Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 7, Altoona Curve 3
The Curve had a good start to their game, but lost their early lead in the 6th inning. LF Quincy Latimore drove in 2 runs in the top of the 1st. 2B Brock Holt and C Tony Sanchez had both walked, and with 2 outs, Latimore grounded to shortstop, where a throwing error let both runs score. Sanchez and Latimore both singled in the 3rd, with Latimore driving in Sanchez, who had moved up to second base on a ground out.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson allowed just 2 singles over the first 5 innings of the game. Things changed in the 6th inning, though. A single, a bunt, and another single gave the Squirrels runners on the corners. Thompson balked, allowing the runner from third to score. A stolen base and a walk put Squirrels on the corners again. This time, Thompson threw a wild pitch to let the runner from third score. Another walk and a single loaded the bases, and sent Thompson to the showers. Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to relieve Thompson. The first batter Claggett faced grounded to second, forcing out the runner coming from first base, as the runner from third scored. A walk loaded the bases again, and a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham let the fourth run of the inning score. Thompson was responsible for all 4 runs, 3 of which were earned.
Mike Colla took over for the 7th inning, when he gave up a lone single. Then in the bottom of the 8th, Colla gave up a walk and a single, and the lead runner scored when Sanchez made a throwing error on a steal attempt. Another walk and two singles drove in two more runs.
After the 3rd inning, the Curve could not push another run across the plate. They hurt themselves on base running plays, when Holt singled and was caught stealing in the 4th, and Sanchez walked and was caught stealing in the 5th. SS Jordy Mercer doubled in the 5th, and Durham singled in the 8th, but were left on base. Pinch hitter Kris Watts singled in the Curve’s last chance in the 9th, but he was left stranded when a ground out ended the game.
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.
The Altoona Curve and the Richmond Flying Squirrels were rained out in Altoona tonight. They will make up the game in August.
West Virginia Power 8, Augusta 5
The Power scored in each of the first 4 innings to stay ahead of the Augusta Green Jackets on Saturday evening. 2B Drew Maggi got the game off to a good start with a double into right field. 1B Matt Curry walked, then with Maggi off and running, a ground out by 3B Eric Avila let Maggi score. RF Justin Howard drove in Curry with a single into center field. Augusta got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 1st with a triple and an RBI ground out off starter Tyler Waldron.
Back-to-back singles by DH Elias Diaz and C Kawika Emsley-Pai opened the top of the 2nd, and gave the Power runners on the corners. A passed ball let Diaz score. SS Gift Ngoepe walked, but was out in a grounder force out, as Maggi got to first in time to avoid the double play. Another grounder forced out Maggi at second, but CF Mel Rojas also beat out the throw to first, and Emsley-Pai scored. Augusta also scored one run in the bottom of the inning, on a bases-loaded RBI ground out.
The Power took a big step ahead in the 3rd. Avila led off with a double, and after two outs, four consecutive singles drove in 3 runs. Diaz plated Avila, and Emsley-Pai plated Diaz; Ngoepe’s single put two runners on, and Maggi’s single scored Emsley-Pai. Another single by Avila and a fielding error on a fly into center field by Howard gave the Power an unearned run in the 4th.
Augusta kept tacking on runs, but one at a time — a solo homer in the 4th, and a run on two singles and a sacrifice fly in the 5th. Waldron pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. He was relieved by Zach Foster to begin the 6th. Foster pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings and hit one batter, who was promptly caught stealing by Emsley-Pai. Jason Townsend pitched the 9th and gave up the final Augusta run, on two singles, a passed ball, and an RBI ground out.
Waldron earned his second win of the season. Emsley-Pai went 3-for-4, with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Besides the singles in the 2nd and 3rd, he also singled in the 8th inning, but was left on base. Maggi, Avila, and Diaz all had 2 hits in the game.
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.
One win on Monday night in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
Akron Aeros 6, Altoona Curve 5
CF Starling Marte had 3 hits for the Curve in their loss in Akron. Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up only a double over the first 3 innings, then surrendered a solo homer in the 4th. Akron scored 2 runs in the 5th, when rehabbing Cleveland Indians’ star Grady Sizemore doubled after two singles.
The Curve had only one hit, a single by LF Quincy Latimore, in their first 5 innings, though they also had two batters reach on errors — 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd and C Tony Sanchez in the 4th. Down 3-0 going into the top of the 6th, the Curve got going. With one out, Marte beat out a bunt single, and SS Jordy Mercer walked. Sanchez also beat out an infield single to third to load the bases, and 1B Miles Durham’s line drive into left field brought in Marte, leaving the bases loaded again. Latimore plated Mercer with a sacrifice fly. Then 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in Sanchez and Durham when he tripled into center field, giving the Curve a 4-3 lead.
Tim Alderson relieved Pribanic to begin the 6th inning. He gave up two singles in that inning, but kept the Aeros from scoring. Akron also singled twice in the bottom of the 7th, including one by Sizemore, but this time, a throwing error by Holt on the force attempt let in one unearned run. After a ground out, a double drove in two more runs, also unearned, and Akron had the lead back, 6-4.
The Curve added one more run in the 8th, when Latimore walked, then came around to score on Farrell’s double into right field. Walks to DH Eric Fryer and RF Brad Chalk loaded the bases again, but the Curve could not capitalize, and all three were left stranded. Tom Boleska finished the game for the Curve with a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. Alderson was charged with the loss, as well as a Blown Save.