Save For Rodriguez, Win For Machi

A few signing notes for former Pirates, all minor league contracts:  
1B Brad Eldred signed with the Giants,  P Ian Snell and INF Ramon Vazquez signed with the Cardinals, and OF Matt Kata signed with the Rangers.  


Cheering for a few Pirates’ players and friends in the winter league playoffs….

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  2,  Criollos de Caguas  1  —  
RJ Rodriguez earned his 3rd save of the playoffs with a perfect 9th inning of work.  Los Leones scored their runs in the 4th, on three straight hits — a single and two doubles.  Los Criollos’ only run came in the top of the 6th, on a double, a ground out by SS Luis Figueroa which moved the runner to third, and a RBI single.  3B Ramon Vazquez singled to lead off the 5th for Los Criollos, but he was caught stealing second base.

Gigantes de Carolina  5,  Senadores de San Juan  4  —  Benji Gonzalez made the start at second base for Los Gigantes, and he scored their first run.  In the bottom of the 1st, Gonzalez singled, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  San Juan scored 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, and Los Gigantes countered with a run in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3 singles.  They tied the score in the 7th with a double, a hit batter, and an RBI single.  The tie continued into the top of the 10th, when Los Senadores took the lead with a single and a double.  But four singles in the bottom of the inning drove in 2 runs to give Los Gigantes the win.

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Team USA Exits Pan Am Tournament With A Third Place Tie

Team USA wrapped up the Pan American tournament with a rain-out this afternoon.� That means that the USA and Venezuela were declared tied for third place in the tournament.� Cuba and the Dominican Republic were scheduled to play tonight (Wednesday).� (UPDATE:� The Dominican Republic took the gold medal with a 5-2 win over Cuba.)� The third place finish qualifies the US for the 2011 Pan American Games, which will be played in Guadalajara, Mexico, and also for the 2011 Baseball World Cup.

Four members of Team USA were named to the All-Tournament Team:� 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, and LHP Mike Montgomery, all from the Royals’ organization, and CF Mike Trout (Angels).

Hosmer led Team USA with a .389 average (14-for-36).� Trout led in homers with 3, and Moustakas led in RBI with 8.� Pirates’ Chase d’Arnaud and Todd Frazier (Reds) each had 2 stolen bases, the most for the team.� Former Pirate Todd Redmond (Braves) pitched the most innings — 12.2, and Justin De Fratus (Phillies) and Tim Collins (Royals) both appeared in 5 tournament games, leading the bullpen.� Redmond, Nick Hill (Mariners), and Montgomery each had 2 wins, and De Fratus and Anthony Carter (White Sox) each had 2 saves.� Chris Archer (Cubs) led with 15 strikeouts.

Chase d’Arnaud appeared in 8 of Team USA’s games, and hit .321 (9-for-28).� Two of his hits were doubles and one was a triple, and he had 4 RBI.� Erik Kratz appeared in 5 games and hit .278 (5-for-18), including 2 doubles and 4 RBI.� Former Pirate Brad Eldred appeared in all 10 games as the DH.� He hit .250 (10-for-40) and tied with Reds’ Todd Frazier to lead the team in strikeouts with 9.

Todd Redmond earned a 1.42 ERA in his 12.2 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks, with 10 strikeouts.� None of the hits he gave up were for extra bases.

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Team USA Falls To Dominicans In Semi Finals

Dominican Republic 7,� Team USA� 2

After dominating in the first two rounds of the Pan American Tournament, Team USA just couldn’t get going tonight in their semi-final game against the Dominican Republic.� Team USA beat the Dominicans 8-3 in the first round on October 5th, out-hitting them 11-7.� But today the tables were turned and it was the Dominicans who out-hit the USA 14 – 6 and who were the dominant force.� RF Todd Frazier (Reds) had 2 of the USA’s hits — a single and a triple, and one of the RBI’s.� 2B Cord Phelps (Cleveland Indians) had the other RBI and one hit.� CF Mike Trout (Angels), 1B Eric Hosmer, and SS Chase d’Arnaud had one hit each.

Danny Duffy (Royals) made the start for Team USA.� He worked around a single in the 1st inning, and around two singles in the 2nd.� Then with two outs in the top of the 3rd, Duffy gave up a double, then threw a wild pitch that put the runner on third base.� A passed ball by USA C Jordan Pacheco (Rockies) allowed that runner to score from third, and the Dominicans had a 1-0 lead.

The USA hitters got on base in the first two innings.� Pacheco walked in the bottom of the 1st, but was erased in a double play.� Phelps tripled with two outs in the 2nd, but he was left on third when a line out ended the inning.� Three USA batters went down swinging in the 3rd inning.� Finally in the 4th, Team USA tied the score at 1-1.� Hosmer hit another 2-out triple, but this time, Frazier was able to follow with a single into right field, and Hosmer scored.

