Looking at Pirates’ players and friends in winter league play….
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Venados de Mazatlan 16, Tomateros de Culiacan 2
Culiacan had the early lead with 2 runs in the 2nd inning. Former Pirate LF Luis Cruz walked and scored in that inning. But it was all Mazatlan after that. A sacrifice fly and a 2-run homer gave Los Venados a 3-2 lead in the 3rd. All was quiet until the 7th, when two walks and a single loaded the bases for RF Rogelio Noris. Noris, the hometown hero, blasted a grand slam over the center field wall for a 7-2 lead. Mazatlan scored twice more in that inning. Noris walked and scored in the 4-run 8th, and Los Venados added 3 more runs in the top of the 9th.
VENZUELAN LEAGUE — season openers
Navegantes de Magallanes 14, Aguilas de Zulia 8
A total of 29 hits in this game, and 20 of them by Los Navegantes, who scored 6 runs in the 4th and 5 runs in the 7th. Zulia countered with 3 runs in the 5th and 5 in the 8th. Diego Moreno pitched the top of the 9th for Los Aguilas, and kept Magallanes from scoring in that frame. He gave up a walk and a single, but ended the inning with a double play.
Tigres de Aragua 2, Cardenales de Lara
Former Pirate farmhand 1B Hector Gimenez came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied at 1-1 and two outs. He gave Aragua the win with a solo home run. LF Lastings Milledge and C Raul Chavez were both hitless, and pinch-hitter Jorge Cortes was also hitless.
Tiburones de La Guaira 6, Caribes de Anzoategui 3
CF Gorkys Hernandez went 0-for-5 for Los Caribes, who scored all of their runs in the 5th inning, with two singles and two doubles. Hernandez was hitting in the lead-off position, as he had in Indianapolis this year.