Winter Leagues 12/20 — Thomas’ First Win, Aussie All-Stars
Looking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league action:
Cardenales de Lara 5, Tigres de Aragua 4
Los Tigres posted 10 hits, out-hitting Los Cardenales (6 hits), but late-inning runs could not get them caught up to Lara. LF Jonel Pacheco, hitting lead-off, homered and singled for Los Tigres. SS Ronny Cedeno went 1-for-5 and 1B Hector Gimenez walked twice, and scored in the 8th inning after a double and an RBI ground out. Wil Ledezma pitched in relief for Los Tigres, entering the game in the top of the 4th with two runners on and one out. Ledezma induced a double play to end the inning. He gave up a walk in the 5th, but did not let the run score.
Leones del Caracas 5, Caribes de Anzoategui 3
Armando Galarraga made the start for Los Leones, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 5.2 innings, but it was reliever Justin Thomas who earned the win. Thomas was the pitcher of record when Los Leones scored 2 runs on a tie-breaking homer in the top of the 8th. He had come on in relief in the bottom of the 7th with two on and two out, and got a line out to end the inning. Thomas was relieved to begin the 8th. Each team scored on a 2-run homer in the 1st inning, then Los Caribes scored a run in the 2nd. With runners on the corners and no outs, CF Gorkys Hernandez bounced into a double play, which allowed the runner from third to score (no RBI). A pair of doubles by Los Leones tied the score at 3-3 in the 6th inning.
Aguilas Cibaenas 6, Tigres del Licey 1
Los Aguilas began with 3 runs in the 3rd inning, then added 2 in the 6th and one run in the 7th. Los Tigres managed only 5 hits and one run, which came in the bottom of the 3rd on a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single. SS Yamaico Navarro went 0-for-2 for Los Tigres, and he was replaced at shortstop in the 6th inning.
Leones del Escogido 3, Toros del Este 1
Two runs in the top of the 10th by Los Leones broke a 1-1 tie and gave Escogido the win. Los Leones scored their first run on a double and an RBI single. A double, a stolen base, and a balk gave Los Toros their run in the 4th inning. Five scoreless innings later, a single, a walk, and a 2-RBI double by Los Leones gave them the go-ahead runs in the 10th. CF Starling Marte singled in the 7th, but was caught stealing; he also singled in the 9th for Los Leones. SS Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-2 for Los Toros, but was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the 7th.
AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME
World All-Stars 8, Team Australia 5
Even with some help from Pirates’ Rinku Singh, Team Australia could not keep up with the World. The World team scored both early and late, and featured 3-hit games by CF James McOwen (Mariners) and 1B Brian Burgamy (former Phillies’ organization). The top of the 1st began with a single by McOwen and a fielding error, which led to an unearned run for the World. A double and two singles brought in two runs in the 2nd inning. RF Denny Almonte (Mariners) began the 3rd with a walk, then came around to score on a ground out and a fielding error, giving the World a 4-0 lead. With pitchers getting one inning apiece on the mound, Rinku Singh came in to pitch the bottom of the 6th for the World. Team Australia, who had put at least one runner on base in 4 out of the 5 previous innings, was able to get to Singh and get onto the scoreboard. Singles by DH Justin Huber (formerly in the Twins’ organization) and Pirates’ 1B Stefan Welch, followed by a ground out, put two runners into scoring position. Another single drove in both runners, and a subsequent passed ball allowed another run to score. That put the Aussies within one run of the World, 4-3. The World extended their lead with a 3-run homer in the top of the 7th, then Almonte smacked a solo homer in the 8th. The Aussies tried to keep pace with a run on two walks and a single in the 7th, and a solo homer in the 8th, but time ran out on them, and the World had the win.