Light Hitting Night For Affiliates, Morris Pitches 5 Shutout Innings

Looking in on the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Tuesday… the State College Spikes have a scheduled day off.

Hagerstown Suns� 5,� West Virginia Power� 4 (box)

A single, a double, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th gave the Suns the extra-inning win over the Power this afternoon.� The Power were held to 6 hits and scored all 4 of their runs in one inning, the 5th.� 3B Jesus Brito led off the inning with a single, and CF Evan Chambers was hit by a pitch.� Both scored on DH Jose Hernandez’s line drive double into center field.� 1B Aaron Baker brought in Hernandez with his 16th home run of the season, and the Power had their 4 runs.

Baker was the only Power batter who had more than one run in the game.� Besides the home run, he also singled in the 4th, but was forced out at second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was left on base. LF Rogelios Noris doubled to lead off the 6th.� Both RF David Rubinstein and� Noris were hit by pitches (back-to-back) in the 2nd inning.� Both C Ramon Cabrera and Chambers reached base two throwing errors in the 9th.� All four of them were left on base.

Jason Erickson pitched into the 7th inning for the Power, but he did not figure into the decision.� He gave up a run in the 3rd inning on a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single.� LF Noris prevented another run from scoring on a single, when he made a perfect throw in from left field to the plate, with Cabrera making the tag at the plate. Erickson gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, then gave up a solo home run in the 6th inning.

The Suns tied the score in the 7th inning.� With two outs, Erickson gave up a bunt single, a stolen base, and a walk.� Justin Ennis relieved Erickson, but the first batter he faced doubled into left field, scoring both base runners, to tie the game at 4-4.� Ennis gave up a single and a walk in the 8th, but did not let either runner score.� Zach Foster took over for the 9th, and retired the side in order then, but he suffered the loss when he gave up the run in the 10th.� The Power had two base runners on in the 8th (two errors) but they did not score either.

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Marauders and Spikes Win Shut-Outs

Sunday afternoon and evening with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates…..as usual, the GCL Pirates are off today.� The West Virginia Power and the Hagerstown Suns apparently did not have any sun, and their game was postponed.� They will try for two on Monday.

Altoona Curve 6,� Trenton Thunder� 4 (box)

The Thunder thundered early, but the Curve stormed back with 6 runs in the 5th inning for the win.� C Kris Watts and LF/CF Anthony Norman each went 2-for-3, and Norman picked up 2 RBI.�� Starter Tony Watson lasted only 3 innings, and he gave up runs in each of those innings.� A hit batter and an RBI single gave Trenton one run in the 1st inning.� A lead off� home run began the 2nd inning, then a single, a ground-rule double, and a sacrifice fly added 2 more runs in the 2nd.� Another lead-off home run in the 3rd gave the Thunder a 4-0 lead.� Jared Hughes relieved Watson and pitched 5 scoreless innings, scattering 3 hits and 2 walks.� He was credited with the win, since he was the pitcher of record when the Curve took the lead.� Derek Hankins gave up a triple in the 9th, but left that runner stranded to earn his 5th save.

The Curve had posted only 2 hits over the first four innings.� Then came the fireworks in the 5th, when the Curve sent 10 batters to the plate.� DH Brandon Jones opened the inning with a walk, then singles by RF Miles Durham and Watts loaded the bases.� Norman bounced a ground-rule double over the wall in right field, scoring Jones and Durham.� 3B Josh Harrison singled, bringing in Watts.� Norman scored on a throwing error when the Thunder tried to pick-off Harrison.� The Thunder got two outs at that point, 1B Matt Hague singled, plating Harrison.� Hague stole second base, and scored on 2B Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.� The Curve had only one hit in the rest of the game, a single by Norman, who was then caught stealing second base.

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Three Hits For Hernandez; McPherson Strikes Out 9; Avila’s Grand Slam

Back to full action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization:

Harrisburg Senators � 9,� Altoona Curve� 7 (box)

The 5 Curve players who participated in the Eastern League All-Star Game didn’t have to do any extra travelling after the game, because the rest of the Curve joined them in Harrisburg to begin a series against the Senators.

