Curve Split Double Header; Homers For Diaz, Baker, And Grossman

Thursday night’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league teams…..

Akron Aeros  6,  Altoona Curve  1      (Game 1)
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The Aeros began today’s double-header with a 5-run 1st inning, and the Curve could not catch up in Game 1.  2B Brock Holt went 3-for-3 with a triple and two singles.  

Curve starter Aaron Thompson did not get out of the first inning.  With one out, A pair of doubles drove in one run.  A catchers’ interference call on C Eric Fryer put the next batter on first base, and a single loaded the bases.  Thompson got a strikeout, but then walked in a run.  Two more singles drove in three more runs for a 5-0 lead.  Tim Alderson relieved Thompson, and Alderson ended the inning with a tapper back to the mound.  
 
Alderson gave up a double and a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the next three batters to get out of the inning without further runs scoring.  He went on to retire the next 11 batters in order (14 in order overall), before giving up a solo home run in the 6th.  

Holt recorded his first single in the top of the 1st, and CF Starling Marte reached base on an error, but they were not able to come around to score.  Holt singled again in the 3rd, with two outs.  That time he was out at second on a grounder force out.  SS Jordy Mercer singled in the 4th, and was left on base.  The Curve scored their only run in the 5th.  1B Miles Durham walked in the 5th, and moments later, Holt drove Durham in with his triple.  

Altoona Curve  2,  Akron Aeros  1     (Game 2)
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Jared Hughes pitched into the 6th inning, and kept the Aeros scoreless in the night-cap.  Hughes gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, and worked around runners on base in four of the innings he pitched.  He left two runners in scoring position in the 1st, and allowed another single in the 2nd.  In the 4th, the Aeros doubled, and the runner advanced to third on a bunt.  A grounder to 3B Shelby Ford became a fielder’s choice when Ford’s throw home let C Kris Watts tag out the runner at the plate.  Hughes gave up another single and a walk in the 6th, and was relieved by Michael Dubee.  Dubee moved both runners into scoring position with a wild pitch, but ended the inning with a strikeout.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the 2nd inning.  DH Jeremy Farrell doubled into center field, and 1B Miles Durham walked.  Ford lifted a single into left field, allowing Farrell to score from second base.  A pair of doubles added another run for the Curve in the 3rd.  With one out, CF Starling Marte doubled into center field.  Marte scored on LF Quincy Latimore’s double into left.  Latimore also singled and Farrell walked in the 6th, but the Aeros changed pitchers, and two strikeouts ended the inning.  

Akron’s only run came in the bottom of the 7th.  Dubee gave up a lead-off double and a walk, and with two outs, an RBI single up the middle brought in the lead runner.   

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Santos Homers In Bradenton Loss

A rainy Tuesday night in the Pirates’ minor league organization.  The Indianapolis Indians played their entire game in the rain.  The Altoona Curve’s game against the Akron Aeros (in Akron) was postponed due to rain.  It will be made up as part of a double-header on Thursday.  The West Virginia Power and the Lexington Legends were also rained out in Lexington.  They’ll try for two tomorrow, beginning at 10 am.   The Marauders might have wished it was raining in Bradenton.

Clearwater Threshers  3,  Bradenton Marauders  2 
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LF Adalberto Santos hit his first homer of the season and contributed to the Marauders’ 9th inning rally, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Threshers.  Quinton Miller made the start for Bradenton.  He pitched 5 scoreless innings, though had to work around runners on base in each of them:  
– two singles in the 1st
– a hit batter, a single, and a walk in the 2nd
– a single in the 3rd (erased by a double play)
– a triple in the 4th (out at the plate on a fielder’s choice)
– a fielding error in the 5th.

But Miller’s luck ran out in the 6th, when the inning began with a double and a single to put two runners into scoring position.  A suicide bunt scored the lead runner, and with two outs, a single loaded the bases.  Miller was relieved by Jason Erickson, who threw a wild pitch, allowing the runner on third to score.  Erickson gave up an unearned run in the 8th, which would prove to be the winning run.  With two outs, a fielding error by 2B Jarek Cunningham put a runner on second, and an RBI double brought that runner around to score.  Duke Welker pitched the top of the 9th, and retired the Threshers in order — the only 1-2-3 inning for the Marauders’ pitchers.

