Checking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Thursday’s winter league action:
Tiburones de La Guaira 6, Bravos de Margarita 2
Anthony Claggett made the start for Los Bravos, and buzzed through the first four innings, allowing only a walk and a single in the top of the 1st. He retired the side in order for three innings, but got into trouble fast in the 5th. Back-to-back singles to begin the inning, and a wild pitch, put two runners into scoring position with no outs. A sacrifice fly plated one run, and another pair of singles brought in a second run. An intentional walk loaded the bases, and with two outs, Claggett was relieved. The new pitcher, Kristhiam Linares, hit the first two batters he faced with pitches, driving in two runs, and a wild pitch allowed the 5th run of the inning to score — all charged to Claggett. It was the third loss of the season for Claggett.
Cardenales de Lara 5, Caribes de Anzoategui 1
Los Caribes were held to just 2 hits, and scored their only run in the 5th. A lead-off double and two walks loaded the bases, and a hit batter drove in the run. CF Gorkys Hernandez walked once and struck out twice in his three trips to the plate. Los Cardenales scored one run in the 3rd, and 2 runs in both the 4th and 6th innings.
Navegantes del Magallanes 10, Leones del Caracas 0
Los Leones were held to just 4 hits, one hit batter, and one walk; one of those was erased in a double play, and the other 5 were all left on base. Los Navegantes had no such problem, particularly in the 3rd inning, when they exploded for 8 runs. The inning included four doubles, including three that were back-to-back-to-back. They added another 2 runs on a 2-run homer in the 5th. Justin Thomas pitched the bottom of the 8th inning for Los Leones, allowing only one single. CF Corey Wimberly went 0-for-4 for Los Leones.
DOMINICAN LEAGUE (playoffs)
Leones del Escogido 4, Gigantes del Cibao 1
Nelson Figueroa made the start for Los Leones and earned the win, in only his second appearance for Escogido. He pitched 7.2 innings, and allowed one run on 7 hits and a walk, with 6 strikeouts. Los Gigantes’ only run came in the 3rd inning on a single, a stolen base, and two ground outs. Los Leones scored their first run in the 1st, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single, then came around to score on a single and a ground out. A double and two singles plated a run in the 2nd inning, then a walk and two singles drove in a run in the 5th. Two more singles added a run in the 7th.
Aguilas Cibaenas 4, Tigres del Licey 1
Los Tigres scored their only run in the top of the 1st, on a double by new Pirate 2B Anderson Hernandez, and an RBI single by former Pirate C Ronny Paulino. Paulino singled again in the 4th, and SS Yamaico Navarro doubled in the 6th, but neither they nor any of Los Tigres’ other runners came around to score again. Los Aguilas were scoreless until the 6th inning, then scored in three consecutive frames. A solo homer in the 6th tied the score at 1-1. SS Pedro Ciriaco singled to lead off the 7th inning, moved to second on a bunt and to third on another single. A walk loaded the bases, and Ciriaco was forced in when DH Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch. With two outs in the 8th, Ciriaco tripled, then scored on a double. That runner advanced to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 2, Gigantes de Carolina 1 (Game 1)
Bobby Livingston, who pitched briefly for the Indy Indians in 2009, threw a 7-inning complete game for Los Gigantes and suffered the loss, despite allowing only 2 runs (one unearned). Livingston had to work around runners on base in 6 of his 7 innings, allowing 7 hits and 3 walks. He also struck out 6 batters. Los Leones scored their runs in the 4th inning, on a 2-out double, and a single that was misplayed in right field, allowing both runners to score. SS Benji Gonzalez was hitless in the game. Los Gigantes scored one run in the 5th, on a walk, a ground out, and a fielding error.
Leones de Ponce 2, Gigantes de Carolina 1 (Game 2)
Same score as the first game — a 2-run homer gave Ponce their runs in the top of the 5th. A walk, a double, and an RBI ground out gave Los Gigantes their run in the bottom of the inning.
Perth Heat 5, Adelaide Bite 4 (Game 1)
A solo home run in the bottom of the 7th inning by LF/3B Tim Kennelly (Phillies) gave the walk-off win to the Heat. The Bite had scored 2 runs in the 2nd on three singles and a sacrifice fly, then 2 more in the 4th on another three singles and an RBI ground out. The Heat also scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd, sparked by a batter reaching base on a fielding error by 3B Stefan Welch. A walk and a single drove in one run, and the runner from third base stole home. Kennelly homered in the 3rd inning to give the Heat a 3-2 lead. A single, a bunt, and a single by the Heat in the 5th tied the game at 4-4. Kennelly’s homer in the 7th was his 4th of the season. Welch went 0-for-4 at the plate, and 1B Calvin Anderson went 0-for-3.
Heat 10, Bite 9 (Game 2)
It was a Kennelly kind of day — 3B Tim Kennelly hit two more homers in the night-cap, and his brother LF Mathew Kennelly (Braves) also homered for the Heat. 3B/1B Stefan Welch picked up his first hit of the regular season, and that was also a home run. Former Altoona Curve starter Paul Mildren was on the mound for the Bite, and he dug himself into a hole right away. The first two batters of the game hit back-to-back homers (Tim Kennelly’s first of the game and third of the day). Three more homers came in the second inning — the lead-off batter, then after two outs, Tim Kennelly and Luke Hughes (Twins in 2011) hit back-to-back home runs. Mildren allowed only a single and a walk in the 3rd inning, but gave up Hughes’ second homer of the game in the 4th. Mildren was sent to the showers after that inning — he had allowed 8 hits, 6 of which were home runs, in 4 innings. The Bite began fighting back in the bottom of the 4th, with a solo homer by Denny Almonte (Mariners). They got busy in the 5th inning, which opened with three consecutive walks and a grand slam by Chin-lung Hu (Mets). The Bite continued their chomping in the 6th, when one run scored on two singles and a fielding error, then Stefan Welch smacked a 3-run homer, to give the Bite a 9-6 lead. But the Heat were not done. Rinku Singh took over on the mound for the Bite to begin the 7th inning, and he surrendered a solo homer to Mathew Kennelly. Singh retired the next three batters, then the first two in the 8th, before giving up two singles. Ryan Beckman relieved Singh and left those two Heat runners stranded. But in the top of the 9th, Beckman loaded the bases with ahit batter and two walks. Tim Kennelly’s single drove in two runs to tie the game, and Hughes’ single brought in the go-ahead run. 1B Calvin Anderson hit a ground-rule double over the left field wall in the 1st inning, but did not score.
Note: The Heat have made a roster move that removed former Pirate 1B Aaron Baker from the active roster and put him onto the “reserve” list.
Canberra Cavalry 9, Brisbane Bandits 6
Brisbane had the early lead, but the Cavalry rode up from behind, scoring 5 runs in their last two at-bats. The Bandits scored 2 in the 1st inning and 3 in the 3rd inning, while the Cavalry picked up one run on a walk, a throwing error, and an RBI ground out in the 2nd. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with Cavalry runners for C Travis Scott in the 6th inning. Scott’s double drove in two runs and an RBI ground out added a third run, bringing the Cavalry closer, 5-4. The Bandits stayed ahead with a run in the bottom of the 8th, but that was when the Cavalry started to take off. A 2-run homer in the top of the 9th tied the score and sent the game into extra innings. Two errors and a stolen base put a runner on third base in the top of the 10th, and an intentional walk gave the Cavalry runners on the corners. Scott’s squeeze bunt let the runner from third score the go-ahead run, then a 2-run homer gave Canberra some insurance. The Bandits went down quickly and quietly in the bottom of the 10th, to give the Cavalry the win.