Both the Curve and the Power played early games today….
Altoona Curve 3, Harrisburg Senators 2
A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg. Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings. A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer’s throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play. A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.
The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings. 1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play. Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd. But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th. Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis. Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte. Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead. The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar: Jimmy Barthmaier. With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.
The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th. Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners. He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate. A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run — both runs charged to Locke.
With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field. He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg’s right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer’s fly ball. The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings. Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th. Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.
It’s a rainy night for half of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:
The Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens had the first game of their 4-game series postponed due to an all-day-long rain. Yesterday it was snowing in Toledo, and this was not totally unexpected. The Tribe and the Hens are scheduled to play at 10:30 am on Wednesday, then play a double-header on Thursday at 5:30 pm to make up for today.
Pitcher Jose Ascanio was supposed to join the Indians today, to begin a rehab assignment, but that has obviously been washed away too.
The Altoona Curve and the Harrisburg Senators were also rained out in Altoona. They are also playing at 10:30 am on Wednesday, and that is the last scheduled game of this series with the Senators, so they will make up the rain out in June.
Curve pitcher Aaron Thompson was named the Eastern League for last week. He made two starts in the week, and won both games, earning a 0.75 ERA, with just 3 hits allowed in 12 innings.
Jupiter Hammerheads 1, Bradenton Marauders 0
The Marauders came out on the short end of a pitching duel today. Quinton Miller pitched well, but was charged with the loss, as he allowed the only run of the game on 5 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings of work, with 2 strikeouts. Miller gave up the run in the bottom of the 1st. The inning began with back-to-back singles, then both runners stole a base. An RBI ground out brought in the run. A walk and another single had another runner heading for the plate, but CF Evan Chambers made an excellent throw in to the plate, where C Ramon Cabrera tagged out the runner.
Miller scattered a walk and two singles over the next 5 innings, but did not let any further runs score. He was relieved by Jason Erickson to begin the 7th. After a 1-2-3 7th, Erickson worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless 8th inning.
Unfortunately, the Hammerheads’ pitchers were having even better luck against the Marauders’ batters. Bradenton put two runners on base in the 2nd, when LF David Rubinstein and Cabrera both singled, but Rubinstein was tagged out at third as he tried to pick up two bases on Cabrera’s single. The Marauders went down in order in the next 3 innings, then RF Adelberto Santos singled to open the 6th, but was left on base. With their last chance in the bottom of the 8th, 2B Jarek Cunningham lined a 2-out single into center field, and Chambers walked. But a ground out ended the threat and the game.
Monday evening’s games in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues
Harrisburg Senators 6, Altoona Curve 2
The Curve were able to put runners on base but not push them across the plate tonight. Starter Bryan Morris worked around a double in the 1st and a pair of walks in the 3rd to keep the Senators scoreless in the first three innings. He got into trouble in the 4th, with a lead-off triple, followed by a walk and an RBI double. A single drove in 2 more runs for a 3-0 Harrisburg lead. The Curve had left CF Starling Marte stranded on third base in the 1st, after his single, stolen base, and a throwing error. 2B Brock Holt also singled in the 3rd and was left on base. SS Jordy Mercer answered the Senators’ 3-run inning with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but LF Quincy Latimore singled in that inning, and he was also left stranded.
Tim Alderson took over for Morris to begin the 5th inning, and he pitched 2 scoreless frames. He loaded the bases in the 6th with a single and two hit batters, but ended the inning with a ground out. Mike Colla allowed a triple in his scoreless 7th. Then Noah Krol came on for the 8th, and gave up 3 more runs on a single, an RBI double, an RBI triple, and a wild pitch.
The Curve put two runners on base in the 7th, when 1B Miles Durham singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell walked, but both were left on base. Marte singled again in the 8th, and again could not come around to score. The final Curve run scored in the 9th, when Durham tripled, then scored on Latimore’s sacrifice fly.
Losses all around in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Augusta Green Jackets 5, West Virginia Power 3
A 4-run 2nd inning by Augusta had the Power trying to catch up for most of the game. With Zack Dodson getting the start, Augusta scored on two singles, a throwing error by 3B Eric Avila, a 2 RBI triple, and an RBI ground out. Only two of the runs were earned. Dodson retired the side in two other innings, and walked two batters in the 4th. The Power posted 8 hits (to Augusta’s 5 hits), and put runners on base in each of their first four innings but could not bring any of them around to score. The top of the 5th began with back-to-back singles by LF Rogelios Noris and SS Gift Ngoepe. 2B Drew Maggi dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but a missed catch error by the Augusta first baseman put Maggi safe on first, moved Ngoepe to third, and allowed Noris to score. Ngoepe scored on an RBI ground out.
Dodson was relieved by Brooks Pounders to begin the bottom of the 5th. Pounders surrendered another unearned run, on two singles, a passed ball, and a wild pitch in the 5th. He retired the side in order in both the 7th and 8th innings. Ryan Beckman retired the side in order in the 8th inning.
The Power continued to put runners on base in each inning, and they scored again in the 8th. RF Dan Grovatt walked, moved to second base on a ground out, and scored on DH Justin Howard’s line drive single into left field. Ngoepe also singled in the 3rd inning. CF Mel Rojas singled three times: in the 1st, the 3rd, and the 7th. He also stole second base in the 1st.
Altoona Curve 2, Richmond Flying Squirrels 0
The Altoona Curve put on a pitching demonstration in their home opener, as four pitchers combined for a shut-out and held the Squirrels to just 3 hits. Aaron Thompson made the start, and he dominated Richmond. Thompson retired the first 10 batters he faced. He gave up a walk in the 4th inning, but left that runner on base. He gave up a triple to lead off the 5th, but a grounder to third let 3B Jeremy Farrell fire the ball back to C Tony Sanchez, who tagged out the runner at the plate. Thompson had to work around a single and a fielding error in the 6th, but after a sacrifice bunt, two timely strikeouts got him out of that jam. Thompson also struck out 5 batters in his second win of the season.
The Curve posted 8 hits, and 3 of those were singles by RF Brad Chalk, who had been off to a slow start for the season (1-for-16). He singled in the 3rd, the 6th, and the 8th, though he didn’t score. Altoona scored their first run in the 4th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then scored all the way from first base on 1B Miles Durham’s double into center field. SS Jordy Mercer belted a home run over the left field wall in the 5th inning for the Curve’s second run. That was all the offense that was needed. The Curve put two runners on base in the 6th, when Chalk singled and pinch-hitter Kris Watts was hit by a pitch, but both were left on base. They threatened in the 7th, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single into right field and stole second base. He moved to third on a ground out, and tried for home when Sanchez grounded to third, but was thrown out at the plate on a play similar to what the Curve did to the Squirrels in the 5th. Sanchez and LF Quincy Latimore also had singles in the game.
Mike Colla, Michael Dubee, and Noah Krol each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Curve. Krol allowed one hit in the 9th, but left that base runner on, and earned his 3rd Save.