Fun with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Thursday night…
Altoona Curve 7, Erie SeaWolves 2
A big 6-run 6th inning gave the Curve the win over Erie, despite the SeaWolves out-hitting the Curve 15 – 6.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. C Tony Sanchez reached base and got all the way to second on a throwing error by the Erie shortstop. A ground out by DH Kris Watts moved Sanchez to third, and a sacrifice fly by 1B Miles Durham brought Sanchez in to score.
Altoona starter Aaron Thompson gave up a single in both the 1st and 3rd innings, and both times erased the runners with a double play. He hit a batter and allowed two singles in the 2nd, but caught one runner stealing, and got out of the inning without a run scoring. The top of the 4th inning began with a lead-off homer to tie the score. After a fly out, Thompson gave up another solo homer, and Erie had a 2-1 lead.
After three hitless innings, the Curve erupted in the 6th, sending 10 batters to the plate. Holt started the rally with a double into right field. CF Starling Marte beat out a bunt for a single, moving Holt to third. LF Quincy Latimore lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Holt, and when the Erie center fielder’s throw back in went wild for an error, Marte moved to second base. That put Marte in position to score on SS Jordy Mercer’s single. 3B Jeremy Farrell and Watts both walked to load the bases, then Durham lined a single into left field, plating both Mercer and Farrell. A double by RF Brad Chalk scored Watts and Durham, and the Curve had a 7-2 lead.
Thompson was relieved after 5 innings, having allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk. Chris Leroux took over and pitched the next two innings. He gave up three singles but did not let a run score, and he was the pitcher of record when the Curve scored their 6, so he earned the win. Michael Dubee began the top of the 8th with three consecutive singles, then got out of the mess with a strikeout and a double play. He retired the side in order in the 9th.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
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.
Both the Curve and the Power played early games today….
Altoona Curve 3, Harrisburg Senators 2
A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg. Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings. A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer’s throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play. A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.
The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings. 1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play. Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd. But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th. Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis. Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte. Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead. The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar: Jimmy Barthmaier. With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.
The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th. Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners. He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate. A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run — both runs charged to Locke.
With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field. He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg’s right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer’s fly ball. The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings. Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th. Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.
It’s a rainy night for half of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:
The Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens had the first game of their 4-game series postponed due to an all-day-long rain. Yesterday it was snowing in Toledo, and this was not totally unexpected. The Tribe and the Hens are scheduled to play at 10:30 am on Wednesday, then play a double-header on Thursday at 5:30 pm to make up for today.
Pitcher Jose Ascanio was supposed to join the Indians today, to begin a rehab assignment, but that has obviously been washed away too.
The Altoona Curve and the Harrisburg Senators were also rained out in Altoona. They are also playing at 10:30 am on Wednesday, and that is the last scheduled game of this series with the Senators, so they will make up the rain out in June.
Curve pitcher Aaron Thompson was named the Eastern League for last week. He made two starts in the week, and won both games, earning a 0.75 ERA, with just 3 hits allowed in 12 innings.
Jupiter Hammerheads 1, Bradenton Marauders 0
The Marauders came out on the short end of a pitching duel today. Quinton Miller pitched well, but was charged with the loss, as he allowed the only run of the game on 5 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings of work, with 2 strikeouts. Miller gave up the run in the bottom of the 1st. The inning began with back-to-back singles, then both runners stole a base. An RBI ground out brought in the run. A walk and another single had another runner heading for the plate, but CF Evan Chambers made an excellent throw in to the plate, where C Ramon Cabrera tagged out the runner.
Miller scattered a walk and two singles over the next 5 innings, but did not let any further runs score. He was relieved by Jason Erickson to begin the 7th. After a 1-2-3 7th, Erickson worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless 8th inning.
Unfortunately, the Hammerheads’ pitchers were having even better luck against the Marauders’ batters. Bradenton put two runners on base in the 2nd, when LF David Rubinstein and Cabrera both singled, but Rubinstein was tagged out at third as he tried to pick up two bases on Cabrera’s single. The Marauders went down in order in the next 3 innings, then RF Adelberto Santos singled to open the 6th, but was left on base. With their last chance in the bottom of the 8th, 2B Jarek Cunningham lined a 2-out single into center field, and Chambers walked. But a ground out ended the threat and the game.
Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
West Virginia Power 7, Augusta Green Jackets 0
Three Power pitchers powered up to shut out the Green Jackets. Colton Cain made the start and earned his first win of the season. He allowed just one hit and one walk in 6 innings. Cain retired the first 9 Augusta batters in order, then gave up both the hit (a double) and a walk to begin the bottom of the 4th. A double play and a pop out got Cain out of that little jam, then he retired 6 more batters to end his outing. Kevin Decker allowed a single in each of his two innings, but maintained the shutout. Ryan Beckman gave up two singles in the 9th, but left both on base to end the game.
The Power began their scoring with an unearned run in the top of the 2nd. C Elias Diaz reached on a fielding error in right field, then advanced to third base on RF Dan Grovatt’s single. 2B Kevin Mort brought Diaz in with a sacrifice fly. Grovatt led off the 5th with a walk. He was forced out at second on Mort’s grounder, though Mort avoided the double play and was safe at first. LF Andy Vasquez plated Mort with a triple into right field.
The 6th was the big inning for the Power. CF Mel Rojas and 1B Matt Curry started the frame with back-to-back singles, and after two outs, Diaz walked to load the bases. Another walk to Grovatt forced in Rojas, then Mort drove in Curry and Diaz with a line drive single into center field. The Power tacked on another run in the 7th, when SS Gift Ngoepe doubled, Rojas singled (his third hit of the game), and a fielder’s choice on Curry’s ball let Ngoepe score. It was Curry’s turn to double in the 9th, and he scored on Avila’s RBI single.