Curve and Marauders Both Fall To Big Innings

Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ….������ (box)

Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.

The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.

It didn’t last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators’ pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder’s choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter — and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.

Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D’Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg’s reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.

Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings — he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison’s glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison’s glove.

Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison’s throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.

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Trading Deadline Roller Coaster

A host of roster moves today, in view of the Pirates’ activity at the trading deadline, which will affect the Indianapolis Indians.

SS Argenis Diaz and 1B Jeff Clement have been promoted from the Indians to the Pirates.� They will take the roster spots vacated when INF Bobby Crosby and OF Ryan Church were traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Pirates acquired ss Pedro Ciriaco from the Diamondbacks.� He is a 24-year-old Dominican native who has been with AAA Reno this season.� In 87 games, Ciriaco is hitting .259 with 15 doubles, 7 triples, 6 homers, and 51 RBI.� He’s also stolen 14 bases.� That overall batting average doesn’t tell the whole story, though.� He started the season slowly, hitting just .184 in April (when he got into only 9 games) and .222 in May.� He turned it around in June, when he hit.296 and July, hitting .293.� Ciriaco also played in the Futures game earlier this month.� Last season with AA Mobile, Ciriaco hit .296 with 54 RBI and 38 stolen bases, and was named to both the mid- and post- season Southern League All-Star Teams.� He is also a very strong defensive shortstop with a good arm.� He is expected to join the Indians.

The addition of C Chris Snyder (the main player coming to the Pirates in the trade with Ciriaco) might make you wonder what will become of C Erik Kratz, especially when Ryan Doumit comes off the disabled list (he’s had yet another concussion).� The Pirates (for now) are saying that Snyder and Kratz will be the team catchers, and that Doumit will be playing some first base and some outfield.� Of course, Clement will be playing some first base too…�� This also suggests that Jason Jaramillo will be returning to the Indians.

As expected, RHP Daniel McCutchen was recalled to the Pirates to make the start on Saturday and remain in the rotation.� For now, reliever Steven Jackson is still with the Pirates, and reliever Justin Thomas might be called up for a few days since it’s not entirely clear when all the new pitchers will be joining the Pirates.

The Pirates traded reliever Octavio Dotel to the Dodgers for RHP James McDonald, who will be joining the Pirates, and OF Andrew Lambo, who will be joining the Altoona Curve.� Lambo is a California native who will turn 22 in a couple of weeks.� He was drafted by the Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2007 draft and spent all of 2009 at AA Chattanooga, where he hit .256 with 39 doubles, 11 homers, and 61 RBI.� He had played in 47 games for Chattanooga this season, and hit .271 with 11 doubles, 4 homers, and 25 RBI, but he has missed a big chunk of the season because he tested positive for banned substances (not PED’s) and was suspended for 50 games.� The Pirates seem to feel this was a one-time mistake, and not likely to be repeated.� Since returning at the end of June, Lambo has hit .219 with 2 homers and 12 RBI.

The Pirates traded reliever Javier Lopez to the Giants for 1B/OF John Bowker and RHP Joe Martinez, and both of them are expected to be assigned to Indianapolis.� Bowker is a 27-year-old California native, who has split this season between the Giants and AAA Fresno.� In 51 games with Fresno, He has a .310 average, with 12 doubles, 14 homers, and 36 RBI; with the Giants, in 41 games, he has hit .207 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, and 8 RBI.

Joe Martinez,� a righty pitcher from New Jersey, has made 4 appearances (one start) with the Giants this season, totalling 11 innings.� He’s allowed 15 hits and 6 runs (4.91 ERA) with 6 walks and 3 strikeouts.� The 27-year-old has spent most of the season with AAA Fresno, where he has made 13 starts and one relief appearance, earning a 5-3 record and a 3.32 ERA.� In 81.1 innings, Martinez has allowed 78 hits and 30 earned runs, 26 walks, and struck out 65.� His ERA has dropped a little over the course of the season — 3.60 in April, 3.29 in May, 3.00 in July.

Their heads must be spinning….

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Lincoln Has An OK Start, But The Bullpen Falters

Syracuse Chiefs� 8,� Indianapolis Indians� 6 (box)

IMG_4106A 4-run 7th inning put the game into the Chiefs’ pocket at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse tonight, as the Indians’ pitchers struggled.� The Indians’ batters posted 9 hits, with two each for 3B Jim Negrych (photo), 1B Jeff Clement, and LF Jonathan Van Every.

Jim Negrych got the game started with a double into left field.� A sacrifice bunt by 2B Doug Bernier moved Negrych to third.� CF Alex Presley grounded to short, where the Chiefs’ SS Seth Bynum made his first fielding error of the game (out of a total of three).� That let Negrych score, and when Presley reached first and headed for second base,� 2B Chase Lambin missed the catch, and Presley was safe there.� Walks to Jeff Clement and Jonathan Van Every loaded the bases, but a fly out ended the inning.

Brad Lincoln made the start for the Indians.� He zipped through the first inning, but trouble found him in the 2nd.� 1B Jason Botts started off with a single, and after a strikeout by Seth Bynum, RF Pete Orr also singled.� The bases were loaded when former Indy Indian 3B Luis Ordaz grounded to second but Jeff Clement missed the catch at first.� Another former Indian, C Carlos Maldonado lined a double into center field, which cleared the bases and gave the Chiefs a 3-1 lead.� The Chiefs added another run in the 3rd inning, when CF Justin Maxwell doubled, moved to third on Chase Lambin’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Jason Botts’ sacrifice fly.

IMG_2692The Indians got one of those runs back in the 3rd inning.� Alex Presley singled up the middle, and he raced to third base when Jeff Clement lined into right field for another single.� Jonathan Van Every also singled up the middle, allowing Presley to score.