The Marauders got onto the scoreboard in the 2nd inning, with Santos’ solo blast over the right field wall.  They put two runners on base in the 4th, when C Ramon Cabrera walked and 3B Elevys Gonzalez singled, but a double play ended that inning.   Santos reached base again in the 5th on a walk, then stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball, but that was as far as he got.  

The second Marauders’ run came in a rally in the 9th.  With one out, CF Evan Chambers walked, and Santos singled, moving Chambers to second base.  DH Cole White grounded to third, and the Threshers’ third baseman went for the fielders’ choice, but didn’t get it — leaving the bases full of Marauders.  An RBI ground out by SS Benji Gonzalez let Chambers score from third.  Another ground out ended the inning and the game.  

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Curve Are Two-Hit; Power Scratch Out 1-0 Win

Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  0
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Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss.  The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez.  Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base.  1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd.  LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th.  He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out.  Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.  

Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally.  The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks.  A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.  

Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits.  Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd.  Then things fell apart in the 3rd.  The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass.  The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored.  Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout.  But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0.  The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.  

Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single.  A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base.  Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third.  Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double.  Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out.  Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th.  He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run.  Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.  

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Marte Homers, Three Hits For Grovatt

A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract.  Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010.  He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH’ing.  Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI.  He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times.  Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.

Two minor league pitchers have been released:  RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston.  Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010.   Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.

 
Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  3
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Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve.   Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win.  The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st.  After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single.  Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning.  A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd.  Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.  

 The Squirrels’ starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order.  The first hit he gave up was a big one — a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte.  The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.  

The lead lasted only one inning.  Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th  He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base — two walks and a single back to the mound.  Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score.  An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead.  Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th.  The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.

The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th.  With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore.  But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez’s line out ended the game.  

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Bowker Goes To Indy; Marauders’ Rally With 5 Runs

The Indianapolis Indians and the West Virginia Power both had scheduled days off today.  

Roster moves:
OF John Bowker, who was DFA’ed last week, has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Indianapolis Indians.
LHP Dan Meyer has been activated off the Indians’ disabled list.
RHP Chris Leroux was moved to the Altoona Curve to make room for Meyer on the Indians’ roster.   

Akron Aeros  6,  Altoona Curve  3
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Chris Leroux was sent down to Altoona, then was charged with the loss in his first game for the Curve.  The game began with Akron scoring 3 runs in the top of the 1st.  Mike Colla, making his second start of the season, gave up a walk, a single, and a walk to load the bases.  The next batter grounded to third, but a fielding error by 3B Jeremy Farrell let the lead runner score and left the bases still loaded.  A single and a sacrifice fly each added another run, for a 3-0 lead.  

The Curve got one run back in the 3rd inning.  DH Kris Watts led off with a double, and 1B Miles Durham’s single put Watts on third base.  Two pop-outs later, Durham stole second base, then RF Eric Fryer walked to load the bases.  Just like the Aeros in the 1st inning, a grounder to third and an error by the third baseman let a run score.  But that was all the Curve could get, as they left the bases loaded.  The Curve loaded the bases again in the 4th inning, with back-to-back singles by 3B Shelby Ford (who took over for Farrell) and C Tony Sanchez, a balk, and a walk to Watts.  Durham’s sacrifice fly drove in Ford, before a double play ended that inning.  Fryer tied the score at 3-3 in the 5th with a solo home run.  

Colla pitched 4 more innings after the 1st, and allowed just one batter to reach base — a single in the 4th.  Then Sanchez threw that runner out trying to steal second base.  Matt McSwain pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Curve in the 6th.  Leroux took the mound to begin the 7th.  The first batter he faced smacked a solo home run.  The next batter reached base on a missed catch error by Durham at first, and a double put two runners into scoring position.  A fielder’s choice play was not fast enough, so let the runner from third score, and a sacrifice fly brought in the third run of the inning, for a 6-3 score.  Only one of the runs was earned.  

Anthony Claggett relieved Leroux to begin the 8th.  He gave up a walk, and that runner reached second base on a balk, and third base on a passed ball, but Claggett did not let him score.  Then he worked around a walk and a single in the 9th.  

SS Jordy Mercer and Ford both singled in the 5th inning after Fryer’s homer, but both were left stranded.  Only one Curve batter reached base after the 5th.  Watts singled to lead off the 6th, but was erased in a double play.  

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