Thursday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers…
Altoona Curve 5, Trenton Thunder 1
Starter Jeff Locke struck out 8 Trenton batters in his 5.1 innings of work, while getting plenty of run support — 3 home runs from his offense. The only run Locke surrendered came in the bottom of the 2nd, when Trenton loadd the bases on a walk, a hit batter, and a single. Another walk by Locke forced in the run, then a strikeout and a double play got him out of the inning. Locke allowed only a walk and a double over the next three innings. He began the 6th with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Diego Moreno.
Meanwhile, the Curve were pounding out the hits — a total of 15, including 3 by 2B Brock Holt. Each Curve batter had at least one hit. 1B Matt Curry, who had two hits in the game, began the Curve scoring with a solo home run to lead off the top of the 2nd. Holt led off the 3rd with a line drive single to short, then moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s walk, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.
Back-to-back solo homers by Latimore and Mercer added another 2 runs in the 5th inning. The Curve loaded the bases on three consecutive singles in the 6th — by RF Jose Hernandez, Holt, and CF Brad Chalk, but Latimore struck out to end the inning and leave all three runners on base. The final Curve run scored in the 8th. The inning began with back-to-back singles by DH Travis Scott and 3B Greg Picart. Picart was picked off first and caught stealing, but Scott advanced to third, and he was plated by Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. Holt also tripled in that inning.
Moreno finished the 6th inning for Locke with a strikeout and a pop out. Then he struck out the side in the 7th inning. Michael Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He loaded the bases with a double, a single, and a walk in the 8th, but got out of that jam with a strikeout and a force out. Then he worked around a single for a scoreless 9th.
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 were making up a rained out game with a double header:
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 0 (Game 1)
After shutting out the Aeros last night, the Curve pitching staff continued their dominance with another 7 shutout innings in Game 1 of the double header. Tonight it was Aaron Pribanic who earned his 4th win with 7 scoreless innings, for a (shortened) complete game. He gave up 6 hits, no walks, and also worked around two errors by his fielders. Pribanic had at least one base runner on in all but one inning. Akron had a small threat going in the 6th, when Pribanic gave up back-to-back singles with one out, but a foul pop ended that inning. With one out in the 7th, Pribanic gave up a hit, then another batter reached on 3B Jeremy Farrell’s throwing error. Pribanic got a grounder force out and a fly out to end that inning.
The Curve also posted just 6 hits, but they made them count. Farrell singled in the bottom of the 2nd, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. He scored on DH Eric Fryer’s single up the middle. Fryer also advanced to second on another wild pitch, and 1B Miles Durham walked, but they were left on base. CF Starling Marte contributed the Curve’s only other run with a solo home run in the 3rd. Marte also singled in the 1st inning. SS Jordy Mercer singled in the 2nd, but was picked off and caught stealing, and singled again in the 6th. C Tony Sanchez walked in the 4th and stole second base.
Aeros 8, Curve 1 (Game 2)
Curve starter Bryan Morris continued the streak with 3 scoreless innings, in which he gave up only a walk, and struck out 3 batters. But the streak ended in the 4th, when Morris started out by giving up a single and a walk. He was relieved by Matt McSwain. The first batter McSwain faced dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position. McSwain then walked the next two batters, forcing in a run, before striking out two batters to end the inning. McSwain came back out in the 5th and began with a hit batter and a walk. The lead runner stole third base, then scored on an RBI single. A triple drove in two more runs, to give Akron a 4-0 lead.
The Curve were held to just 3 hits, and two of those were by LF Quincy Latimore. Latimore singled in the 1st but was thrown out trying to steal second base. He singled again in the 4th and was left on base. The only other hit was a solo home run by C Eric Fryer in the 5th inning, for the only Curve run of the game. The last 7 Curve batters were retired in order.
Brian Leach took the mound in relief of McSwain in the 6th and retired the side in order. The Aeros rallied again in the top of the 7th. The inning began with a double, a single, and a walk to load the bases. A triple cleared the bases for 3 runs. After a walk, a sacrifice fly brought in the 4th run of the inning. Leach surrendered another single, then was relieved by Noah Krol, who ended the inning with a grounder force out.
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.
Thursday night’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league teams…..
Akron Aeros 6, Altoona Curve 1 (Game 1)
The Aeros began today’s double-header with a 5-run 1st inning, and the Curve could not catch up in Game 1. 2B Brock Holt went 3-for-3 with a triple and two singles.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson did not get out of the first inning. With one out, A pair of doubles drove in one run. A catchers’ interference call on C Eric Fryer put the next batter on first base, and a single loaded the bases. Thompson got a strikeout, but then walked in a run. Two more singles drove in three more runs for a 5-0 lead. Tim Alderson relieved Thompson, and Alderson ended the inning with a tapper back to the mound.
Alderson gave up a double and a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the next three batters to get out of the inning without further runs scoring. He went on to retire the next 11 batters in order (14 in order overall), before giving up a solo home run in the 6th.
Holt recorded his first single in the top of the 1st, and CF Starling Marte reached base on an error, but they were not able to come around to score. Holt singled again in the 3rd, with two outs. That time he was out at second on a grounder force out. SS Jordy Mercer singled in the 4th, and was left on base. The Curve scored their only run in the 5th. 1B Miles Durham walked in the 5th, and moments later, Holt drove Durham in with his triple.
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 1 (Game 2)
Jared Hughes pitched into the 6th inning, and kept the Aeros scoreless in the night-cap. Hughes gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, and worked around runners on base in four of the innings he pitched. He left two runners in scoring position in the 1st, and allowed another single in the 2nd. In the 4th, the Aeros doubled, and the runner advanced to third on a bunt. A grounder to 3B Shelby Ford became a fielder’s choice when Ford’s throw home let C Kris Watts tag out the runner at the plate. Hughes gave up another single and a walk in the 6th, and was relieved by Michael Dubee. Dubee moved both runners into scoring position with a wild pitch, but ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the 2nd inning. DH Jeremy Farrell doubled into center field, and 1B Miles Durham walked. Ford lifted a single into left field, allowing Farrell to score from second base. A pair of doubles added another run for the Curve in the 3rd. With one out, CF Starling Marte doubled into center field. Marte scored on LF Quincy Latimore’s double into left. Latimore also singled and Farrell walked in the 6th, but the Aeros changed pitchers, and two strikeouts ended the inning.
Akron’s only run came in the bottom of the 7th. Dubee gave up a lead-off double and a walk, and with two outs, an RBI single up the middle brought in the lead runner.