayne before being promoted to San Antonio on May 13. The right-handed hitting outfielder reached base in all three plate appearances, working a pair of walks to go with his base hit.
“I was just waiting for my pitch, I got it, and I took advantage of it,” said Curry in an interview between games.
Azocar’s home run was his fifth of the year, and his three runs batted in raised his season total to 28. A 25-year-old outfielder known mainly for his defense and speed, Azocar joined the Padres organization in the offseason after spending his entire professional career in the Detroit Tigers system.
The third-inning homer was the seventh of the season for Rosario, who started at shortstop. The 21-year-old entered the day 7-for-13 in the series, continuing a strong June into the month of July.
“Eguy’s getting better because he’s not chasing as much,” noted Wellman. “The big three stats we keep are on-base percentage, in-zone contact, and out-of-zone chase, and his chase rate continues to drop. He’s giving himself a chance.”
In the second game, Sod Poodles righty Matt Tabor held San Antonio hitless, allowing just two walks in the game. Since it was a seven-inning game, minor league baseball does not recognize the performance as a no-hitter. Lefty Osvaldo Hernandez took the loss in the contest, allowing two earned runs on six hits in four innings of work while walking one and striking out three.