Duffy retired the side in order in the 4th, but got into trouble in the 5th. A lead-off single began the inning, then that batter was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice, leaving the next batter safe at first.� Two more singles followed, driving in a run.� Duffy was relieved by Andre Lamontagne (Brewers), who gave up a walk, then got a grounder to third, where 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) started an around-the-horn double play to end the inning.

Team USA continued to struggle at the plate.� Chase d’Arnaud doubled down the left field line in the bottom of the 5th, but his teammates couldn’t keep it going.� Former Pirate Juan Perez struck out all three USA batters in the 6th, after Lamontagne also retired the Dominicans in order in the top of the inning.� Lamontagne gave up four singles (single, ground out, single, pop out, single for 2 RBI, and another single) for two runs in the top of the 7th, increasing the Dominican lead to 4-1.� Tim Collins (Royals) relieved Lamontagne and ended the inning with a line out.

The second USA run came in the bottom of the 7th, and it came courtesy of yet another triple.� This time it was Frazier leading off with a triple, and he scored on Phelps ground out to second base.� LF Brian Barden (Marlins) and d’Arnaud both walked, but the next two batters struck out, ending the threat.

Team USA was still clinging to hope, as Collins put the Dominicans down in order in the top of the 8th.� Hosmer was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the inning, but he was left on base.� The Dominicans put the game out of reach in the top of the 9th.� Collins walked the first batter, got a ground out, then gave up an RBI double.� He struck out the next batter, then was relieved by Justin De Fratus (Phillies).� But De Fratus was greeted by Dominican 1B Willis Otanes’ 2-run home run on a 1-0 pitch.� That gave the Dominicans a 7-2 lead.� Team USA went down in order in the bottom of the inning, and that was all for the Americans — a disappointing end to a fine run in the tournament.

DH Brad Eldred went 0-for-4 in the game, and C Erik Kratz did not get into the game tonight.

Cuba defeated Venezuela in their semi-final game, so Cuba and the Dominican Republic will play the championship game on Wednesday evening.� Team USA and Venezuela will play at 2 pm for third place.

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USA Defeats Cuba

Team USA� 4,� Cuba� 1

Cubs’ farmhand Chris Archer pitched an amazing 6 innings for Team USA as they continued their winning ways in the last pool game of the Pan American tournament with a win over Cuba.� Team USA will enter the semi-final round of the tournament with a perfect 9-0 record, while Cuba drops to 7-2.

Archer’s 10 strikeouts kept the Cuban batters stymied for 6 innings.� They managed only 2 hits — a double in the 2nd inning, and a single to lead off the top of the 4th.� Archer did not walk any batters, facing just 2 over the minimum.

Team USA had only one hit over the first two innings — a single by DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) to lead off the 2nd inning.�� Eldred reached second base, but was left stranded.� The USA got onto the scoreboard in the 3rd inning.� With one out, SS Brian Barden (Marlins) beat out a grounder to short for an infield single.� CF Mike Trout (Angels) singled up the middle, pushing Barden to second base.� After a pop out, 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) doubled down the left field line.� Barden scored easily from second base, and Trout raced around from first to score also, giving the USA a 2-0 lead.

The USA threatened again in the 4th, when 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) led off with a single, but was thrown out at second when he tried to stretch it.� If Hosmer had held at first, he might have been able to score on LF Todd Frazier’s (Reds) double.� Frazier was subsequently tagged out at third base when RF Jamie Hoffmann (Dodgers) grounded right to the third baseman.

An error by the Cubans led to two unearned runs for Team USA in the 6th.� Moustakas opened the inning with a walk, and Eldred singled, moving Moustakas to second base.� The Cubans brought in a new pitcher, but that didn’t help.� Hosmer reached base on an error by the Cuban first baseman, as Moustakas scored on the error.� Eldred rounded third and headed for the plate, but by that time, the Cubans had the ball back under control, and Eldred was out at the plate.� Hosmer ended up on third base, and moments later, he scored on a wild pitch.� Frazier kept the inning going with a single.� C Erik Kratz reached base on a fielder’s choice, though Frazier was out at second base.� Kratz was also forced out at second base on the next play, ending the inning.

Nick Hill (Mariners) relieved Archer to begin the 7th inning.� He gave up a pair of 2-out singles, but got a strikeout to end the 7th inning.� He also struck out the first two batters he faced in the 8th, but then gave up a run on a single and a triple.�� Anthony Carter (White Sox) took over for Hill, and got a fly out to end the 8th.� Carter worked around a double in the 9th inning to keep the Cubans from scoring again.

Pirates’ farmhand Chase d’Arnaud did not get into this game.� Kratz went 0-for-3 at the plate, and Eldred was 2-for-4.

