August 4, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds
In his first two starts against the Missions, both at San Antonio's Nelson Wolff Stadium, A.J. Puk pitched a total of 1.1 innings and surrendered nine runs for a 60.75 ERA. For six innings on Thursday night at Security Bank Ballpark, the lefty turned the tables on the Missions, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out 13 batters.
San Antonio then turned the tables on the 'Hounds, by erasing a 3-0 deficit with a four-run seventh inning, as the Missions rallied for a 5-3 win in the opener of the four-game series.
The 'Hounds built the 3-0 lead on a solo home run from Max Schrock in the second, an RBI single from Jorge Mateo that scored Schrock in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk to Max in the sixth inning. The 'Hounds, though, still had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth and could not add to the lead, taking the 3-0 advantage into the stretch inning.
Whether the long wait during the home half of the sixth played a role is nothing more than conjecture, but Puk walked the first batter he faced in the seventh, Javier Guerra on four pitches. It was not only the left-hander's first 3-0 count of the night, but the first time he had started a batter 2-0. Franmil Reyes followed with a one-out double and Ty France 's ground out brought in the Missions' first run. River Stevens - who had the Missions' only hit through six innings - then singled to left to slice the RockHounds' lead to 3-2 and ending Puk's night.
Webster Rivas sent a flair single to right against reliever Carlos Navas, tying the game at 3-3, and Noah Perio 's triple to the gap in left-center completed the comeback, scoring Rivas. The Missions added a Stephen McGee short-porch solo home run to the right field bullpen in the eighth to produce the final margin.
Puk's 13 strikeouts - he whiffed 12 of the first 18 batters he faced - were a career-high. The performance came in a match-up between two of the top eight selections in the 2016 draft, with Puk (selected sixth overall by Oakland out of the University of Florida) facing Cal Quantrill (taken eighth overall by San Diego out of Stanford University). Cal, the son for former Major League reliever Paul Quantrill, earned his first Double-A win, allowing three runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out three over six innings. Puk, who did not figure in the decision, went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and one walk along with the career-best 13 strikeouts.