The Senators jumped out to an early lead, with 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning and 2 more in the 3rd inning off Curve starter Jared Hughes. Hughes gave up two walks, a triple, a single, a wild pitch, and an RBI ground out in the 1st inning, and a 2-run homer in the 3rd.� After the homer, Hughes had a batter reach on a throwing error by SS Chase d’Arnaud, then gave up another single.� Then he settled down and retired the next 11 batters in a row.� He pitched 6 innings and allowed those 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 3 strikeouts.

The Curve bats were quiet over their first 5 innings, with only a walk to C Hector Gimenez and singles to CF Gorkys Hernandez and RF Miles Durham. They got going in the 6th inning, when Hernandez singled again and 3B Josh Harrison doubled, scoring Hernadez from first base.� 1B Matt Hague blasted a 2-run homer, and the Curve were back in the game, trailing 5-3.

Pinch-hitter Anthony Norman added another 2-run homer in the top of the 7th, after LF Brandon Jones had walked.� With the score tied at 5-5, D’Arnaud walked after the home run, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.� Hernandez’s third single of the game put d’Arnaud on third base, and Harrison’s sacrifice fly brought him in with the go-ahead run.� One more run came across in the top of the 8th.� 3B Jordy Mercer walked, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.� Durham singled again, but Mercer had to hold at second base because the ball was just at shortstop.� Jones walked to load the bases, and pinch-hitter Yung Chi Chen’s sacrifice fly brought in Mercer.

The Curve were looking good, with a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the 9th.� Anthony Claggett had relieved Hughes and struck out the side in the 7th.� Mike Dubee pitched the 8th, allowing a single and a walk, but striking out two more batters.� Ramon Aguero took the mound for the bottom of the 9th.� He got the first out… then everything fell apart.� A walk, a single, and a wild pitch put runners on second and third base.� A sacrifice fly brought in the runner from third base, bringing the Senators closer, 7-6.� Another walk put two runners on, and a 3-run walk-off homer gave the Senators the 9-7 win.

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Spikes’ and Pirates’ Bats Are Booming

Good news and bad news today…

The bad news is that OF Starling Marte has had some problems with his hand after surgery.� Marte had played in two rehab games last week, going 3-for-6, but has not played in over a week.� He’s going to need to rest the hand for awhile yet — a setback indeed.

The good news is that OF Mel Rojas Jr, the Pirates’ 3rd-round pick in the 2010 draft is reported to be on his way to Pittsburgh to sign a contract.� If all goes as expected, he could report to the State College Spikes by the weekend.

A few non-all-star-games going on today:

State College Spikes� 11,� Connecticut Tigers� 1 (box)

The Spikes posted 13 hits on their way to 11 runs this evening in Connecticut. 1B Matt Curry led the team with a 3-for-3 game and 2 RBI.� RF Adalberto Santos, DH Chase Lyles, LF Pat Irvine, and C Miguel Mendez each had 2 hits, and 3B Kelson Brown contributed 3 RBI.

The Spikes started off with 2 runs in the top of the 1st.� 2B Walker Gourley began the rally with a walk, and Santos reached base on a fielder’s choice that Gourley beat out.� Curry singled, scoring Gourley, and Lyles singled, bringing in Santos.� They added 4 runs in the 3rd inning, when Curry and Lyles both singled again.� Irvine followed with a double to plate Curry.� Brown’s single drove in both Lyles and Irvine.� Mendez made it runners on the corners with another single, and Brown scored when CF Kyle Saukko bounced into force out at second but beat the throw to first base.

The Tigers scored their lone run in the bottom of the 3rd, on two singles and a sacrifice fly.� It was the only run that Zack Von Rosenberg allowed in his 5 innings.� He gave up 5 hits and one run, and he struck out 5 batters.� Colton Cain, Casey Sadler, Teddy Fallon, and Jason Townsend all pitched one scoreless inning.� Townsend was the only one who allowed a hit, a single in the 9th.� Fallon was the only one to allow a walk, and he erased that runner with a double play.� Sadler struck out the side, all swinging, in the 7th.

