Hooks lose a close one in San Antonio


I got a chance to see some future Astros at work last night when the Corpus Christi Hooks opened a 3-game series in San Antonio. Bobby Doran (8-2, 3.18 ERA) got the start for the Hooks. The 24-year old right-hander didn’t appear to have his best stuff in the early innings but was still able to pitch out of trouble.

Max Stassi (photo by Tammy Tucker)

The Hooks took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Max Stassi drilled a 2-run homer through a stiff breeze and over the leftfield wall. It was Stassi’s 14th homer of the season. Acquired from Oakland in the Jed Lowrie trade, Stassi is quickly becoming one of the Astros most interesting prospects. An accomplished defender behind the plate, Stassi got the start at DH and occupied the cleanup spot Monday night. Stassi had a big game, going 4 for 4 with a walk.

The Hooks led 3-1 in the sixth inning when Doran gave up a game-tying homer to Jeudy Valdez. Doran was relieved by our old pal Sergio Escalona in the seventh and that’s when things got interesting.

Escalona plunked Reymond Fuentes in the back with the first pitch he threw. The wildness continued and Escalona uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Fuentes to advance to second. Sergio’s third mistake of the inning, a balk, moved Fuentes up another 90 feet. After issuing a walk, Escalona  forced the runner at second on a Johan Limonta  comebacker. Then, he almost escaped the inning without allowing a run by getting a grounder to third. Jonathan Meyer forced the runner at second but the relay throw to first was too late to get the double-play. Fuentes scored on the play, giving the Missions a 4-3 lead.

San Antonio had scored the go-ahead run without getting a hit. In fact, neither team had a hit after the sixth inning until Stassi came to the plate with two outs in the ninth. The Hooks were down to their last strike when Stassi hit a hard grounder just inside the third base bag. Max hustled into second base with his second double of the night, bringing Domingo Santana to the plate.

Santana hit a hard grounder to the right side that bounced off Limonta’s glove and trickled into short rightfield. Stassi took an aggressive turn around third base and, after a brief hesitation, decided to try to score. Second-baseman Cory Spangenberg pounced on the ball and threw home. Stassi slid head-first into the plate and was called out on a bang-bang play that could have gone either way.

Although Stassi had a big night, I’m sure he wishes it would have ended differently. The loss broke a first place tie and dropped the Hooks one game behind the Missions in the standings. Mike Foltynewicz (5-1, 2.49) goes against Keyvius Sampson (8-4, 2.49) in game two of the series tonight at Wolff Stadium.

Notable: The Hooks played flawless defense in the 4-3 loss. I was especially impressed with shortstop Ronny Torreyes, who made all of the routine plays and a nice bare-handed play on a slow bouncer.