Curve Lose Early Lead; Howard Homers

Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:

Richmond Flying Squirrels  7,  Altoona Curve  3
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The Curve had a good start to their game, but lost their early lead in the 6th inning.  LF Quincy Latimore drove in 2 runs in the top of the 1st.  2B Brock Holt and C Tony Sanchez had both walked, and with 2 outs, Latimore grounded to shortstop, where a throwing error let both runs score.   Sanchez and Latimore both singled in the 3rd, with Latimore driving in Sanchez, who had moved up to second base on a ground out.  

Curve starter Aaron Thompson allowed just 2 singles over the first 5 innings of the game.  Things changed in the 6th inning, though.  A single, a bunt, and another single gave the Squirrels runners on the corners.  Thompson balked, allowing the runner from third to score.  A stolen base and a walk put Squirrels on the corners again.  This time, Thompson threw a wild pitch to let the runner from third score.  Another walk and a single loaded the bases, and sent Thompson to the showers.  Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to relieve Thompson.  The first batter Claggett faced grounded to second, forcing out the runner coming from first base, as the runner from third scored.  A walk loaded the bases again, and a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham let the fourth run of the inning score.  Thompson was responsible for all 4 runs, 3 of which were earned.  

Mike Colla took over for the 7th inning, when he gave up a lone single.  Then in the bottom of the 8th, Colla gave up a walk and a single, and the lead runner scored when Sanchez made a throwing error on a steal attempt.  Another walk and two singles drove in two more runs.  

After the 3rd inning, the Curve could not push another run across the plate.  They hurt themselves on base running plays, when Holt singled and was caught stealing in the 4th, and Sanchez walked and was caught stealing in the 5th.  SS Jordy Mercer doubled in the 5th, and Durham singled in the 8th, but were left on base.  Pinch hitter Kris Watts singled in the Curve’s last chance in the 9th, but he was left stranded when a ground out ended the game.   

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Cunningham Homers Twice; Power Hold On For The Win

Monday evening’s games in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  2
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The Curve were able to put runners on base but not push them across the plate tonight.  Starter Bryan Morris worked around a double in the 1st and a pair of walks in the 3rd to keep the Senators scoreless in the first three innings.  He got into trouble in the 4th, with a lead-off triple, followed by a walk and an RBI double.  A single drove in 2 more runs for a 3-0 Harrisburg lead.  The Curve had left CF Starling Marte stranded on third base in the 1st, after his single, stolen base, and a throwing error.  2B Brock Holt also singled in the 3rd and was left on base.  SS Jordy Mercer answered the Senators’ 3-run inning with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but LF Quincy Latimore singled in that inning, and he was also left stranded.  

Tim Alderson took over for Morris to begin the 5th inning, and he pitched 2 scoreless frames.  He loaded the bases in the 6th with a single and two hit batters, but ended the inning with a ground out.  Mike Colla allowed a triple in his scoreless 7th.  Then Noah Krol came on for the 8th, and gave up 3 more runs on a single, an RBI double, an RBI triple, and a wild pitch.  

The Curve put two runners on base in the 7th, when 1B Miles Durham singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell walked, but both were left on base.  Marte singled again in the 8th, and again could not come around to score.  The final Curve run scored in the 9th, when Durham tripled, then scored on Latimore’s sacrifice fly.  

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Cain Throws Six Scoreless Innings

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:

West Virginia Power  7,  Augusta Green Jackets  0
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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.  

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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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Curve’s Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short

The Curve played an early game on Wednesday…

Akron Aeros  3,  Altoona Curve  2
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Down 3-1 going into the top of the 9th, the Curve rallied, beginning with 3B Jeremy Farrell reaching base on a fielding error by the Akron shortstop.  A passed ball put Farrell on second base.  Strikeouts by LF Shelby Ford and RF Brad Chalk made the Curve’s situation even more desperate.  2B Brock Holt hit his third single of the day, and CF Starling Marte also singled, loading the bases with two outs.  But the Curve’s hopes ended when SS Jordy Mercer also struck out.  

Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve, and he was charged with the loss.  Locke worked his way out of a jam with runners on the corners in the 1st inning, and worked around a lead-off single in the 2nd.  Another single led off the 3rd inning, and back-to-back doubles, one zipping just out of reach of Farrell’s backhand dive, drove in 2 runs.  After a single, a walk, and two strikeouts in the 5th, Locke was relieved by Anthony Claggett.  Claggett finished up the 5th with a ground out, leaving two runners on base.  He also pitched the 6th and 7th innings, and surrendered a solo home run to lead off the 6th.  Tom Boleska pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Aeros from scoring again, despite a single and a walk.

The Curve scored their first run in the 4th.  1B Miles Durham and C Kris Watts worked back-to-back walks, and when Farrell lifted a soft single into right field, Durham scored from second base.  Farrell and Holt each walked once, and Farrell also singled in the 6th inning.  Holt singled to open the game, then again in the 5th.  

The Curve will have their home opener tomorrow.

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