Sunday afternoon action with the Pirates’ lower minor league teams:
Altoona Curve 5, Akron Aeros 4
2B Brock Holt singled up the middle in the bottom of the 9th, scoring 1B Miles Durham from second base, for the Curve’s walk-off win.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson began his outing by facing only the minimum over the first three innings. He gave up a single in the 2nd, but erased that runner with a double play. The Aeros scored the first run of the game in the top of the 4th, when they loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Thompson could record an out. A sacrifice fly drove in the runner from third, but Thompson got another double play to get out of the inning.
The first 11 Curve batters also went down in order, until LF Quincy Latimore singled in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s grounder. The Curve got onto the scoreboard and tied the game when 3B Jeremy Farrell blasted a solo homer to lead off the 4th inning.
Thompson again retired the side in order in the 5th. The Aeros took the lead again in the top of the 6th with 2 runs off Thompson. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners with one out. A wild pitch moved the runner from first to second, though the runner on third had to stay there. Two more strikeouts drove in two runs, to give Akron a 3-1 lead.
The Curve answered with one run in the bottom of the 7th. Mercer and Ferrell led off the inning with singles, and C Tony Sanchez walked to load the bases. After a pitching change, RF Eric Fryer bounced into a double play, which let Mercer score from third base, though Fryer did not get credit for an RBI. The Curve added two more in the bottom of the 8th to take the lead. Pinch-hitter Kris Watts singled up the middle, and was replaced by pinch-runner Brad Chalk. Holt sacrificed bunted Chalk to second. CF Starling Marte beat out an infield single, moving Chalk to third, and Marte stole second base to put two Curve runners in scoring position. Latimore drove in Chalk with a sacrifice fly, an Mercer brought in Marte with an RBI single. Curve ahead, 4-3.
Mike Dubee relieved Thompson and pitched 2 scoreless innings. He retired the side in order in the 6th, then gave up just a walk in the 8th. Noah Krol took over for Dubee for the 9th. He was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up a solo home run to tie the score. Then he was credited with the win because he was the pitcher of record in the bottom of the 9th. The bottom of the frame began with a fly out, then Fryer singled and Durham reached on a fielding error at shortstop, moving Fryer to third. Chalk bounced to short, giving the Akron shortstop the opportunity to fire back to the plate, and Fryer was tagged out at home. With Durham on second and Chalk on first, Holt singled into center field, and had the walk-off win when Durham raced around third base to score on the single.
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.
The Indianapolis Indians and the West Virginia Power both had scheduled days off today.
OF John Bowker, who was DFA’ed last week, has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Indianapolis Indians.
LHP Dan Meyer has been activated off the Indians’ disabled list.
RHP Chris Leroux was moved to the Altoona Curve to make room for Meyer on the Indians’ roster.
Akron Aeros 6, Altoona Curve 3
Chris Leroux was sent down to Altoona, then was charged with the loss in his first game for the Curve. The game began with Akron scoring 3 runs in the top of the 1st. Mike Colla, making his second start of the season, gave up a walk, a single, and a walk to load the bases. The next batter grounded to third, but a fielding error by 3B Jeremy Farrell let the lead runner score and left the bases still loaded. A single and a sacrifice fly each added another run, for a 3-0 lead.
The Curve got one run back in the 3rd inning. DH Kris Watts led off with a double, and 1B Miles Durham’s single put Watts on third base. Two pop-outs later, Durham stole second base, then RF Eric Fryer walked to load the bases. Just like the Aeros in the 1st inning, a grounder to third and an error by the third baseman let a run score. But that was all the Curve could get, as they left the bases loaded. The Curve loaded the bases again in the 4th inning, with back-to-back singles by 3B Shelby Ford (who took over for Farrell) and C Tony Sanchez, a balk, and a walk to Watts. Durham’s sacrifice fly drove in Ford, before a double play ended that inning. Fryer tied the score at 3-3 in the 5th with a solo home run.
Colla pitched 4 more innings after the 1st, and allowed just one batter to reach base — a single in the 4th. Then Sanchez threw that runner out trying to steal second base. Matt McSwain pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Curve in the 6th. Leroux took the mound to begin the 7th. The first batter he faced smacked a solo home run. The next batter reached base on a missed catch error by Durham at first, and a double put two runners into scoring position. A fielder’s choice play was not fast enough, so let the runner from third score, and a sacrifice fly brought in the third run of the inning, for a 6-3 score. Only one of the runs was earned.
Anthony Claggett relieved Leroux to begin the 8th. He gave up a walk, and that runner reached second base on a balk, and third base on a passed ball, but Claggett did not let him score. Then he worked around a walk and a single in the 9th.
SS Jordy Mercer and Ford both singled in the 5th inning after Fryer’s homer, but both were left stranded. Only one Curve batter reached base after the 5th. Watts singled to lead off the 6th, but was erased in a double play.
Pirates’ lower minor league action for Thursday: the Curve had an early game, and the Marauders and the Power play in the evening
Harrisburg Senators 6, Altoona Curve 2
Matt McSwain made his AA debut today with the Curve, after being promoted from A+ Bradenton to fill the roster spot opened when Bryan Morris went on the DL (oblique strain). Unfortunately, it was not as happy a debut as McSwain and the Curve would have liked, as the Senators scored 4 runs over their last two at-bats to take the win.
Mike Colla made the start for the Curve, and retired the first 11 batters he faced in order. Then he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th.
The Curve batters were getting on base during those innings, but they weren’t scoring either. CF Starling Marte and RF Eric Fryer both singled, and 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Kris Watts both doubled, but all were left on base. LF Quincy Latimore put the Curve onto the scoreboard in the 6th, when he led off the inning with a solo home run over the left field wall. Then he gave the Curve their only other run with another solo home run (to left-center field) in the 8th.
McSwain came on in relief of Colla to begin the 5th. He retired the Senators in order in the 5th and 6th innings, then gave up a run in the 7th on a walk, a single, and an RBI double. With two runners in scoring position, McSwain ended the inning with a ground out and a fly out. He got into trouble again in the 8th, with a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI double, to bring in one run. The next batter, 1B Tyler Moore, homered for the second time in the game, adding another 2 runs. Colla was charged with his first loss of the season.
Both the Curve and the Power played early games today….
Altoona Curve 3, Harrisburg Senators 2
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.