All of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost on Tuesday evening…..
New Britain Rock Cats 10, Altoona Curve 4
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It was a tough night for Curve starter Bryan Morris, who gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings of work. Morris got into trouble in the top of the 1st. He gave up a lead-off single, then set down the next two batters on fly outs. Three straight singles and his own throwing error on the final single (a bunt) brought in two runs. The top of the 2nd was worse — three singles and three walks, with a throwing error by LF Quincy Latimore, and an RBI ground out brought in another 5 runs for New Britain, for a 7-0 lead. Morris gave up a single in each of the next two innings, but retired those two runners with a pair of double plays.
The Curve got three of the runs back in the 3rd inning. DH Jose Hernandez doubled, and scored on RF Brad Chalk’s single. Chalk came in on 2B Brock Holt’s triple, then SS Jordy Mercer doubled, plating Holt. That cut the Rock Cats’ lead to 7-4.
But the Rock Cats added to their lead with 3 runs off reliever Tim Alderson. A single, a ground out, and a wild pitch put the lead-off batter on third in the 5th, and two more walks and a wild pitch brought him in. A walk, another wild pitch, an RBI single and an RBI double gave the Rock Cats 2 more runs in the 6th, for a 10-3 lead.
The Curve put base runners on in most of the remaining innings of the game, but they were left stranded. Holt singled and CF Starling Marte walked with two outs in the 5th, and the Curve did not put two runners on base again until the 9th. 1B Matt Curry walked to begin the 9th, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled. Curry went to third on the hit, and he scored on Hernandez’s sacrifce fly.
Corey Wimberly was the only Tribe batter to reach third base tonight.
Gwinnett Braves 2, Indianapolis Indians 0
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Starter Brad Lincoln pitched 6 strong innings in his first time out after missing his last start, but he didn’t get any run support, and suffered his 6th loss of the season, as the Indianapolis Indians lost to the Gwinnett Braves at Victory Field tonight. The Tribe batters recorded 6 hits, with two by Corey Wimberly, but could not push any of their base runners across the plate.
The Indians had some unusual situations in their defense and also in their lineup tonight. Clearly the injuries affecting the Pirates have the major league club looking more closely at what players in Indianapolis are doing. With Josh Harrison still out due to an oblique muscle strain, the Pirates are looking for another infielder who can play third base. Tonight, Chase d’Arnaud played third base for the first time this year, and the first time since a few games back at State College in 2008. Wimberly played second base for the first time this season. The Pirates have been talking about bringing up Alex Presley next week, when they begin interleague play again. Tonight Presley played right field for the first time this season. He did play some right field during spring training, and also last season when he had his September call-up to the Pirates. Andrew Lambo moved over to left field tonight.
The other change was that Brad Lincoln batted 8th in the order (photo above), with Wimberly taking the 9th spot. Manager Dean Treanor wanted to give Wimberly the chance of being in a position to bunt, and he felt that the 9th spot in the order would be best for that.
Lincoln had to face Atlanta Braves’ rehabbing outfielder Jason Heyward (photo), and it was Heyward who got the Braves’ scoring started in the top of the 1st. Lincoln retired the first two batters, LF Jose Constanza and SS Julio Lugo, both of whom had a hit-fest last night. Heyward ripped a line drive into the left field corner for a double. 1B Mauro Gomez followed with a grounder back up the middle, just out of reach of SS Brian Friday’s dive, driving in Heyward. A fly out left Gomez on first, but the Braves had a 1-0 lead.
