Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 2 …����� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League Championship tonight, defeating the Trenton Thunder in Game 4 of the championship series in Trenton.� Starter Tony Watson, who was also the winning pitcher a week ago when the Curve won the divisional series, earned the win again tonight.� Closer Daniel Moskos (photo, while with the Indy Indians), earned his 5th save of the playoffs.� He had a save in each of the Curve’s three wins in the championship series, and also in two of their three wins in the divisional series.� The offensive star of the game was DH Jim Negrych, who went 3-for-5 and led the way with 3 RBI.
Watson pitched 6 innings and struck out 10 Thunder batters.� He gave up 2 runs on only 5 hits and 2 walks.� The Thunder began the bottom of the 1st with a single off the bat of CF Austin Krum, who also stole second base.� After two strikeouts, Watson walked C Austin Romine, but then struck out the next batter, leaving the two runners on base.
Watson gave up two hits and a run in the 3rd.� 2B Matthew Cusick led off with a triple into right field.� Two outs later, he scored on RF Daniel Brewer’s line drive single into right field, and the Thunder had a 1-0 lead.
The Curve had put one runner on base in the 1st, when 3B Josh Harrison reached base on an error, then stole second base.� In the 2nd, Negrych hit a 2-out single up the middle, then CF Jose De Los Santos walked, but all three of them were left on base.� When the Thunder made another fielding error in the 4th, the Curve were able to capitalize.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a walk, then a fielding error by the Thunder first baseman put LF Andrew Lambo on first and Hague on third.� That brought up the offensive hero, Jim Negrych (photo, with the Indy Indians).� Negrych slapped a grounder into left field for a 2-RBI single, bringing in both Hague and Lambo to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.
The Curve rallied again, with help from Negrych, in the 5th.� Harrison led off with a line drive into center field, and he moved to second base on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out.� Hague lifted a single into right field, and Harrison raced around from second.� When the throw in from the outfield ticked off the catcher Romine’s glove, Harrison scored and Hague advanced to second base.� Hague moved up to third base on Lambo’s ground out.� The Thunder intentionally walked C Hector Gimenez, and Negrych again came to the plate with a runner in scoring position.� Negrych lined into left field, with the Trenton LF Damon Sublett giving chase.� Sublett went for the sliding catch — and missed.� As the ball went on behind Sublett, Negrych was safely into second base with a double, and Hague scored, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.
Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 0 …������ (box)
The Curve took advantage of the unexpected day off yesterday, and came back to action ready to roll.� Three Curve pitchers combined to shut out the Thunder in Trenton, as the Curve took a 2-games-to-one lead in the 5-game Eastern League Championship Series.
Justin Wilson made the start for the Curve, pitching 7 innings and allowing only 5 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts.� Wilson had to work around at least one runner on base in every inning but one, as he scattered the hits and the walk, and also had a batter reach third base on a fielding error by Anthony Norman in right field.� The Thunder put two runners on base in the 3rd inning, when Wilson got two outs, then gave up a single and a walk.� That was the closest the Thunder came to hurting Wilson, though, and he calmly got a fly out to end the inning.� Wilson was also able to take advantage of timely double plays to erase base runners in the 6th and 7th innings.� He earned his second post-season win, and increased his total of post-season scoreless innings to 13.
LF Andrew Lambo was the first to provide Wilson with some run support, when he blasted a solo home run, rising over the left-center field wall in the 2nd inning.
The Curve batters were quiet for the next two innings, until DH Jim Negrych walked to start a two-out rally in the 5th.� A passed ball put Negrych on second base, and CF Jose De Los Santos singled to second base, moving Negrych to third.�� Norman slipped a grounder just out of the reach of the Trenton second baseman, scoring Negrych.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.� That gave 3B Josh Harrison the opportunity to drive another single into right field, bringing in both De Los Santos and Norman, and the Curve had a 4-0 lead.
Lots of home runs in the minor leagues tonight, including Jim Negrych’s 2-run homer that won the game for the Indianapolis Indians.
Bradenton Marauders �9, �Jupiter Hammerheads �7 (box)
A 5-run inning boosted the Marauders in the early part of the game, and then the Marauders had to use three home runs to make up for making 4 errors in the field. �The two teams combined for 27 hits in the game, with the Marauders accounting for 16 of them.
Bradenton starter Nate Adcock gave up a run in each of the 2nd and 3rd innings. �Two singles and two throwing errors brought in a run in the 2nd, and a double, a single, and an RBI ground out plated the run in the 3rd.
The newest Marauder, 2B Jorge Bishop, got the party started in the bottom of the 3rd with a lead-off triple. �A single by SS Greg Picart brought in Bishop. Another single by CF Robbie Grossman and a double by rehabbing DH Steve Pearce plated Picart. �LF Quincy Latimore singled to score Grossman and Pearce. �Two more singles, by 1B Calvin Anderson and 3B Adenson Chourio scored Latimore. �The Marauders almost had another run, but Adenson Chourio was throw out at the plate after C Andrew Walker’s single. �The Marauders came out of the inning with a 5-2 lead.
Adcock got into trouble in the 5th, when a fielding error began the inning. �A double, a single, a passed ball, and two RBI ground outs brought in three more runs, only one of which was earned. �Another double, a fielding error, two singles and a sacrifice fly brought in an earned run and an unearned run in the 6th.
The Marauders kept up with the help of the homers. �Calvin Anderson smacked a solo homer in the 5th. �A double by Bishop, a stolen base, and a wild pitch added another run in the 6th, to tie the score at 7-7. �Back-to-back homers by Quincy Latimore and Calvin Anderson in the 7th gave the Marauders the go-ahead run and one more for insurance.
