Nestor’s 10th Save; Pribanic Has a Strong Start;

Friday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

The Lynchburg Hillcats and the Winston-Salem Dash were postponed. �They will try for two on Saturday night.
In the afternoon:
GCL Tigers 3, �GCL Bradenton Pirates 0

The Pirates had at least one base runner on in all but the first two innings, but could not get any of them around to score. �They had two runners on in the 3rd, when RF Melvin De La Cruz �singled and 2B Gift Ngoepe walked. �De La Cruz reached base again in the 5th inning on a throwing error, and he advanced to third base when Ngoepe singled. �When the Tigers made a pickoff attempt on Ngoepe, De La Cruz was caught trying to steal home. �In the 6th inning, the Pirates had back-to-back singles from 1B Gerlis Rodriguez and�DH Jairo Marquez,�and a wild pitch moved them up to second and third bases, but a strikeout ended the inning with both still on the bases. �
The Pirates’ pitchers allowed a total of 12 hits. �Starter Trent Stevenson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, with 3 strikeouts. �One run scored in the 4th inning on a double and an RBI single. �A solo homer added another run in the 5th inning. �Eliecer Navarro pitched the next two innings, and he also allowed a run, on three singles in the 6th inning. �Andres Santos pitched the last inning, and gave up only one hit.
And in the evening:
Altoona Curve 9, �Erie SeaWolves 6

SS Brian Friday and RF Jonel Pacheco had 3 hits each, and Friday contributed 3 RBI as the Curve posted a total of 13 hits and scattered their runs throughout the game. �The Curve took the early lead with one run in the 1st inning on 3B Pedro Alvarez’s double and singles by Jonel Pacheco and DH Jason Delaney. �They added three more runs in the 2nd inning. �2B Shelby Ford led off with a single into left field. �LF Jeff Corsaletti walked, and Brian Friday doubled in Ford, while Corsaletti moved to third base. �CF Gorkys Hernandez singled to short, but a throwing error by the Erie shortstop let both Corsaletti and Friday score. �
Starter Mike Crotta faced the minimum number of batters over the first 3 innings, allowing one walk, though that batter was thrown out trying to steal second. �He got into trouble in the bottom of the 4th, giving up a walk, an RBI double, and an RBI single. �Michael Dubee relieved Crotta. �He first threw a wild pitch, then had a batter reach on a fielding error, as an unearned run scored (charged to Crotta). �An RBI double brought in the 4th run of the inning, also unearned, and the score was tied. �Dubee gave up two more runs in the 5th, on back-to-back solo home runs.
The Curve kept scoring, though. �Jonel Pacheco was hit by a pitch to lead off the 5th inning, and he worked his way around the diamond on a single by Jason Delaney, a ground out by Shelby Ford, and walks to C Steve Lerud and Jeff Corsaletti. �They went into the top of the 6th behind by one run, 6-5. �That inning began with a walk to Gorkys Hernandez and singles by Pedro Alvarez and Jonel Pacheco to load the bases. �Jason Delaney was walked, forcing in Hernandez to tie the score. �1B Miles Durham grounded to third, resulting in a force out of Alvarez at the plate, but Shelby Ford lined a single into center, bringing in Pacheco, and the Curve had the lead. �
Two insurance runs scored in the 8th inning. �Miles Durham walked and stole second base. �Shelby Ford and Jeff Corsaletti also walked, loading the bases for Brian Friday. �Friday singled into left field, bringing in Durham and Ford to give the Curve a 9-6 lead. �
Derek Hankins pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts. �Hankins gave up a triple to lead off the 7th inning, then retired the next 3 batters, leaving the runner still on third base. �In the 9th inning, Hankins got two line outs, both to Pedro Alvarez at third base, then gave up a walk. �Scott Nestor earned his 10th save by relieving Hankins and striking out the final batter of the game. �Michael Dubee earned his third win. �
West Virginia Power 6, �Bowling Green Hot Rods 2

1B Kyle Morgan and SS Adenson Chourio led the Power with 2 hits each, and Morgan’s 2-run homer put the Power ahead to stay. �
After getting only one runner on base in the first 3 innings (Chourio’s first single), the Power broke out in the 4th. �DH Robbie Grossman walked, C Tony Sanchez tripled to bring in Grossman, and Morgan blasted his 8th home run to give the Power a 3-run lead. �They added another run in the 6th inning when Grossman walked and stole second base (his 33rd of the season). �He scored on Morgan’s RBI double. �
Aaron Pribanic pitched 6 innings in his start, and allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk. �The run came in the 4th inning, on a single, a walk, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. �Pribanic earned his 3rd win. �Gabriel Alvarado pitched the final 3 innings, and he also allowed one run, which came in the 9th, on a double, a single, and an RBI ground out. �
Th
e Power picked up two more insurance runs in
the 9th, when LF Quincy Latimore singled and 3B Bobby Spain brought him in with an RBI double. �
State College Spikes 5, �Williamsport Crosscutters 2