The Spikes kept going after Connecticut scored their run.� Santos tripled with one out in the 4th.� Curry walked, and Lyles reached on a fielding error, as Santos scored.� A throwing error on the play put Curry on third and Lyles on second.� Irvine singled, and Curry crossed the plate, then Brown’s sacrifice fly brought in Lyles.� Spikes ahead, 9-1.� Back-to-back doubles by Santos (ground-rule) and Curry added the first run in the 6th.� A walk to Irvine and Brown being hit by a pitch loaded the bases.� Mendez singled, scoring Curry and giving the Spikes an 11-1 lead.� The Spikes’ bats slowed down after that.� They had only one base runner over the last three innings — Curry walked to begin the 8th, but was erased in a double play.

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Bixler Returns; Krol Saves #21

IMG_3495The Pittsburgh Pirates have reaquired infielder Brian Bixler (photo) from the Cleveland Indians’ organization.� Bixler, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 draft, played in the Pirates’ organization for all of his career until he was traded to Cleveland in January 2010 for infielder Jesus Brito. Bixler did not make the Cleveland major league team out of spring training, and he was removed from their 40-man roster.� He has been playing for AAA Columbus, and has appeared in several games against the Indy Indians.� For the Clippers, the 27-year-old Ohio native has been hitting .278 with 13 doubles, one triple, 3 homers, and 27 RBI.� That’s about the same average but with a little less power than he showed with the Indy Indians in 2009.� Bixler has not been able to take his AAA level success up to the major league level.� In a total of 68 games with the Pirates, Bixler hit .178 with 7 doubles, one triple, and 5 RBI, and struck out 62 times.� Bixler will join the Indy Indians after the All-Star break.

The Indy Indians are off for their All-Star break.� The AAA All-Star game will be played on Wednesday in Lehigh Valley.� The game will not be on ESPN2 as in past years, but will be televised on the MLB network.� It will also be on-line on milb.com.�� More Monday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 6,� Altoona Curve� 3….. suspended (box)

They got into the 4th inning before rain halted play in Altoona this afternoon.� The Curve got busy in the bottom of the 1st, with a double by 3B Shelby Ford, and an RBI single by 2B Jordy Mercer. Mercer stole second, then went to third on walks to C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones. RF Miles Durham drove in both Mercer and Watts with a line drive single into left field.� Durham also stole second, but was left there when the inning ended.

Starter Tim Alderson retired the side in the top of the 1st, but struggled after that.� The Squirrels came right back in the top of the 2nd to tie the score.� The inning began with three consecutive singles, which brought in one run.� A throwing error by 1B Matt Hague loaded the bases, and another single drove in two more runs.� A sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position — and provided the first out of the inning.� A hit batter loaded the bases again, but an infield fly rule pop out and a grounder force out ended the inning.� The second inning did not go any better.� A double, a walk, and a double opened the inning, bringing in 2 runs.� After two ground outs, another double drove in the Squirrels’ 6th run.� Alderson was relieved by Dustin Molleken to begin the top of the 4th, and Molleken retired the side in order.

The Curve went down in order in the 2nd.� Mercer and Watts both singled in the 3rd, though neither scored.� The bottom of the 4th began with a walk to Durham and a single by CF Anthony Norman, moving Durham to third.� Molleken’s sacrifice bunt moved Norman to second base, and that’s how things stood when play was halted.� The game will be resumed on August 26th.

After the game, Alderson was reassigned to A+ Bradenton.� He had made 17 starts for the Curve, and in 86.2 innings, Alderson had allowed 105 hits and 54 earned runs (5.30 ERA).� He had 26 walks and 57 strikeouts, and batters hit .307 against him. His record:� 7-5.

Jeff Locke is being promoted from Bradenton to Altoona — a pitcher swap.� Locke has a 9-3 record with the Marauders.� He also has 17 starts, for 86.1 innings, allowing 82 hits and 42 earned runs (3.54 ERA).� Locke has walked 14 and struck out 83, and batters hit .248 against him.

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