Tyler Cox, Ramon Aguero, and Noah Krol each pitched one scoreless inning of relief, with 5 strikeouts between them. �Cox earned the win, since he was the pitcher of record when Latimore and Anderson homered in the 7th. �Aguero was credited with a Hold, and Krol earned his 16th save of the season, tying him for the lead in the Florida State League.
Rehabbing Steve Pearce went 1-for-3 with an RBI double, a walk, and a strikeout in the game.
The Bradenton Marauders and the Florida State League had a scheduled day off today, after yesterday’s All-Star Game. �The West Virginia Power also had a scheduled day off. � That leaves just the Curve…
Altoona Curve �6, �New Britain Rock Cats �5 (box)
The Curve broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 8th inning, then had to hold off a Rock Cats’ rally in the 9th to preserve the win.
The Rock Cats’ began the scoring with a run on a single, a ground out, a stolen base, and an RBI ground out in the 1st inning. �The Curve answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. �RF Miles Durham led off with a walk, and LF Anthony Norman lined a single into right field. �SS Chase d’Arnaud dropped down what he thought would be a sacrifice bunt, but he beat the throw, claiming a hit to load the bases with no outs. �A wild pitch scored Durham from third base, and moved both Norman and d’Arnaud up a base. �Then a grounder to short allowed Norman to score, and the Curve were ahead, 2-1.
They repeated the same run pattern in the 4th inning. �The Rock Cats scored one run in the top of the inning, on a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. �Then the Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. �This time it was 2B Jordy Mercer who led off with a walk, and he scored on C Kris Watts’ double. �Watts moved to third base on a ground out, and he scored on Durham’s single up the middle.
Curve starter Justin Wilson kept the Rock Cats from scoring in the 5th, but gave up another 2 runs in the 6th. �A lead-off single, plus back-to-back doubles brought in the 2 runs, tying the score at 4-4. �Wilson exited after that inning, allowing the 4 runs on 10 hits, no walks, with 2 strikeouts. �He left the game with the score tied, so was not going to factor into the decision.
Mike Dubee pitched a perfect 7th inning, preserving the tie. �He gave up a single in the 8th, and after a bunt and a throwing error by SS d’Arnaud, the Rock Cats had runners on the corners with two outs. �Dubee was relieved by Danny Moskos, who finished the inning with a ground out, preserving the tie.
The Curve couldn’t get much going in the 6th or 7th inning, but they broke the tie in the 8th. �CF Gorkys Hernandez opened the inning with a single, and 3B Josh Harrison beat out a bunt for another single. �1B Matt Hague bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, which erased Harrison, but let Hernandez move to third base. �Mercer’s double easily brought Hernandez in from third to take the lead. �After a pitching change, Watts lined a single into center field, and Mercer also scored, to give the Curve an insurance run they would need.
Moskos came back out to pitch the 9th inning. �He began the inning by giving up a single and a walk. �A double play put the lead runner on third with two outs, and a single drove that runner across the plate. �But Moskos held on to get a ground out, ending the game and giving the Curve the win. �Moskos earned his second win of the season. �Hernandez, Mercer, Watts, and Norman all had 2 hits in the game (the Curve had a total of 11 hits), and Watts also contributed 2 RBI.
Holiday weekend play in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Tampa Yankees �14, �Bradenton Marauders �5 (box)
The Marauders were boarded and sunk by the Yankees on Sunday afternoon in Bradenton. �Two late-inning rallies kept them from being shut out, but were not nearly enough for the Marauders to catch up.
The Yankees hit starter Hunter Strickland hard, beginning in the 2nd inning, when the first four batters reached base: �two singles, a walk, and a hit batter forcing in a run. �A sacrifice fly brought in a second run, and another single gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
It got worse in the 3rd inning. �With out out, Strickland gave up a ground-rule double, and an RBI single. �When the runner from first base stole second, 2B James Skelton could not keep hold of C Eric Fryer’s throw, and the runner was safe at second base. �A walk and a single loaded the bases, and another single drove in the second run of the inning. �Melkin Laureano relieved Strickland at that point, but Laureano gave up a walk to drive in a run, and then a bases-clearing double for three more runs. � Laureano was responsible for only one of those runs (earned), and only one of the five runs that Strickland allowed in the 3rd inning was earned.
Laureano gave up 3 more runs in the 5th inning, on a double followed by back-to-back home runs. �He struck out the next three batters in a row, but the Yankees were up 12-0. �Tom Boleska was next out of the bullpen for the Marauders. �He retired the Yankees in order in the 6th, but gave up another 2-run homer in the 7th to increase Tampa’s lead to 14-0. �Mike Colla and rehabbing Jimmy Barthmaier each pitched an inning to finish it up for Bradenton, and they were the most effective pitchers — each retired three batters in order.
It might have been easy for the Marauders to give up. �They had managed only a walk and a single by DH Tony Sanchez over the first four innings. �They had put two runners on base in the 5th, on singles by 1B Calvin Anderson and 3B Adenson Chourio. CF Robbie Grossman and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman both singled in the 6th, but none of those runners were able to come around to score.
Finally, in the 8th inning, the Marauders were able to crack the scoreboard. �SS Brock Holt led off with a single, and Grossman reached base on a fielding error. �Norman, who had remained in the game in left field, was hit by a pitch to load the bases. �Eric Fryer brought in Holt with a sacrifice fly, and Anderson’s second single of the game scored Grossman. �14 – 2 is still better than 14 – 0.
The Marauders rallied again in the 9th, this time with two outs. �Holt and Grossman started it again with back-to-back singles. �Norman was hit by a pitch again, to load the bases. �Sanchez doubled, clearing the bases, and the Marauders had climbed to 14 – 5. �Fryer walked and Anderson singled for the third time in the game, loading the bases again, but RF Eric Huber struck out to end the game.