Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:
GCL Pirates 3, GCL Blue Jays 2 (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum. After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play. He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base.
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning. CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. 1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa. LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second. A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.
David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th. He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. 3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases. Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third. RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate. The Pirates were up 3-1.
Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez. The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2. Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game. Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Blue Jays 0 (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters. In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play. Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base.
The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play. DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base. Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded. The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind. RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.
Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.
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.
Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games. Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings. The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings. The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base. Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer. He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.
The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings. They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down. Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning. Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play. Farrell scored on the error. CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.
Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th. He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single. An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run. Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.
Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.
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.
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.