Mercer and Curry Homer; Boyer And Sinkbeil Sign

Both the Curve and the Power played early games today…. 

Altoona Curve  3,  Harrisburg Senators  2
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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.  

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Three Hits For Rojas, But Losses All Around

Losses all around in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Augusta Green Jackets  5,  West Virginia Power  3
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A 4-run 2nd inning by Augusta had the Power trying to catch up for most of the game.  With Zack Dodson getting the start, Augusta scored on two singles, a throwing error by 3B Eric Avila, a 2 RBI triple, and an RBI ground out.  Only two of the runs were earned.  Dodson retired the side in two other innings, and walked two batters in the 4th.  The Power posted 8 hits (to Augusta’s 5 hits), and put runners on base in each of their first four innings but could not bring any of them around to score.  The top of the 5th began with back-to-back singles by LF Rogelios Noris and SS Gift Ngoepe.  2B Drew Maggi dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but a missed catch error by the Augusta first baseman put Maggi safe on first, moved Ngoepe to third, and allowed Noris to score.  Ngoepe scored on an RBI ground out.  

Dodson was relieved by Brooks Pounders to begin the bottom of the 5th.  Pounders surrendered another unearned run, on two singles, a passed ball, and a wild pitch in the 5th.  He retired the side in order in both the 7th and 8th innings.  Ryan Beckman retired the side in order in the 8th inning.  

The Power continued to put runners on base in each inning, and they scored again in the 8th.  RF Dan Grovatt walked, moved to second base on a ground out, and scored on DH Justin Howard’s line drive single into left field.  Ngoepe also singled in the 3rd inning.  CF Mel Rojas singled three times:  in the 1st, the 3rd, and the 7th.  He also stole second base in the 1st. 

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Wins In The Lower Minors

Wins all around for the rest of the Pirates’ minor leaguers: 

Altoona Curve  10,  Erie Seawolves  7

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Three home runs and a 4-run 2nd inning sparked the Curve to their second win of the season on Sunday afternoon.  The scoring got started in the top of the 1st, when 2B opened the game with a single, moved to third on CF Starling Marte’s double, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI ground out.  The Curve made it 5-1 with 4 more runs in the 2nd.  DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, but was forced out at second on RF Jose Hernandez’s grounder, though they avoided the double play.  Holt singled, then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.  Hernandez scored on Marte’s RBI ground out, Mercer drove in Holt with a double, and C Tony Sanchez followed with his first homer of the season, driving in Mercer as well.  

The Curve tacked on another run in each of the next two innings.  3B Jeremy Farrell reached base on a throwing error in the 3rd, and scored on Hernandez’s double.  Marte led off the 4th with a solo home run.  They took a break for two innings, then Farrell added his 2-run homer in the 7th, bringing in Sanchez, who had singled.  Altoona’s final run came in the top of the 9th, with a two-out double by LF Quincy Latimore, an intentional walk by Farrell, and an RBI single by Fryer.
Holt had 3 hits in the game, raising his average to .400.  Marte (.375), Sanchez (.300), and Farrell (.313) each had 2 hits.

Jared Hughes made the start for the Curve.  He pitched 4 innings, and allowed 3 runs.  A double and a single gave Erie one run in the 2nd inning, then a walk, a double, and two ground outs scored two runs in the 3rd.  Mike Colla relieved Hughes to begin the 5th.  A hit batter and a triple gave the Sea Wolves one run in the 6th, but Colla kept Erie from scoring in his other two innings.  Anthony Claggett pitched the 8th inning and gave up two home runs — a solo homer to open the inning, then a 2-run homer after a single.  Noah Krol took the 9th, and loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a game-ending double play.  Colla earned the win, and Krol earned the Save.  

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2011 Prospect Watching: Miller, Lorin, McPherson, And Welker

Moving on up the chain, looking at the Pirates’ pitching prospects.  There are a big pile of pitchers who seem to “belong” at A level West Virginia this season, and there is just not going to be enough room for everyone.  Some will have to go to State College, some might spend some time in extended spring training, some might get a bump up to A+ Bradenton, and some might even be released.  Today we’ll look at some pitchers who could begin the season in Bradenton.

