By Pat Turner
The Missions were looking to have a perfect finish to their eight-game homestand Sunday afternoon.
Instead, they’ll have to settle for close to perfect. Frisco ended the Missions 11-game winning streak (seven coming at home) with a 10-3 smashing at Wolff Stadium.
Frisco hammered Missions pitchers for a season-high 16 hits with much of the damage coming from Eliezer Alvarez, who drove in five while going 3 for 6.
Starter Cal Quantrill (2-3) received the brunt of the punishment, surrendering seven runs, nine hits and three walks in the first four innings.
“It was ugly from the get go,” Missions manager Phillip Wellman said. “We didn’t set a very good tone. We didn’t get a scoreless inning until the sixth. That makes it tough. Cal’s (Quantrill) fastball was a little erratic. He wasn’t throwing his slider for strikes.
“He has to figure a way to put guys away with two strikes. That’s been his issue for a couple of starts. Hopefully, he and JJ (Missions pitching coach Jimmy Jones) will figure something out. It’s about perspective. In five days, Kyle will be out there. Hopefully, he learned from today. If he learned something from today, then the price is worth of it.”
Despite the ugly finale, the Missions had a memorable eight-game homestand.
The Flying Chanclas, the San Antonio team’s name during Thursday home games, had a grand introduction and became an instant hit with fans. A cat and mouse made surprise visits in the outfield on separate nights. Sunday, a frog appeared in the first base coaching box late in the game. The winning streak included two walk-off grand slam victories against Corpus Christi within a three-day span.
“It’s been a good two weeks,” Wellman said. “If someone says you’re going 7-1 on a homestand and one of them is going to be ugly, I’ll take that.”
Hints of a bad day for the Missions surfaced in the first as Frisco jumped on Quantrill for two runs in the first.
Alvarez singled but was erased by catcher Kyle Overstreet on a stolen base attempt. The RoughRiders kept banging away.
Michael O’Neill laced a double to left and Jose Trevino smashed a triple off the center field wall. Hunter Cole plated Trevino with a sacrifice fly to deep right.
The Missions struck for a run in the bottom half.
Fernando Tatis Jr. walked and stole second to set up Josh Naylor’s RBI single in the gap. Naylor tried to stretch the hit into a double, but center fielder Alvarez’s throw to second baseman Yonny Hernandez foiled that attempt.
The RoughRiders countered with productive plate appearances in the second and third innings with an RBI double from Michael De Leon and run-scoring single from Carlos Garay to build a 4-1 lead.
It got worse for Quantrill and the Missions in the fourth as Alvarez unloaded his third homer against San Antonio this season – a three blast over the right-field fence for a 7-1 advantage.
The Missions had a chance to cut into the deficit in bottom half of the inning.
Overstreet slashed a one-out single and River Stevens walked. One out later, Forrestt Allway sent a single to right field. Overstreet raced for home, but Frisco outfielder Hunter Cole’s throw reached the plate in time to catch the baserunner.
Gerardo Reyes took over the pitching for San Antonio in the fifth but didn’t fare much better. Garay greeted him with a double, before two walks filled the bases.
Alvarez came through for Frisco again with a two-run single to left.
Hopes of a comeback occurred briefly in the seventh when the Missions loaded the bases with Allday’s single, a hit batsman and walk.
Naylor grounded into what appeared to be a double play, but after getting the force at second, Hernandez overthrew first as two San Antonio runs crossed the plate. Ty France planted a single in shallow center and Overstreet drew a two-out walk to fill the bases again.
Before it got any worse, Jeffrey Springs came to Frisco’s rescue and ended the rally with a flyout.
The RockHounds reached double digits in the scoring department with Marte’s RBI double in the ninth.
San Antonio begins an eight-game road trip, starting with tonight’s opener with Corpus Christi, which sits five games behind the Missions.
Missions notes: The cat, snake and frog appearances during the homestand were unique, but Wellman has seen something more bizarre on a field – camels.
That happened when he was managing in Chattanooga.
“It was the wildest thing,” Wellman said. “They had two camels, Humpy and Lumpy out in the center field pen for attractions. They got out one night. It took about 20 minutes to get them back.