Pitchers ruled for the first 5.5 innings of this game, which was delayed for more than 90 minutes due to rain. �The Spikes put two base runners on in the bottom of the 1st, when SS Brock Holt walked and 1B Aaron Baker singled, moving Brock to third base. �A double play ended the inning without a run scoring. �The next 13 Spikes’ batters went down in order, until the 6th inning. �LF Kyle Saukko singled with one out, and advanced to second base on a throwing error. �He scored on Holt’s RBI single. �CF Evan Chambers grounded to second, where Holt was out on the force, and Chambers was safe at first. �Aaron Baker tripled, scoring Chambers, and the Spikes had a 2-0 lead. �
Kyle McPherson gave up only one single over the first 3 innings of his start. �He gave up another single and a walk in the 4th inning, and a single in the 5th, but no runs in his 6 innings of work. �Mike Williams relieved McPherson, and he retired the side in order in the 7th. �The Crosscutters scored 2 runs in the 8th, on a double and a single, a throwing error, and a grounder for a double play, which also brought in a run. �That tied the score at 2-2.
The Spikes came back in the bottom of the 8th, to take the lead and the win. �C Craig Parry led off with a single, and Kyle Saukko sacrifice bunted him to second base. �Brock Holt singled, moving Parry to third base. �Evan Chambers walked to load the bases. �Aaron Baker brought Parry in with a sacrifice fly, and DH Justin Byler and 3B Pat Irvine both singled, scoring Holt and Chambers, to give the Spikes the 5-2 lead. �
Mike Williams was charged with the Blown Save, but then credited with the win. �Marc Baca earned his 6th save with a scoreless 9th.

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Joel Hanrahan and peripheral stats

When the Pirates acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals, I immediately noticed the huge discrepancy between his peripherals and his unsightly 7.71 ERA. Hanrahan struck out 35 batters, walked 14, and allowed three home runs in his 32.2 inning with Washington this year. That comes out to a FIP of 3.60, more than four runs lower than his actual ERA. I immediately liked the acquisition, as it seemed obvious that Hanrahan’s absurd...

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Alvarez Blasts 2, Herrera Wins #11, Leach Throws 8.2 Shutout Innings

The Pirates’ minor leaguers were busy on Thursday….

