Friday the Thirteenth was lucky for the Curve and the Power….
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 2
The Curve posted a lucky 12 hits, as CF Starling Marte led the charge with 3 singles. Marte, along with 2B Brock Holt got the scoring started with back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the 1st. LF Eric Fryer’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice bunt plated Holt.
Erie came right back with a pair of doubles off Curve starter Jared Hughes to tie the game at 1-1. Hughes allowed only one walk over the next three innings. In the top of the 6th, he gave up a 2-out single, followed by a ground-rule double. Because it was ground-rule, the lead runner had to stop at third base, and Hughes was able to get out of the inning with a ground out, keeping the SeaWolves from scoring again.
The Curve missed out on scoring opportunities in two innings. Holt doubled and Marte singled in the 3rd, but both were left in scoring position. Both C Tony Sanchez and DH Kris Watts singled in the 4th, and they were also left on base. A pair of doubles got the scoring re-started in the 5th. Marte walked and Fryer singled with one out. Marte advanced to third base on a fly out by Mercer, then scored on 3B Jeremy Farrell’s double into left field. Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall to bring in both Fryer and Farrell, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.
Marte started another rally in the 7th with a liner to second base for a single. He stole second base, then scored on Fryer’s grounder into right field. That chased the Erie starter, but their reliever did not have any better success. Fryer had gone to second base on the throw in from the outfield, and he advanced to third when the new reliever balked. Farrell doubled in Fryer for a 6-1 lead.
Hughes finished his evening with a scoreless 7th inning, having allowed one run on 6 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts. Tim Alderson pitched a perfect 8th, then Noah Krol gave up one run in the top of the 9th on three singles, one of which ricocheted off Krol and into center field.
Tuesday night’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
West Virginia Power 5, Charleston RiverDogs 1
Colton Cain took his second win of the season, allowing 3 hits and one run over 5 innings, with one walk and 3 strikeouts. Cain had some trouble in the 1st inning, when a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single drove in a run for Charleston. After a walk, Cain got the next batter to fly out to center, where a nice throw from CF Mel Rojas to 3B Eric Avila ended the inning. Cain retired the next 10 batters in order, then gave up a double in the 5th inning. He struck out two batters to end his evening’s work.
The Power batters gave Cain all the run support he needed in the top of the 2nd. With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a double into right field, then went to third base when C Elias Diaz reached base on a fielding error. Diaz stole second base, then LF Rogelios Noris singled into right field, plating Marquez. Noris advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield, which put him into position to score behind Diaz on Avila’s 2-RBI single. The Power added a run in the 3rd for a 4-1 lead. RF Dan Grovatt singled, then 1B Justin Howard’s double advanced Grovatt to third. Rojas picked up the RBI with a ground out, scoring Grovatt.
Kevin Decker relieved Cain to begin the 6th inning. He pitched 3 perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts. Brooks Pounders took the 9th inning and allowed only a single in his scoreless inning.
Charleston committed errors in both the 4th and the 5th innings, but the Power were not able to take advantage of those errors to score. The Power scored one more run in the 9th, when Marquez bed off with a single, and was bunted to second by Diaz. Noris’ ground out moved Diaz to third, and he scored on a wild pitch.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss. The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez. Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd. LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out. Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.
Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks. A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.
Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits. Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd. Then things fell apart in the 3rd. The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass. The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored. Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout. But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0. The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single. A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base. Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third. Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double. Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out. Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th. He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.
The Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates wrap up the month of April:
Erie SeaWolves 5, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 3 hits, plus two walks, as they were shut-out by the SeaWolves. Their first hit of the game came in the 2nd inning, when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled, then moved to second base on a wild pitch. The inning ended with Farrell being forced out at third base. Altoona had their biggest threat with two runners on base in the 3rd inning — a line drive single into left field by RF Eric Fryer and a walk to DH Jose Hernandez. A ground out put both runners into scoring position, but they too were left stranded. The Curve went down in order until LF Quincy Latimore’s single in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona in the last three innings, when he walked in the 7th.
Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve. He pitched 6 innings but was the victim of some errors in the field behind him. He gave up one earned run but 4 unearned runs, and was charged with the loss. Erie’s earned run came in the 2nd inning, on a double, a walk, and an RBI single. The second base runner who tried to score was gunned down at the plate on a throw in from Fryer in right field to C Tony Sanchez. The top of the 4th inning began with a single, and the next batter grounded to short for what should have been a double play. But a missed catch error by 2B Brock Holt left both runners safe. A walk loaded the bases, and a grounder allowed the lead runner to score. A triple drove in two more runs, to give Erie a 4-0 lead. Erie began the 6th inning with a double and a single, and with two outs, a fielding error by Farrell at third allowed another unearned run to score.
Tim Alderson relieved Locke and pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings. The only batter to reach base against Alderson was hit by a pitch, then erased in a double play.
Bradenton Marauders 12, St. Lucie Mets 6
For the second time in three days, the Marauders put up a big first inning — and this one was even bigger than the 6-run inning two games ago. Bradenton sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 1st, scoring 10 runs. The fun began with back-to-back singles by RF Robbie Grossman and 2B Jarek Cunningham. CF Evan Chambers loaded the bases with a walk, and 1B Aaron Baker brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly (1). After a strikeout by DH Adalberto Santos, C Ramon Cabrera walked to load the bases again, then LF David Rubinstein lined a single into left field, bringing in Cunningham and Chambers (2,3). 3B Elevys Gonzalez and SS Benji Gonzalez lined back-to-back doubles into center field, with Elevys driving in Cabrera and Rubinstein (4,5), and Benji plating Elevys (6). That brought Grossman up again. He walked, then Cunningham drove in Benji and Grossman with a 3-run homer (7,8,9). Chambers walked again, and Baker lined a single into right field, and with the help of a throwing error that sent the ball into the stands, Chamber came in with the 10th run of the inning. Santos’ second strikeout of the inning ended the rally
The Mets tried to come back, but fell far short. Starter Nate Baker scattered 6 hits over 5.2 innings, and the only run he allowed came in the 5th, on a double and an RBI single. Baker walked one and struck out 2. With one on and two out in the top of the 6th, Duke Welker relieved Baker, finishing that inning with a strikeout. Welker gave up 2 runs in the 7th, on two lead-off walks, a balk, and an RBI ground out, then an RBI single. He also walked a batter in the 8th, and had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez, but a timely double play got Welker out of that jam. Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 9th inning, and he gave up back-to-back doubles and a 2-run homer, but even that was not enough for the Mets to catch up.
The Marauders added another run in the 4th inning on a pair of doubles by Rubinstein and Elevys Gonzalez. Cunningham hit his second homer of the game (6th of the season) in the 7th inning to give the Marauders their final run.