Lincoln worked around one runner on base in three of the next four innings. He walked CF Jeff Fiorentino to begin the 2nd inning. 2B Ed Lucas rocketed a liner right back at Lincoln, whose glove hand came up almost in self defense. The ball almost tore the glove off his hand, but stuck in the web for a line out. Lincoln tossed to first, easily doubling off Fiorentino. He retired the side in the 3rd, then gave up a double to Gomez in the 4th. Gomez hit a rising line drive that missed being a home run by inches. Instead, it caromed off the top of the right field fence at the edge of the grass berm and back toward Presley, who got it back to the infield quickly, holding Gomez to two bases. Two other great defensive plays kept more Braves from reaching base in the 4th. Heyward lifted a high foul pop to the left side of the field, which d’Arnaud chased down and caught with a slide on the grass in front of the Indians’ dugout. 3B Wilkin Castillo followed Gomez’s double with a grounder to the middle of the infield. Wimberly went to his right and made a diving stop, keeping the ball from going into the outfield. His foot slipped as he was getting up, but Wimberly was still able to fire over to first base in time for the out on Castillo. Gomez went to third on the play, but Wimberly had saved a run.
The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….
Greensboro Grasshoppers 5, West Virginia Power 0
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The Power were held to just one hit — a single by CF Mel Rojas, which came in the 5th inning. The only other Power base runner was SS Drew Maggi, who walked to lead off the 4th, but was quickly picked off first base. After Rojas’ two-out single in the 5th, the remaining 13 batters were retired in order. It took three Grasshopper pitchers to do it, and their starter, Kyle Winters, pitched 7 one-hit innings, with 7 strikeouts, including striking out the side in his final inning.
Greensboro did all the damage they needed in the bottom of the 1st. A pair of doubles started the inning, and after a fly out, a 2-run homer gave the ‘Hoppers a 3-0 lead. Tyler Waldron had only one batter reach base in the next two innings, and that was on a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris in the 3rd. That runner was erased with an inning-ending double play. Waldron gave up 2 more runs in the 4th. Two singles and a wild pitch put two runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly and an RBI single drove in the two runs.
Victor Black relieved Waldron and ptiched a scoreless inning, with two walks and two strikeouts. Then 19-year old Orlando Castro made his US debut with 3 scoreless innings of work. The Honduras native gave up a 2-out single in the 6th, and a lead-off single and a walk in the 7th. The lead-off runner was eliminated in a double play. Then he retired the side in the bottom of the 8th.
Kris Watts’ first AAA hit is a triple, as he slides in ahead of the tag.
Indianapolis Indians 4, Gwinnett Braves 3
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The Indianapolis Indians took a step above the .500 level today, with a win over the Gwinnett Braves this afternoon at Victory Field. Starter Justin Wilson made his 13th start of the season and earned his 8th win, but had to work around a lot of base runners to do it. 3B Andy Marte, just back in the line-up after a hamstring injury, went 3-for-3 at the plate, and sparked the Tribe’s key rally in the 6th inning.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. With two outs, CF Alex Presley (photo), who leads the International League in hits, got hit #83 on a line drive into short center field. He stole second base, then a walk to LF John Bowker gave the Indians runners on first and second bases. 1B Matt Hague grounded to short, where Braves’ SS Julio Lugo could not get the ball out of his glove fast enough to throw anyone out. That loaded the bases for Marte, who took a 3-1 pitch into right field for a single. Presley and Bowker scored easily, and as RF Stefan Gartrell made the throw in to the plate, Hague also rounded third and was sent home. Hague slid in to the plate, but by then C Wilkin Castillo had the ball and was planted in front of the plate — Hague was tagged out at home to end the inning. Indians up, 2-0.
With one out in the 2nd inning, the newest member of the Tribe, C Kris Watts, who made his first AAA start today, also picked up his first AAA hit — a triple into right field. Gartrell made a dive for the ball, but missed, and the ball bounced all the way to the right field wall, as Watts raced around second and slid into third base (photo above). A walk to SS Chase d’Arnaud gave the Indians runners on the corners, but a ground out at second base ended the inning. The Tribe had only one hit over the next two innings, and that was Marte’s second hit of the game, a double to center field to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Braves’ CF Jose Constanza ran all the way back to the wall, where he made a leap for a catch. But the catch threw him into the outfield wall, and that jarred the ball out of his glove. The umpires ruled that it was not a catch, and Marte reached second base. He was stranded there, though, as Braves’ starter Erik Cordier retired the next three batters on fly outs.
Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.