Team USA now continues on to the semi-finals as the #1 seed.� They will play the Dominican Republic on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.� Cuba and Venezuela are the other two teams to reach the semi-final round.� Cuba has a 5-1 record in round two, the Dominicans have a 4-2 record, while Venezuela is fourth with a 3-3 record.

Also on Monday:

Canada 14,� Puerto Rico� 6 — The Canadians had a hit-fest at the expense of Puerto Rico, posting 14 hits and two 5-run innings.� Former Pirate farmhand RF Jamie Romak went 2-for-3 with 5 RBI — he doubled and hit a 3-run homer in the 8th.� Three other Canadians also homered:� CF Adam Stern (Brewers), C Chris Robinson (Cubs), and 1B Scott Thorman (Royals).� Robinson had 5 hits and 3 RBI in the game. � Former Pirate 3B Ramon Vasquez had 2 hits for Puerto Rico, and former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had one hit.� Pirate farmhand Tom Boleska pitched 1.1 inning and gave up only one hit.

Team Canada is done for this tournament, but they have qualified to play in next year’s Pan Am tournament and also in the World Baseball Cup.

Also on Tuesday:� the opening of the Arizona Fall League and two of the Caribbean Winter Leagues — the Mexican Pacific and the Venezuelan Leagues.

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Homers Lift Team USA Over Canada

Team USA� 4,� Canada� 0

Team USA made quick work of Team Canada this afternoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico, extending their record to 8-0 in the Pan American Tournament.� Canada’s record falls to 4-4 in the second round, and they will not be advancing to the final rounds.

Team USA scored their runs one at a time, beginning right away in the top of the 1st.� For the second day in a row, CF Mike Trout (Angels) started the game with a home run, this one a huge blast over the left field wall.� Two singles followed, but both runners were out on the basepaths:� C Jordan Pacheco (Rockies) tried to stretch his single into a double and was thrown out at second base.� 3B Mike Moustakas also singled, but when former Pirate DH Brad Eldred lined out to the third baseman, Moustakas was doubled off first base.�

In the 2nd inning, 2B Cord Phelps (Cleveland Indians) started a 2-out rally with his single into left field.� LF Brian Barden (Marlins)�drove in Phelps with a double into right field, and the USA was up, 2-0.

USA starter Mike Montgomery (Royals) pitched 5 innings, and he began his afternoon by retiring the first eight batters he faced.� He gave up a walk to SS Jonathan Malo and a single to 2B Pete Orr, but left them on base with an inning-ending strikeout.� Canada’s biggest�threat of the game came�in the 4th inning, when former Pirate farmhand RF Jamie Romak led off with a single into left field.� DH Jimmy Van Ostrand tapped one back to the mound (it may have been a bunt), but Montgomery was quick enough to field the ball and whirl to throw to second base, forcing out Romak and leaving Van Ostrand at first.� After a strikeout, Montgomery�gave up a single to�3B Shawn Bowman, then loaded the bases with a walk to 1B Scott Thorman.� A strikeout�by C Cole Armstrong got Montgomery out of the jam, and Canada was still scoreless.

Montgomery retired the side in order again in the 5th, and he left the game having allowed 3 hits and 2 walks, with 8 strikeouts in his 5 scoreless innings.

Team USA added another run in the top of the 6th.� With one out, Mike Moustakas ripped a double down the right field line.� Moments later, 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) drove Moustakas in with his own double into left field, picking up an RBI.� Hosmer collected another RBI in the top of the 9th, with a solo home run.

Bryan Henry (Diamondbacks) took the mound in the top of the 6th in relief of Montgomery.� Henry retired all 9 batters he faced in order — two fly outs and a ground out in the 6th, three ground outs in the 7th, and three pop outs in the 8th.

Tim Collins (Royals) relieved Henry for the 9th inning.� He began by striking out Romak, then gave up a single to Van Ostrand and walked LF Adam Loewen.� With two runners on, Canada’s final hopes were dashed when Collins got the next two batters to pop out, ending the game.�

Romak went 1-for-4 in the game.� Brad Eldred was hitless in 4 trips to the plate, and SS Chase d’Arnaud was hitless in his 3 at-bats.� Mike Moustakas led Team USA with 3 hits (he also singled in the 3rd but was left on base). Mike Trout had�2 hits (he singled in the 8th, but was out in a double play), and Eric Hosmer also had 2 hits and 2 RBI.

Team USA’s final second round game will be on Monday, as they face Cuba.�

Team USA is the only undefeated team in the tournament, since Cuba lost to the Dominican Republic (9-6) on Saturday night.� Puerto Rico beat Nicaragua 5-1 on Saturday, and former Pirate Ramon Vasquez had both a single and a double in that game.�

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