Altoona Curve 9, Harrisburg Senators 4

The Curve scored 6 runs in their final two at-bats, posting 15 hits in this come-from-behind win. Three Curve batters, 3B Pedro Alvarez, RF Jonel Pacheco, and LF Jeff Corsaletti, all had 3 hits in the win. �Alvarez hit home runs #11 and #12 with the Curve, for 3 RBI, and Pacheco’s three hits were all doubles. �
Donnie Veal made another start for the Curve, pitching 2 innings. �He hit the first batter he faced with a pitch, then gave up an RBI double, scoring the runner from first base. �He also gave up a walk in the 1st inning and a single in the 2nd inning, but then struck out 4 batters.
Yoslan Herrera took over after Veal was finished, and he too had trouble with the first two batters he faced. �He gave up a double, then a 2-run homer, and the Senators had 3 runs.
The Curve had it tied up by the bottom of the 3rd though. �Jonel Pacheco led off the 2nd inning with a double, and he scored on DH Jason Delaney’s 5th triple of the season. �2B Ray Chang doubled in the 3rd inning, and Pedro Alvarez countered the Senators’ homer with his own 2-run homer, and the game was tied.�
The Senators took the lead again in the top of the 6th, on a two-out walk and a double into right field, combined with a fielding error by Pacheco. �Yoslan Herrera pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (the run in the 6th was unearned) on 5 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts. �That earned him his 11th win of the season. �Ramon Aguero pitched 2 perfect innings to finish the game and earn his 4th save. �
After the Senators scored in the 6th, it was all Altoona for the rest of the game. �The Curve retook the load in the 7th. �With one out, Alvarez homered again, another blast over the right field wall. �Pacheco followed the homer with a double, and SS Brian Friday reached on a fielder’s choice that also sent Pacheco to third base. �Jason Delaney loaded the bases with a walk. �C Steve Lerud singled, scoring both Pacheco and Friday, and Jeff Corsaletti’s single brought in Delaney, to give the Curve a 7-4 lead. �
The Curve added two more insurance runs in the 9th. �Ray Chang led off with a walk, and went to third on Pedro Alvarez’ single. �Jonel Pacheco brought Chang in with a sacrifice fly. �After a pitching change, Jason Delaney lined a single into left field. �Alvarez scored, but Delaney was out at second base on the throw in from left. �
Pedro Alvarez will be leaving the Curve on Monday, to join Team USA in their camp in North Carolina. �Joining Alvarez on Team USA will be Indy Indians’ Daniel McCutchen, who Team USA has assured the Pirates will be only used as a starting pitcher. �Former Indy Indian Jason Childers (now with the Durham Bulls in the Rays’ organization) will be in Team USA’s bullpen. �There will be 7 other AA-level players besides Alvarez on the roster, and the rest at all AAA-level players. �OF Ike Davis (Binghamton Mets) and RHP BJ Rosenberg (Reading Phillies) are the other AA players from the Eastern League. �Familiar AAA names include OF Josh Kroeger (Charlotte Knights/White Sox), SS Trevor Plouffe (Rochester Red Wings/Twins), RHP Todd Redmond (Gwinnett Braves), IF Terry Tiffee (Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs/Phillies), and RHP Ehren Wasserman (Charlotte Knights/White Sox).
And why is Daniel McCutchen going to Team USA instead of being promoted to the major leagues? �Couldn’t he help the Pirates down the stretch? �
Well, the Pirates’ official answer is that this is going to be best for his development, a “great bridge between the minors and majors for him” � (see Dejan Kovacevic’s Pirates’ Notebook in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).��That’s all nice, but it also means that McCutchen won’t begin his major league service time, and the Pirates won’t have to find a way to add him to the 40-man roster.
West Virginia Power 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0
Power starter Brian Leach pitched 8.2 shutout innings against the Hot Rods, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks and one hit batter, while striking out 7 batters. �He was relieved with one out to go in the 9th only because he had reached the pitch count limit. �Leach gave up a double and a walk in the 1st inning, but got a double play to get out of the jam. �He loaded the bases in the 2nd with a walk, a single, and the hit batter, but another timely double play got him out of that mess too. �Then Leach retired 13 batters in a row, before a Hot Rods’ runner got on base with a throwing error by 3B Bobby Spain to begin the 7th inning. �A line-out/doubled off first double play ended that inning, and Leach went on to retire the next 5 batters before giving up the third hit in the 9th inning. �Rafael De Los Santos (not to be confused with Frank De Los Santos, who was the BG starting pitcher) took over for Leach. �He walked a batter, and then got a strikeout to end the game. �
Meanwhile Frank De Los Santos pitched 5 hitless scoreless innings against the Power. �He also took advantage of double plays — one erased 2B Danny Bomback, who had walked in the top of the 1st. �In the 2nd inning, the Power loaded the bases when DH Calvin Anderson was hit by a pitch, RF Austin McClune walked, and Bobby Spain reached on a throwing error. �A double play got BG out of that jam too. �Frank De Los Santos also picked off two Power base runners: �LF Quincy Latimore in the 4th, and Austin McClune in the 5th. �The double play luck was transferred to De Los Santos’ relief, Shane Dyer, when he took over to begin the 6th: �a double play erased SS Adenson Chourio after his single. �

iv>

Finally, the Power ended the dou
ble play jinx in the top of the 7th. �Two hit batters, Latimore and McClune, and a single by 1B Kyle Morgan loaded the bases. Bobby Spain’s single scored both Latimore and Morgan, and Adenson Chourio’s double scored McClune and Spain. �That was all the firepower the team would need for the win. �
Wilmington Blue Rocks 7, Lynchburg Hillcats 2

