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.
The Power had an early game today, while the Curve and the Marauders are scheduled for the evening:
West Virginia Power 3, Hickory Crawdads 2
Three Power pitchers combined to hold Hickory to just 4 hits in the late-morning start. Colton Cain earned his 4th win of the season, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs, only one of which was earned. He gave up 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5 batters. Two of those 3 hits came in the top of the 1st — a lead-off single, then after two outs moved the runner to second base, another single when the batter beat out the throw on a grounder to third base. But Power 1B Justin Howard was paying attention, and he was able to throw from first base back to the plate, where C Elias Diaz tagged out the runner who had rounded third and was trying to score.
Three consecutive hits began the bottom of the 1st for the Power: singles by SS Drew Maggi and CF Mel Rojas, and an RBI double by RF Dan Grovatt, who drove in Maggi. DH Cole White brought in Rojas with an RBI ground out, to give the Power an early 2-1 lead.
Cain retired the side in order in the 2nd, then began the 3rd by giving up a double. A sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third base. The next batter was hit by a pitch, giving Hickory runners on the corners. Then a wild pitch by Cain and a throwing error on Diaz as he tried to retrieve the ball, let both base runners score, to tie the game.
The Power put runners on base over the next two innings, but base running problems eliminated the runners — picked off and caught stealing, and being caught off base on a fly out for a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 5th, and he too was doubled off first base when Maggi flied out. Rojas walked after Maggi was out, then Grovatt doubled for the second time in the game, and also drove in his second run, as Maggi gave the Power the lead.
Cain allowed only 2 walks over his last three innings of work. Vincent Payne made his first appearance for the Power this season, with 2 scoreless innings. He retired the side in order in the 7th, then gave up a walk in the 8th, but that runner was caught stealing. Zac Fuesser pitched the 9th. He gave up a single, but also picked the runner of first base, and was credited with his first Save.
The Power had only two base runners over the last 3 innings, when 3B Eric Avila walked and was erased in a double play, and a single by Grovatt, for his third hit of the game, in the 8th. Grovatt stole second base, but was left on base.
The Curve had another morning game today. The Marauders and the Power play on Thursday evening.
Bowie Baysox 4, Altoona Curve 2
Starter Aaron Pribanic struggled in this morning’s game, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits and a walk, with only one strikeout in 5 innings. He suffered his second loss of the season as the Curve lost the series with Bowie, 3 games to 1.
Pribanic had trouble right from the start, when the first Baysox batter of the game tripled into right field. He scored on a sacrifice fly. The Curve got the run back in the bottom of the 2nd inning on C Tony Sanchez’s solo home run.
The Baysox struck again in the top of the 3rd, opening the inning with back-to-back singles. A grounder to first erased the second runner and left Baysox on the corners. The runner on first stole second, and when Sanchez’s throw sailed into center field, the runner on third scored on the error. A walk to former Pirate farmhand C Steve Lerud and a single loaded the bases. Pribanic then gave up an RBI single to bring in the lead runner. A double play ended the rally, and Bowie had a 3-1 lead.
Pribanic gave up a single in the 4th, but left that runner on base. The 5th inning began with a double into right field. Lerud followed with an RBI single, to boost Bowie’s lead to 4-1. Another double play helped Pribanic get out of the 5th.
After that, the Curve bullpen shut down the Baysox. Matt McSwain pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief, working around a single in the 6th and another in the 7th. He retired the side in order in the 8th. Noah Krol pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th.
Unfortunately, after scoring in the 2nd inning, the Curve batters were also shut down for most of the rest of the game. 2B Brock Holt had singled and stole second base in the 1st inning, then moved to third base on a throwing error by Lerud. Holt was left standing there on third base when the inning ended. SS Shelby Ford singled in the 5th but was erased in a double play. RF Jose Hernandez also singled in the 5th. CF Starling Marte led off the 6th with a double, and he also doubled in the 8th inning, but both times he was left stranded.