Seth Bynum’s jinx haunted him again in the 4th.� SS Argenis Diaz grounded to Bynum, who made his second fielding error of the game.� Diaz stole second base, then scored when Jim Negrych lined into center field.� That put the Indians just one run behind, 4-3.

Brad Lincoln (photo) started the rally that tied the game in the top of the 6th.� Lincoln doubled into center field, and Jim Negrych followed with a walk.� A wild pitch moved both runners up one base, and Alex Presley was intentionally walked, loading the bases.� That brought up RF Brandon Moss, who has been hitting well lately (6 hits and 9 RBI in his previous four games).� Moss grounded to short, where the unfortunate Seth Bynum made his third fielding error of the game.� Everyone was safe, and Lincoln scored the tying run.

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Powell Just Misses Complete Shut-Out (But Gets The Win)

Indianapolis Indians� 4,� Syracuse Chiefs� 1 (box)

IMG_3709Indians’ starter Jeremy Powell (photo) won his 7th game of the season for the Indians tonight at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY.� The win gave the Indians their fourth win in a row, and 3 wins in this 4-game series against the Chiefs, which concludes tomorrow.� But it was not entirely the way that Powell or the Indians hoped it would end.

Powell pitched into the 9th inning, keeping a shut-out going the whole time.� He sailed through the first 8 innings, striking out 5 batters and scattering 5 hits.� Powell gave up a single to LF Boomer Whiting to open the bottom of the 1st, but C Luke Carlin threw him out trying to steal second base.� Powell retired the next 10 batters in order, until he gave up a single and a walk in the 4th.� He allowed a single in each of the 5th and the 7th, and when C Jamie Burke walked to lead off the 8th, he was erased in a double play.

The Indians went into the bottom of the 9th with a 4-0 lead, and with Powell just a step away from a complete game shut-out.� He began the inning with a strikeout of Justin Maxwell.� 2B Chase Lambin slipped a line drive into right field for a single.� Powell struck out 1B Jason Botts, and that put him an out away from the goal.� SS Seth Bynum was up next, and he got to a 1-2 count, then took 2 pitches that looked pretty good, but were both called balls.� The Indians and Powell felt that he had been cheated out of what should have been another strikeout, and the end of the game.� Instead of being out, Bynum lined a single up the middle and into center field, and that allowed Lambin to score. That was the end of the shutout.

The Indians had reliever Justin Thomas up in the bullpen, and he was ready, but manager Frank Kremblas elected to give Powell the chance to get the final out.� But when 3B Pete Orr dropped a little bunt in front of the mound, Powell’s throw to first base was wide for a throwing error, and Bynum moved to third base.� That was all for Powell.� He had thrown 115 pitches (75 strikes), and had allowed one run on 7 hits and 2 walks, with 7 strikeouts.

Justin Thomas did come in at that point, and he finished things up by getting a ground out, to earn his 4th save.� The Indians and Powell were still not pleased, and they went so far as to try to talk to plate umpire Chris Bakke after the last out, even heading toward the umpire’s tunnel after him.� It did no good, of course.

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Clement, Presley, And Moss Lead the Tribe

Indianapolis Indians� 7,� Syracuse Chiefs� 5 (box)

IMG_3669The trio of 1B Jeff Clement (photo), CF Alex Presley, and RF Brandon Moss had 7 of the Indians’ 8 hits in tonight’s game at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, New York, as the Indians held on to defeat the Chiefs.� Derek Hankins made his AAA debut, and earned his first AAA win with a very short one-third-of-an-inning appearance.

The Indians got the game off on the right foot, with a big blast in the top of the 1st.� 2B Brian Friday led off with a walk, and 3B Aki Iwamura singled back to the mound.� But Iwamura collided with one of the Chiefs, and had to be removed from the game, with Doug Bernier taking his place at third base.� CF Alex Presley loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch, which brought up the hot-hitting Moss.� Moss took a 1-0 pitch over the right-center field wall for a grand slam, and the Indians had an instant 4-0 lead, before an out had been recorded in the game.� Jeff Clement singled after the homer, and he was sacrifice bunted to third base by LF Jim Negrych, but two strikeouts ended the inning.� No further word at this point about Iwamura’s condition.��� [UPDATE: Iwamura went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion; he’ll be out for at least a few days]

Mike Crotta was the Tribe starter who was the beneficiary of a 4-run cushion before he even took the mound.� Crotta (photo below) breezed through the first two innings, allowing just one hit, a single to 3B Pete Orr in the bottom of the 1st.� He gave up an unearned run in the 3rd inning.� Former Indy Indian C Carlos Maldonado walked, then reached third base when Washington Nationals’ rehabbing pitcher Jason Marquis reached base on a throwing error� by C Luke Carlin on his bunt attempt.� CF Boomer Whiting bounced into a double play, and Maldonado scored from third on the play.

IMG_3189

The Chiefs got within one run of the Indians in the 5th inning.� RF Kevin Mench led off with a bloopy hit over the head of Doug Bernier at third, dropping into left field.� LF Leonard Davis took Crotta’s 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for a 2-run home run.� Indians 4, Chiefs 3.

Jason Marquis held the Indians to just one hit over the next 4 innings.� That was a single by Brandon Moss in the 3rd inning.� Moss was immediately erased, though, when Jeff Clement bounced into a double play.� Marquis was relieved by Jason Jones to begin the 6th inning, and the Indians promptly got going.� Alex Presley slipped a single past Orr at third base, who was playing in a little too far.� Presley stole second base, and when Jeff Clement singled through the right side of the infield, Presley raced for the plate.� He slid in just before the throw came in to Maldonado from Kevin Mench in right field.

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