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 Curve played an early game on Wednesday afternoon, with the Marauders and the Power playing in the evening:
Trenton Thunder 7, Altoona Curve 3
A 4-run 6th inning by the Thunder was too much for the Curve to overcome, in an early afternoon game in New Jersey. The Curve posted 11 hits, with Brad Chalk, playing center field today, collecting 3 hits. LF Quincy Latimore, 1B Matt Curry, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had 2 hits each.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. Chalk began the Curve rally with his first single, but was forced out at second on Latimore’s grounder force out at second. A throwing error by the second baseman on the play let Latimore reach second base. SS Jordy Mercer singled into right field, scoring Latimore. Two singles and a grounder force out gave the Thunder a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Latimore also double in the 3rd inning, but didn’t score. Curry began a rally in the top of the 4th when he worked a walk. Farrell singled, pushing Curry to third base, and a passed ball let Farrell move up to second base. DH Tony Sanchez’s RBI ground out scored Curry to give the Curve a 2-1 lead. Trenton tied it up again in the bottom of the 5th, with a single, a throwing error by starter Aaron Thompson, and a sacrifice fly.
Chalk singled again in the 5th, but was out in a force play. The Curve threatened in the top of the 6th. Curry, Farrell, and Sanchez hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. C Kris Watts grounded to first for a fielder’s choice as a throw back to the plate forced Curry out at home. A ground out ended the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Trenton got to Thompson again in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single gave Trenton a 3-2 lead. Matt McSwain relieved Thompson, but the first batter McSwain faced reached base on a fielding error by Curry. The next batter swatted a 3-run homer, giving Trenton a 6-2 lead.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 7th. Chalk and Latimore hit back-to-back line drive singles with one out. Mercer popped up for an infield fly rule out, then Curry’s single through the hole and into left field brought Chalk in to score. That was all the Curve could get, though. Sanchez walked to begin the 8th inning, and was erased on a double play, and the next four Altoona batters went down in order.
McSwain gave up one more run in the bottom of the 7th, on a two-out triple and an RBI single. Thompson was charged with his 5th loss of the season.
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 had another morning game today. The Marauders and the Power play on Thursday evening.
Bowie Baysox 4, Altoona Curve 2
Starter Aaron Pribanic struggled in this morning’s game, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits and a walk, with only one strikeout in 5 innings. He suffered his second loss of the season as the Curve lost the series with Bowie, 3 games to 1.
Pribanic had trouble right from the start, when the first Baysox batter of the game tripled into right field. He scored on a sacrifice fly. The Curve got the run back in the bottom of the 2nd inning on C Tony Sanchez’s solo home run.
The Baysox struck again in the top of the 3rd, opening the inning with back-to-back singles. A grounder to first erased the second runner and left Baysox on the corners. The runner on first stole second, and when Sanchez’s throw sailed into center field, the runner on third scored on the error. A walk to former Pirate farmhand C Steve Lerud and a single loaded the bases. Pribanic then gave up an RBI single to bring in the lead runner. A double play ended the rally, and Bowie had a 3-1 lead.
Pribanic gave up a single in the 4th, but left that runner on base. The 5th inning began with a double into right field. Lerud followed with an RBI single, to boost Bowie’s lead to 4-1. Another double play helped Pribanic get out of the 5th.
After that, the Curve bullpen shut down the Baysox. Matt McSwain pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief, working around a single in the 6th and another in the 7th. He retired the side in order in the 8th. Noah Krol pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th.
Unfortunately, after scoring in the 2nd inning, the Curve batters were also shut down for most of the rest of the game. 2B Brock Holt had singled and stole second base in the 1st inning, then moved to third base on a throwing error by Lerud. Holt was left standing there on third base when the inning ended. SS Shelby Ford singled in the 5th but was erased in a double play. RF Jose Hernandez also singled in the 5th. CF Starling Marte led off the 6th with a double, and he also doubled in the 8th inning, but both times he was left stranded.
The Curve rallied again in the bottom of the 9th. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Fryer scored on a sacrifice fly. The game ended with a strikeout, before the rally could gain any more momentum.
The West Virginia Power have a scheduled day off on Tuesday…
Bradenton Marauders 9, Lakeland Flying Tigers 0
The Marauders broke a 7-game losing streak by bombarding the Flying Tigers in Lakeland. Bradenton posted 12 hits, led by DH Calvin Anderson, who went 4-for-5 in the game, and missed hitting for the cycle by leaving out the triple. 2B Jarek Cunningham also doubled and homered, while 1B Aaron Baker contributed 2 hits.
The game began with the Marauders blasting off for 5 runs in the top of the 1st. They batted around, beginning with a single by RF Robbie Grossman, a walk to C Ramon Cabrera, and a single by Baker to score Grossman. 3B Elevys Gonzalez doubled to bring in both Cabrera and Baker. Elevys Gonzalez scored on Anderson’s double, and Anderson scored on LF Adalberto Santos‘ RBI single.
The hits and runs kept coming for the Marauders. They did not score in the 2nd inning, though Cunningham doubled. He was out when Cabrera lined out to the Tigers’ shortstop, who stepped on the second base bag to double off Cunningham. Baker led off the 3rd with a ground-rule double. He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on Anderson’s RBI single. Cunningham added 2 more runs in the 4th with a 2-run homer after Grossman had walked. Anderson’s solo homer came in the 5th, and by then the Marauders were leading 9-0.
Brett Lorin was the recpient of all that run support, earning his second win of the season. He pitched 6 shutout innings and struck out 6 batters, while scattering just 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Both the hit batter and the walk came in the 2nd inning, but Lorin got a fly out to end the inning. Lorin allowed a single in the 5th and a double in the 6th.
The Marauders went down in order for the first time in the 6th. They loaded the bases in the 7th on a walk to Baker, and singles by CF Evan Chambers and Anderson, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning with the bases loaded. Grossman was the only Bradenton batter to reach base in the final two innings, when he walked in the 8th.
Eliecer Navarro relieved Lorin to begin the 7th inning. He retired the side in the 7th, and worked around a runner who had reached base on his own missed catch error (on a grounder towards first base) in the 8th. Navarro also retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 9th. Jason Erickson finished the game by grounding out the only batter he faced.