Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston. The GCL Pirates have the day off.
Greensboro Grasshoppers 10, West Virginia Power 2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon. Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single. Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th. Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order. In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single. There were three stolen bases in that inning. Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored. Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single. The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.
The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings. Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. 1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base. SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off. Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate. DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.
Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single. The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th. With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked. White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score. Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.
Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.
3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison. Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh. Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis. INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.
Bradenton Marauders 8, St. Lucie Mets 1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton. Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders. He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way. Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.
Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record). The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double. Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings. He hit another batter and he struck out 5.
The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th. Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third. DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases. CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos. LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again. After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.
Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning. Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning. Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.
The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring. Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field. Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.
Two Pirates’ minor leaguers have been chosen to play in the MLB Futures game, which is held during the All-Star festivities. OF Starling Marte will be on the World team, and INF Chase d’Arnaud was named to the USA team — though that might change if d’Arnaud is indeed called up to Pittsburgh.
The State College Spikes’ game against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed due to rain. They will go for two on Friday night, beginning at 6:05 pm.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Altoona Curve 0
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This shortened game was a pitching duel, with the two teams combining for just 7 hits. Kyle McPherson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits. Two of those hits were solo homers, both coming in the 4th inning, and that accounted for all of the Fisher Cats’ scoring. The only other ‘Cats’ hit was a single to lead off the 1st inning, and that runner was picked off base. McPherson walked two batters, one in the 1st, and former Indy Indian Craig Stansberry in the 5th. Stansberry was caught stealing second base. Anthony Claggett pitched the bottom of the 6th, walking one and hitting one batter with a pitch.
The Curve batters collected 4 hits. CF Starling Marte led off the top of the 1st with a double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve. SS Jordy Mercer singled, and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But new Curve player RF Andrew Lambo lined right to the ‘Cats’ first baseman, who doubled off Sanchez for a double play. The other 2 hits happened in the 4th. Sanchez led off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing. 3B Jeremy Farrell also singled, but was left on base. There were only 2 more base runners for the Curve for the rest of the game — Sanchez walked in the 6th and 1B Matt Curry walked in the 7th, and both were left on base.
This was scheduled to be Game 1 of a double-header, and so was scheduled for 7 innings. But this game was also interrupted by rain, and the second game was washed out. The Curve move on to Harrisburg to begin a series tomorrow. They will play New Hampshire again in mid-August, and will have to do the make-up then.
The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there! The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed. There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game. The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm. Both will be 9-inning games.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: 3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono. My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.
The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport. The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
Altoona Curve 3, New Britain Rock Cats 1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game. McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level. Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners. He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single. McPherson also struck out 4 batters.
The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base. Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer. Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order over the next three innings. They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles. Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly. 1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base. The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked. They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening. Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left. After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases. But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.
Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Altoona Curve 11, Reading Phillies 1 (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short. The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game. Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs. R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning. The first four Curve batters reached base safely: a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases. After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3). C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again. 2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out. Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning. That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.
But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd. With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in. A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.
Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs. Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd. Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second. Mercer singled, plating Norman. After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base. Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer. Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly. A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1. The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long. Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.