The Curve rallied again in the bottom of the 9th. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Fryer scored on a sacrifice fly. The game ended with a strikeout, before the rally could gain any more momentum.
Friday night’s action:
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 0
Three Curve pitchers combined to throw a 3-hit shutout of the Aeros. Starter Mike Colla had to work around runners on base in 5 of his 6 innings, but he held the Aeros scoreless and earned his second win. He scattered 3 hits, 2 walks, and one hit batter over those innings. The only inning in which Akron had 2 runners on base was the 3rd, when Colla walked two. Anthony Claggett also gave up two walks in the 8th, after a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, but he did not allow a hit or a run. Noah Krol picked up his 9th Save with three quick ground outs in the 9th.
The Curve posted 11 hits, but scored only two runs (8 runners left on base). In the bottom of the 1st, with two outs, LF Quincy Latimore looped a single into right field, then scored from first on SS Jordy Mercer’s ringing double into center field. C Tony Sanchez singled and DH Kris Watts doubled in the 2nd inning, but Sanchez was out at the plate on the throw in from left field. The Curve added an unearned run in the 3rd. 2B Brock Holt led off the inning with a strikeout, but he reached first when strike three was a wild pitch. Holt stole second base, then scored when the Akron center fielder made an error on Mercer’s ball.
The Curve put runners on base in each inning after that, but could not bring any of them around to score. Sanchez and 1B Miles Durham both singled in the 4th inning, and that was the only inning after the 3rd when the Curve had two runners on base. CF Starling Marte singled twice, Watts singled, and Mercer doubled again.
After wins for everyone on Saturday, it’s losses for everyone on Sunday:
Erie SeaWolves 2, Altoona Curve 1
It took 13 innings to finish this pitching duel, when the Curve could not respond to a run scored by the SeaWolves in the top of the inning.
The Curve had put a runner on base in three of the first four innings: a double by SS Jordy Mercer in the 2nd, a single by 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore in the 4th. The Curve scored first, with a run in the bottom of the 5th. C Eric Fryer led off with a single, and he scored on 1B Miles Durham’s double to center field.
Starter Aaron Pribanic mowed down the SeaWolves with 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 4 batters and did not walk any, and had to work around only 2 hits, plus a batter reaching base on a throwing error. After a single in the 2nd, Pribanic retired 13 consecutive Erie batters. He gave up another single to begin the 7th inning, then was relieved by Matt McSwain. Pribanic had thrown 79 pitches, with 53 strikes.
McSwain gave up a double, but got out of the 7th inning without a run scoring. RF Brad Chalk helped out with a timely double play, when he made the catch on a fly ball, then threw out a base runner at third. Tim Alderson took the mound to begin the 8th inning, and he retired the side in order. But in the 9th, Alderson gave up a run on a single, a throwing error by 3B Jeremy Farrell on a bunt play, and an RBI double.
The Curve had only one base runner in the 6th – 8th innings, when Holt was hit by a pitch in the 8th. DH Tony Sanchez singled in the bottom of the 9th, but got no further, and the game moved into extra innings.
Alderson pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, and the Curve went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Michael Dubee took over for Alderson in the top of the 11th. Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the 12th. The Curve went down in order again in the bottom of the 11th, but threatened in the 12th. Farrell was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, then Fryer walked. A double play ended the inning without a run scoring.
Chris Leroux came on to pitch the top of the 13th, which began with a triple lined into right field. Chalk threw the ball in to the cut-off man Durham, whose relay throw went wild for an error, letting the runner score the go-ahead run. Leroux retired the next three batters, and the Curve had one more chance.
Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez led off the bottom of the 13th with a line drive double into left field. Holt put down a sacrifice bunt to move Hernandez to third base. CF Starling Marte popped out to first base, and Latimore was hit by a pitch, and advanced to second on defensive indifference. But a strikeout by Mercer ended the game with the two runners in scoring position, and Erie had the win.