Gone for a few days, and all kinds of changes going on….
The Pirates have removed starting pitcher Zach Duke, infielder Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Delwyn Young from their 40-man roster.
Duke (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians on Opening Day in 2005, the beginning of the Pirates’ affiliation with the Indians. Duke faced the rehabbing Curt Schilling, and he and the Indians beat Schilling pretty easily.
The open spots on the 40-man roster, plus two other already open spots, went to a group of minor league pitchers:
Mike Crotta, a righty who made 4 starts for Altoona before he was promoted to Indianapolis. He made 24 starts for the Indians and pitched 131.1 innings, with a 4.93 ERA.
Daniel Moskos, who split the season between the Indy Indians and the Altoona Curve. The lefty was outstanding for the Curve, with a 1.52 ERA and 21 saves, though he struggled for the Indians, where he earned a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings of relief.
Tony Watson, another lefty who spent the season with the Curve. He made a few starts (9) but mostly worked in relief, earning a 2.67 ERA in 111.1 innings.
Jeff Locke, split the season between Altoona and the Bradenton Marauders. After earning a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts for Bradenton, Locke was promoted to AA, where the southpaw made an additional 10 starts and earned a consistent 3.59 ERA.
Kyle McPherson, a right-hander who spent most of the season with A-level West Virginia. McPherson made 21 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Power, with a 3.59 ERA in 117.2 innings, though he had some hot and cold swings. McPherson also pitched 4 scoreless innings for Bradenton in September.
Altoona Curve� 6,� Trenton Thunder�� 4 …..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve tied up the Eastern League Championship Series at 1 game each, beating the Trenton Thunder tonight at Blair County Ballpark in Altoona, PA.
The Thunder out-hit the Curve 9-5, but three of the Curve’s hits were home runs, and they were able to take advantage of mistakes by the Thunder.� 3B Josh Harrison got the Curve started with his no-doubt-about it solo home run in the bottom of the 1st.� The Thunder tied the game in the top of the 3rd on two doubles off starter Jeff Locke.
Then the Curve took a big step forward in the bottom of the 3rd, as they capitalized on throwing problems by Trenton pitcher Dellin Betances.� RF Miles Durham led off with a walk, then stole second base.� CF Anthony Norman also walked, as Betances was having trouble finding the strike zone.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but Betances’ throw to first base sailed down the right field line, and Durham raced around from second base to score the go-ahead run.� With Norman on third and d’Arnaud on second, Betances got Harrison to ground out, and the runners held.� Then Betances fired in a wild pitch high over his catcher’s head, and Norman scored from third.� SS Jordy Mercer made the wild pitch less of an issue when he blasted a 2-run home run (it would have been a 3-run homer and Norman would have scored anyway), and the Curve toook a 5-1 lead.
Locke went on to pitch a total of 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks.� He gave up a lone single in the 1st and again in the 6th, and those two doubles in the 4th.� He struck out the side in the 4th, on his way to a total of 8 strikeouts.� Locke gave up an unearned run in the 5th inning.� With two outs, a fielding error by Mercer put a runner on base, then back-to-back singles brought him around to score.� Locke loaded the bases with a walk, then got a ground out, again to Mercer, to end the inning.
Derek Hankins relieved Locke to begin the 8th inning.� He was greeted by back-to-back homers by Trenton’s RF Daniel Brewer and C Austin Romine.� Brewer’s long fly left the field well over LF Andrew Lambo’s head;� Romine’s bounced on the very top of the right-center field wall, hit the wall behind the fence, then bounced back onto the field — still counts as a home run.� Hankins struck out the two batters he faced after the homers, then walked the next two.� That was all for him, with Daniel Moskos coming in from the bullpen.� Moskos finished the inning with a strikeout, but the Thunder had moved within one run, 5-4.
Two of the Pirates’ affiliates in playoff action:
Altoona Curve� 6,� Harrisburg Senators� 4 ….������ (box)
The Senators and the Curve battled back and forth, with errors and poor base running on both sides, but it was the Curve who came out on top to even the best-of-5 series at 1 game each.� The Curve scored their runs on 7 hits, 5 of which were doubles.� LF Andrew Lambo and 2B Chase d’Arnaud let the way with two hits each, and Lambo contributed 3 RBI.
Harrisburg scored first, with an unearned run in the top of the first.� With one out, Curve starter Jeff Locke walked two batters, then got the next batter to ground to short, for what should have been a double play.� SS Jordy Mercer made the throw to 2B Chase d’Arnaud for the force out at second, but d’Arnaud’s relay to first base was off-target.� The batter was safe, and the runner who had been on second base came around to score.
The Curve got the run back again in the bottom of the 2nd.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a double, moved to third base by tagging up on C Hector Gimenez’s fly out, and scored on Andrew Lambo’s RBI ground out.� The Curve managed only a double by 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd, then scored again in the 4th.� Hague and Gimenez opened the 4th with back-to-back walks.� Lambo rocketed a line drive down to the right field corner, bringing in Hague to take the lead.� RF Miles Durham grounded to short, but a quick play by the Senators going to the plate, had Gimenez out at home.� Lambo moved up to third base on the play, and he scored on CF Anthony Norman’s sacrifice fly.� Curve up, 3-1.
The Senators came right back in the top of the 5th to tie the score again.� Jeff Locke had kept the Senators from scoring over three innings, despite having runners on base in both the 2nd (walk and single) and 3rd (double and walk).� Another double led off the 5th, then Locke got the next two batters out.� The next batter lifted a fly deep into the left-center field alley, which sailed beyond Norman’s leap and to the wall.� Lambo couldn’t get to it either, and the runner scored.� The Senators made it runners on the corners when a short fly ball skipped off d’Arnaud’s glove and bounced away.� That was all for Jeff Locke, who had pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs so far, one earned and one not, on 4 hits and 4 walks, with 5 innings.� Derek Hankins relieved Locke, but he threw a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to score, also charged to Locke.� Hankins ended the inning with a strikeout, but the score was tied again, 3-3.
Sunday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.
West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….��� (box)
Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.
The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.
The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.
Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns’ reliever with the game-winning homer.
Tuesday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers….
Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League’s Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.
Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague’s two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning — he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.
Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie’s only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer’s ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman’s double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).
Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.