Tuesday night’s Corpus Christi Hooks game in San Antonio against the Missions managed to take on the feel of an Astros game. Hooks starting pitcher Matt Heidenreich, staked to a 4-0 lead before taking the mound, allowed four runs in the first inning and three more before being relieved in the second.
The Hooks seemed to catch a break in the top of the first when George Springer was called safe at home on what appeared to be the third out of the inning. The Hooks went on to plate two more runs in the frame against Missions starter Jose De Paula, but it was all downhill from there.
De Paula settled down nicely after a shaky first inning whereas Heidenreich seemed to get cold while waiting to take the hill. The Hooks starter would allow seven runs on six hits and a walk in 1 & 1/3 innings of work. After the rough first inning, De Paula would only allow one more hit through the sixth.
Getting to see Springer play proved to be worth much more than the $2 price of admission. The Hooks centerfielder went 1 for 3 with a walk, stole two bases, and scored twice. His second run scored was a thing of beauty. After a walk, Springer dashed all the home from first on a double off the bat of Domingo Santana. As the ball went into the leftfield corner Springer turned on the jets and made it home before the Missions could get the ball back to the infield. On another note, one of the first things that I noticed was just how large Santana is. Listed at 6′ 5 ” and 228 pounds, the 20-year old outfielder is an intimidating figure in the batter’s box.
Hooks pitchers struggled all night as the Missions pounded out a total of 19 hits. The offense didn’t do much either — after the first inning. But there were a few nice plays made on defense by the Hooks. Third-baseman Jonathan Meyer was responsible for two of them. Meyer’s slickest play of the two was doubly impressive. After gloving a ball that took a tricky hop off the lip of the infield grass, Meyer quickly delivered a strong and accurate backhanded flip Enrique Hernandez at second base. It would have been a double play but Hernandez’s throw to first pulled Zach Johnson off the bag.
Another eye-popping play came courtesy of Drew Muren. After entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and hitting a rope to the centerfielder, Muren stayed in to play leftfield. In the bottom of the inning Muren chased a ball off the bat of Adam Buschini into the corner and came up throwing. Muren threw a laser to second base that appeared to beat Buschini to the bag. The runner was called safe but it was one of the most outstanding throws I had seen in a long time.
The overall results weren’t there for the first place Hooks on this particular evening. But the bright spots were pretty darn bright and that was reassuring to this Astros fan.