Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 7, Altoona Curve 3
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.
Monday evening’s games in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues
Harrisburg Senators 6, Altoona Curve 2
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.
Losses all around in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Augusta Green Jackets 5, West Virginia Power 3
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.
Three wins for the Pirates’ lower minor league teams on Tuesday:
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 0
Starter Bryan Morris threw 6 shutout innings to lead the Curve over the Aeros in Akron. Morris scattered 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 3 for his first win of the season. The only real trouble he had was in the bottom of the 1st, when rehabbing Grady Sizemore began the inning with a walk. After two grounder force outs, a single, Akron had runners on first and second. A single lined into center field had the runner from second charging for home, but CF Starling Marte fired in to C Eric Fryer, who tagged out the runner at the plate. Morris sailed through his remaining 5 innings, allowing just two more hits — singles in the 2nd and the 5th. Brian Leach, Michael Dubee, and Noah Krol each pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Leach and Dubee each allowed one walk, but Dubee struck out the other three batters he faced. Krol earned his second Save of the season.
Both of the Curve’s runs scored in the 3rd inning. 3B Jeremy Farrell began the rally by being hit by a pitch. Fryer singled, and RF Jose Hernandez sacrifice bunted both runners into scoring position. 2B Brock Holt grounded to first, but a fielding error let him reach safely and gave Farrell the chance to score. An RBI grounder by Marte brougth in Fryer with the second run. Marte stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, but the inning ended before he could come around to score.
Marte singled after Holt walked in the 5th inning, and both Farrell and Fryer singled in the 7th, but neither of those threats yielded any runs. Farrell lined into right field in the 9th, and rounded second easily, but was thrown out when he tried to stretch it into a triple. He would have scored if he’d stopped at second, because Fryer followed with his own double. Fryer was 3-for-4 in the game, and Farrell went 2-for-3.
Continuing to work our way up the Pirates’ minor league pitching ranks… Zacharys today…
Jameson Taillon – R/R, 6′ 6″, 225 lb
Everyone knows about Taillon, the Pirates’ #1 draft pick in 2010. Taillon, who is 19 years old, has a mid-to-high 90′s fastball and a hard curve, plus a slider and changeup that both need some work. He signed at the deadline, so did not make his pro debut in 2010, though he did report to Fall Instrux and did fine there. Taillon got into a minor league spring training game today, and pitched 2 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits with 2 strikeouts. Just fine for his first time out. Taillon should be ready for A level West Virginia to begin the 2011 season, though Pirates’ Kyle Stark has suggested that Taillon might remain in Bradenton for some extended spring training if it is “too cold” in West Virginia in early April.
Zack Von Rosenberg — R/R, 6′ 5″, 205 lb
Zack’s full name is Zachary, and he was born and attended high school in Zachary, Louisiana. The Pirates picked Von Rosenberg in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. He signed in time to make just one start, one inning, for the GCL Pirates that year (no hits, no walks, one strikeout). He made 13 starts for the State College Spikes in 2010. He struggled in his first four starts, allowing 12 earned runs in 16 innings for a 6.75 ERA. He had only 4 strikeouts over the first three games, but struck out 4 more in the fourth game, going into July. His next two starts were better, as he allowed only one run in each of two 5-inning starts, and struck out 4 and 5 batters respectively in those two games. On July 20th, he had another tough outing, as he gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings. Von Rosenberg pulled it together for the rest of the season. In his remaining 6 starts, he allowed 3 earned runs over 28 innings (0.96 ERA), and struck out 20 batters in those games. The 20-year-old should start 2011 in West Virginia, where the Pirates would like to see more velocity develop on his fast ball (usually high 80′s to 90 or so), which could boost his strikeout rate.