Homers By Marte, Rodriguez, Cunningham, And Rojas

Catching up with the action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates for Thursday….  several home runs

Trenton Thunder 8 ,   Altoona Curve  6
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A 3-run homer by CF Starling Marte and a solo blast by SS Josh Rodriguez were not enough to get past the Thunder. 

The Curve got the game started with a run in the top of the 1st on singles by RF Andrew Lambo and C Tony Sanchez, plus a fielding error by the Trenton center fielder, allowing Lambo to score.  Trenton came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, two singles, and two doubles, for a 4-1 lead.  The Curve took the lead back in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Matt Curry and 3B Greg Picart both singled, and Marte drove them in with his 5th home run of the season.  That tied the game, but the tie did not last long.  Five singles in the bottom of the 2nd brought in 3 runs for the Thunder, who were back on top, 7-4.  

Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up a single in the 3rd, then gave up an unearned run in the 4th on a fielding error by Picart, a single, scoring on a double play. That made Pribanic responsible for 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work.  Matt McSwain took over to begin the 6th.  He gave up a single in the 6th, but erased that runner with a double play, and then gave up a double and a walk in the 7th, but left those runners on base.  Anthony Claggett pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.  That runner moved up to second base on a throwing error by Rodriguez, but was out in a fielder’s choice run-down between second and third.  

Rodriguez led off the Curve part of the 6th with his solo homer.  LF Quincy Latimore followed the homer with a walk, and Curry singled, moving Latimore to third.  Curry was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Picart’s single drove in Latimore to give the Curve their final run.  

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Leach’s First Win In Marauders’ Hit-Fest

The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract.  He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College.  Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.  

Friday’s game action:

Harrisburg Senators  2,  Altoona Curve  0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel.  Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings.  The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings.  He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings.  Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single.  That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.

But the Curve weren’t scoring either.  They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer.  Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base.  RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice.  CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout.  1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second.  2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.  

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Marauders Hold Off Jupiter; Spikes Shut Out

Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:

The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break.  The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain.  They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.

Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week.  Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI.  He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week.  Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.

The Pirates have signed two more draft picks:  LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch  (32nd round).  Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College.  The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.  

Bradenton Marauders  5,  Jupiter Hammerheads  4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter.  Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.  The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd.  He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play.  The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.  

The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd.  SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field.  After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score.  Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases.  3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.  

The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th.  With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base.  Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score.  Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.  

Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning.  The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base.  Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown.  Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run.  The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4.  Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win.  Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.  

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Power Shut Out ‘Hoppers; Curve Have A Hit-Fest In 10th Inning Win

The Indianapolis Indians have a scheduled day off today (Wednesday).  A few bits of news for an off-day:

P Jose Ascanio and C Wyatt Toregas have cleared waivers and both will be assigned to the Indians.   Anthony Claggett was returned to the Altoona Curve.

The Pirates have signed four of their recent draft picks:  
SS Brian Sharp (24th round) from California Baptist University
SS Kirk Singer (29th round) from Long Beach State
RHP Matt Benedict (30th round) from Western Carolina University
C Derek Trent (31st round) from East Tennessee State

Here’s the list of all the draft picks, which will be updated with the signings as they occur.   

Sharp, Singer, and Trent are listed on the State College roster.  The State College Spikes begin their season on Friday.

The Pirates also signed LHP Robbie Kilcrease, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech.  The redshirt junior made 12 starts this year for Texas Tech.  He had a total of 63.1 innings, with a 5.97 ERA. 

On to Wednesday evening’s action:

West Virginia Power  3,  Greensboro Grasshoppers  0
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The Power did all the scoring they needed in their first at-bats, as three Power pitchers combined for a shutout.  With one out in the top of the 1st, 2B Andy Vasquez lined a single into center field, then stole second base.  He scored on RF Dan Grovatt’s double lined into right field.  Grovatt stole third base, and he scored on 1B Justin Howard’s RBI ground out.  CF Mel Rojas added one more insurance run for the Power in the 4th inning with a solo home run.  

After the homer, the Power lost some of their power.  They managed only 3 hits over the rest of the game — a single by Rojas in the 6th, a double by DH Jairo Marquez in the 7th, and a single by 3B Eric Avila in the 9th.  

Brandon Cumpton worked around a walk and a single in the bottom of the 1st, then gave up two more singles in the 3rd, but got out of that jam too, partly due to a double play.  Cumpton also gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, but still did not let the runners come around to score.  He began the 6th with a walk and a double play, then loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter, and a walk.  Kevin Decker came on in relief of Cumpton, and Decker ended the inning with a fly out, still not letting a run score.  

Decker pitched 2 more scoreless innings, though he gave up a walk and two singles in the 7th, and another single in the 8th.  Jason Townsend pitched the 9th, also giving up a walk and erasing the runner with a double play.  Cumpton earned his 7th win of the season, and Townsend earned his 6th Save.  

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Veal Moves Up To Altoona, But Curve Bombarded

Sunday action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:

Portland Sea Dogs  12,  Altoona Curve 4
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The Sea Dogs posted 17 hits on their way to 12 runs, scoring in three big innings.  They began with 3 runs in the top of the 1st off Curve starter Aaron Pribanic, who suffered the loss.  A walk, two singles, and two doubles brought in the runs in the 1st.  Portland added a run in the 2nd on a single, two stolen bases, a fielding error, and an RBI ground out.  Pribanic retired the side in order in the next two innings, but gave up one more run in the 5th on three singles.  Pribanic gave up the 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.  He threw 90 pitches with 61 strikes.  

The Curve were held to 6 hits, and three of them belonged to C Kris Watts, including a solo homer.  SS Jordy Mercer had 2 hits, both solo home runs.  CF Starling Marte’s double was the other run.  Watts singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell was hit by a pitch in th 2nd inning, but both were left on base.  Mercer put the Curve onto the scoreboard with his first home run in the 4th, and Watts also singled after the homer.  

Aaron Thompson pitched a scoreless 6th inning for the Curve, then Donnie Veal, who was just promoted from the Marauders, pitched the 7th.  Veal gave up a solo homer to lead off the 7th, then gave up a single and a 2-run homer, giving Portland an 8-1 lead.  Things got even worse in the 8th, with Diego Moreno on the mound.  a single, a double, and a walk loaded the bases, then a grand slam raised Portland’s lead to 12-1.  

Mercer’s second home run came in the bottom of the 8th, after Marte’s double.  Watts picked up his third hit in the bottom of the 9th, a solo home run, but that was all the Curve could get.   

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