Irwin: Another 7 No-Hit Innings;

Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)

On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.

The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.

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Owens Wins #12, Two Homers For Hague As Curve Clinch Title

Tuesday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers….

Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)

The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League’s Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.

Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague’s two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning — he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.

Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie’s only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.

Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer’s ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman’s double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).

Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.

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Curve Shut Out; Power Over-powering

Monday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates….

Bowie Baysox� 2,� Altoona Curve� 0 ..� (box)

The Curve out-hit the Baysox 7-5, but were still shutout in Bowie.� 3B Josh Harrison and RF Miles Durham each had two hits, including a double for Harrison, while 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 1B Matt Hague, and LF Jim Negrych had one hit each.� Harrison’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Curve.� In addition, Negrych walked three times, and two Curve batters, C Kris Watts and pinch-hitter Jose De Los Santos, were hit by pitches.� That all adds up to 10 Curve batters left on base.

The Curve had two runners on in the 3rd inning, when d’Arnaud singled and Harrison doubled, sending d’Arnaud to third with two outs.� A strikeout ended that inning.� Two Curve were on base in the 4th also, when Negrych walked for the second time and Durham singled, but Negrych was picked off second base.� In the 8th, Hague singled and Negrych walked for the third time, but again a strikeout ended the inning.� The Curve’s best chance at scoring came in the 7th inning, when they loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Negrych and Durham, and then Watts was hit by a pitch.� A strikeout and a fly out ended that inning with all three runners still on base.

Justin Wilson suffered the loss.� He threw 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts.� Bowie scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st without needing a hit:� a walk, a ground out, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly.� A single and a double brought in their second run in the 3rd.� Mike Colla pitched the last 3 innings for the Curve.� He gave up only one hit, a double in the 7th, and retired the other 9 batters he faced, including 3 strikeouts.

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Curve and Spikes Fall Short

Just two late games on Sunday, with one week to go …� The Bradenton Marauders and the West Virginia Power both have a scheduled day off today.

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 5,� Altoona Curve� 4 ..�� (box)

Richmond broke a 4-4 tie with a run in the top of the 9th, and the Curve could not answer back.� With Ramon Aguero on the mound to begin the 9th, a walk and a single put Richmond runners on the corners with no outs.� Aguero got a strikeout, then gave up an RBI single to first.� A double play, 2B Jordy Mercer to SS Chase d’Arnaud to 1B Matt Hague, ended the inning without the Squirrels scoring again.� The Curve got one runner on base in the 9th, when pinch-hitter Jim Negrych singled to lead off the inning.� CF Jose De Los Santos’ sacrifice bunt moved Negrych to second base, but a fly out and a ground out ended the inning before Negrych could get any further.

The Curve had cracked the scoreboard first, with a run in the bottom of the 1st.� D’Arnaud led off with a single, but was out at second on 3B Josh Harrison’s grounder force out.� Harrison stole both second and third base, then scored on C Hector Gimenez’s RBI single.

Richmond took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd, with a lead-off homer.� A fielding error by d’Arnaud, and a single put two runners on base.� Another 4-6-3 double play moved the lead runner to third, and an RBI single drove in the run.� Curve starter Jared Hughes gave up two more runs in the 3rd inning, with a hit batter, a triple, and a double.

The Curve tied the score in the 5th with a walk by Hughes, then back-to-back home runs by Chase d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison.� It was d’Arnaud’s 5th homer of the season, and Harrison’s 4th blast.

Hughes pitched 6 innings and allowed those 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and a walk.� He also struck out 2 batters.� Bryan Morris, in the bullpen to keep his inning count down for the remainder of the season, pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing a lone single in each and striking out a batter in each.

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Curve Split Two, Owens Wins #11, Cain Wins #1

Lots of action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Thursday….

Richmond Flying Squirrels� 9,� Altoona Curve� 6�� (Game 1)..� (box)

This was the wrap-up of a suspended game from… awhile back.� 2B Jordy Mercer had 3 hits in the game with an RBI, and LF Jim Negrych had a single, a double, and an RBI for the Curve.� The Curve scored first, with 3 runs in the bottom of hte 1st, on a double by 3B Shelby Ford, an RBI single by Mercer, walks to both C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones (back when he was still on the team), and a 2-RBI single by RF Miles Durham.

Richmond came back to tie the score with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, on four singles and a throwing error by 1B Matt Hague. Then they took the lead with another 3 runs in the top of the 3rd, on a walk and three doubles.� Starter Tim Alderson was responsible for 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 3 innings.� Dustin Molleken took over for Alderson, and retired the side in the top of the 4th inning.� The Curve began the bottom of the inning with a walk to Durham, a single by CF Anthony Norman, and a sacrifice bunt by Molleken, to put both runners into scoring position.� That was when play was halted.� When the game resumed, SS Chase d’Arnaud singled, scoring Durham.� PH/3B Josh Harrison grounded to short, which let Norman score also.� Mercer singled again, but was left on base.� The Curve had closed the gap, 6-5

Derek Hankins took over for Molleken after the restart.� He pitched 5 innings, scattering two hits and a walk over the first four of those innings.� The Curve also put runners on base in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, but did not score.

In the top of the 9th, Hankins gave up a single and an RBI double, then three more singles, increasing Richmond’s lead to 9-5.� The Curve got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 9th, when Hague walked, and moved to third on a fielding error that also put Watts on base.� Jim Negrych singled into left field, bringing in Hague from third.� Watts also tried to score, coming from second base, but he was out at the plate on the throw in from left field, ending the game.

Curve� 5,� Flying Squirrels� 1�� (Game 2)..� (box)

The Curve turned the tables in the second game, which was scheduled for only 7 innings.� Rudy Owens buzzed through 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits and one walk, while striking out 5 batters.� He surrendered a single in the 2nd and a double in the 4th, then a walk in the 6th.� It was Owens’ 11th win of the season.� Daniel Moskos wrapped things up in the 7th inning.� He loaded the bases with two walks and a single.� A grounder force out brought in Richmond’s only run, but then Moskos ended the game with a strikeout.

2B Jordy Mercer’s bat was still hot, as he collected another 2 hits.� He and LF Jim Negrych both singled in the 4th, then C Hector Gimenez reached on a throwing error, which brought in Negrych with the first run of the game.� A walk to 3B Josh Harrison and singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer scored Harrison with another run in the 5th.� SS Chase d’Arnaud added three more runs with a 3-run homer in the 6th, also plating CF Anthony Norman, who had walked, and pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, who had singled.

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