The Hillcats were held to just one hit over the first 8 innings of this game. �Blue Rocks starter Alex Caldera scattered 3 walks over his 8 innings of work and did not allow a hit until RF Jamie Romak doubled in the 7th inning. �A passed ball put Romak on third base, but that was as far as he got. �The Hillcats picked up 2 hits and their only runs in the 9th, when 3B Jordy Mercer singled and moments later 1B Matt Hague blasted a 2-run homer. �
Justin Wilson suffered his 8th loss for the Hillcats, lasting 4 innings and allowing 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. �He faced the minimum over the first two innings, but gave up 3 runs in the 3rd with two outs, on three singles and a walk. �A walk, a wild pitch, and an RBI ground out gave the Blue Rocks a 4-0 lead in the 3rd inning. �Mike Colla relieved Wilson in the 5th and pitched 2 innings. �He gave up 3 more runs on two singles and two doubles. � Harrison Bishop finished the game for the ‘Cats with 3 excellent innings, allowing only a walk. �
Game 1
Jamestown Jammers 4, �State College Spikes 2

The Jammers swept a double-header from the Spikes, as they made up for Wednesday’s rain out. �In game one, Nathan Baker got his first professional start and pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits. �He was relieved by Mike Williams, who took the loss, allowing 4 runs (one earned) on 2 hits in the 5th. �A single and a throwing error on a pick-off attempt put the first batter of the inning on third base. �A double, a sacrifice bunt, and another double brought in two runs. �Then a walk, and a fielding error added a third run and chased Williams from the game. �Brandon Holden came on, but he walked the bases full and then walked in the fourth run of the inning. �
The Spikes could not get much going until the 6th inning, when three straight singles by LF Kyle Saukko, CF Evan Chambers, and SS Ty Summerlin scored one run, and a grounder brought in a second run. � The Spikes managed only one other hit in the game, another single by Summerlin in the 4th.
Game 2
Jammers 3, Spikes 2 �(11 innings)

These double-header games are supposed to be only 7 innings each, so an 11-inning second game makes for a very very long evening. �The Jammers got onto the scoreboard first in Game 2, with a single, a double, and an RBI single in the 3rd inning. �The Spikes came back with one run in the 5th, when 3B Pat Irvine was hit by a pitch, moved to second base on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by SS Elevys Gonzalez (just promoted from the Bradenton Pirates) and a throwing error. �They scored again in the 6th inning on 2B Brock Holt’s single and DH Justin Byler’s double. �
With the score tied at 2-2, the Jammers and the Spikes battled through 5 scoreless innings, going into extras. �Jason Erickson started for the Spikes and pitched 4 innings, allowing those 2 runs on 4 hits, no walks, and 4 strikeouts. �Zach Fosterpitched 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and 3 walks. �Alan Knotts relieved Foster and finished the 7th inning, then allowed only a single over the next 3 scoreless innings. �But the first batter in the bottom of the 11th hit a solo home run to (finally) give the Jammers the win.
GCL Bradenton Pirates 3, GCL Tigers 2
A 2-RBI double in the 4th inning by SS Gift Ngoepe made the difference for the Pirates. �The Tigers scored one run in the 1st inning on two doubles and a wild pitch off starter Zachary Fuesser, who went on to pitch 2 more scoreless innings. �The Pirates tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd. �Singles by RF Wesley Freeman and CF Edwin Roman opened the inning. �Ngoepe’s sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by the Tigers’ pitcher brought in Freeman. and left Roman on third and Ngoepe on second base. �Three strikeouts ended the inning without any more runs scoring.�
Rafael Quintero took the mound for the next 2 innings. �He gave up a run in the 4th on a double and an RBI single. �The Pirates came back in the bottom of the inning with singles by LF Rogelio Noris and walks to pinch-hitter Gemmy Gonzalez and�Edwin Roman. �Ngoepe dou
bled into left field to score both Noris a
nd Gonzalez, giving the Pirates the lead. �

Brooks Pounders pitched one scoreless inning and Papiro Juan earned his first save of the season with 3 more scoreless innings to finish the game for the Pirates.

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Jones Beats Happ, Phils with 8th Inning Dinger

The Pirates took two of three from Philadelphia thanks to some late game heroics from Garret Jones. Trailing 2-1 in the 8th, the Pirates had been manhandled by Philadelphia rookie J.A. Happ. Pinch hitter Ronny Cedeno singled leading off, but Happ retired the next two hitters without incident. Jones followed with a two run homer to put the Pirates up 3-2. Matt Capps closed the victory. Through the first seven innings, Happ had allowed...

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September Call-Ups

I’ve seen a lot of September call-up talk in the last week or two, but I wanted to wait until closer to the end of the month before I did my “what would I do” post on the topic. Before I get in to that, let me share my biggest pet peeve with September call-ups. Major league teams are allowed to expand their rosters from 25-men to 40-men in the month of September, with the players on the 40-man roster being the only...

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