Quinton Miller  –  R/R,  6′ 1″,  185 lb
Miller was chosen by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 2008 draft.  He made two solid starts at State College, then 12 more starts for West Virginia in 2009.  He finished the season with a combined 2-4 record and a 4.41 ERA.  He had 28 walks in 63.1 innings, and 44 strikeouts.  Miller was promoted to West Virginia to begin 2010.  His threw 5 scoreless innings in his first start, but his second start was halted after one inning, due to what turned out to be biceps tendonitis.  After more than 2 months on the DL, he made one appearance (2 scoreless innings) for the GCL Pirates and started 4 games for State College.  He returned to West Virginia at the end of July and made 8 more starts, but struggled.  In his first start back, Miller didn’t get through the first inning, allowing 7 runs on 6 hits.  His next outing was better, with 5 scoreless innings and 4 hits.  Then another tough outing, when he gave up 4 runs in 5.2 innings. Then back to another good outing — 2 unearned runs on 4 hits in 7 innings.  Miller continued on alternating tougher and better outings.   He finished the season with a 3-6 record and a 5.13 ERA in West Virginia.  In 47.1 innings, he gave up 59 hits and 15 walks and 30 strikeouts.  The 21-year-old Miller has been healthy in spring training and needs to stay healthy for 2011.  He should be ready for Bradenton, where he should keep working on his changeup and slider, and keep the walks down.

Brett Lorin –   R/R, 6′ 7″,  245 lb
Lorin came to the Pirates in July 2009, in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell trade.  He had been pitching at the A level for Seattle, and stepped into the starting rotation at A West Virginia, where he earned a 1.57 ERA and 3-1 record in 7 starts (34.1 innings) for the Power.  He was ready for a promotion to Bradenton to begin 2010, but a hip injury kept him from starting the season on time.  Lorin was ready for 3 rehab starts for the GCL Pirates by early July (1 run on 2 hits in 7 innings).  He returned to West Virginia at the end of July, and first made three relief appearances for the Power.  In 5 innings of relief, he allowed 3 hits and 1 run, while striking out 7.  The rest of Lorin’s outings were starts, and he had a little more trouble.  He had two starts (August 5th and Sept 6th) when he did not allow any runs, in a combined 9 innings, but in all the rest of his starts, he gave up at least 2 earned runs.  For those 9 starts, Lorin earned a 1-3 record and a5.70 ERA, with 47 hits and 23 earned runs in 36.1 innings.  He walked 9 and struck out 25 batters.  Lorin will turn 24 this week.  He could begin the 2010 season in West Virginia, or move up to Bradenton.  

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Power Finish With A Win, Curve Save It For The Playoffs

Just two more games on Labor Day…� The Marauders have the day off today, then begin the first round of the playoffs tomorrow.

West Virginia Power� 7,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….�� (box)

The Power wrapped up their season with a win over the Suns.� Everyone finished the season with hits, as the Power posted 16 hits, and each memeber of the batting order had at least one hit.� CF Evan Chambers and SS Elevys Gonzalez had 3 hits each.

The Power threatened in the bottom of the 1st, when RF David Rubinstein led off with a double into left field, and Chambers made it runners on the corners with a single.� Chambers stole second base, but both runners were left stranded after a strikeout and a flyout.� They did get onto the scoreboard in the 4th inning.� With one out, 1B Kyle Morgan walked, and LF Rogelios Noris blasted his 15th homer of the season for 2 runs.� After the home run, C Jairo Marquez doubled, and singles by Gonzalez and Rubinstein brought in Marquez, giving the Power a 3-0 lead.

Starter Brett Lorin pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only a single and a walk in the 2nd, and a lead-off single in the 4th.� He was relieved by Justin Ennis, who retired the side in order in the 5th.� Ennis did give up a run in the 6th, on a triple and a single, to cut the Power lead to 3-1.� The Power came right back in the bottom of that inning, though, adding 2 runs on 4 singles:� by 3B Andy Vasquez, Gonzalez, 2B Jarek Cunningham (RBI), and Chambers (RBI).

With the score at 5-1, neither team scored in the 7th, but both teams added 2 runs in the 8th.� Marc Baca took the mound to begin the inning, and he gave up a single, followed by two stolen bases (2nd and 3rd).� Then a 2-run homer got the Suns a little closer, 5-3.� The Power answered with their two in the bottom of the 8th, with a triple by Marquez and their own 2-run homer, by Gonzalez.� Baca retired the Suns in order in the 9th, ending the game and the season.

Pitchers Gabriel Alvarado and Phillip Irwin were both promoted to the A+ Marauders, where they will assist in the Marauders’ playoff run.

The Power finished the first half of the season in 7th (last) place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, 11 games back, with a 31-39 record.� They did better in the second half, finishing tied for 3rd and 8 games back, with a 34-35 record.� That gives them an overall 65-74 record for the season.

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