Simon Castro yielded a bunt single with two outs in the sixth inning to spoil his bid for a no-hitter Friday, but the San Antonio Missions edged the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 2-1, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Signed by the Padres as a non-drafted free agent in 2006, Castro allowed a run in the first inning without a hit. He walked leadoff batter Derrick Robinson, then balked him to second. Two groundouts later and Northwest Arkansas had a 1-0 lead.
Castro was charged with one run on the lone hit with five strikouts over six innings. He wasn't around when the Missions pulled it out in the seventh in their home opener. They loaded the bases against Naturals starter Mario Santiago before former 12th-round pick Luis Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly.
Craig Italiano picked up his first win in relief of Castro, allowing two hits and fanning one in a scoreless inning.
The 22-year-old Castro is no stranger to no-hitters. He pitched the first one in Fort Wayne TinCaps history last Aug. 18, facing just one batter over the minimum. In the first round of the Midwest League playoffs, Castro pitched 6 2/3 hitless innings against South Bend before giving way to the bullpen.
The right-hander's game and mental makeup have not gone unnoticed by the Padres. During Spring Training, director of player development Randy Smith praised Castro, citing both his fastball and his learning capacity.
"He's got a great body, loose arm, a fastball in the mid-90s and a strikeout-type slider," Smith told MLB.com in March. "He's been a special kid since day one. His makeup, work ethic ... it was evident when we first signed him what kind of kid he was."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.