Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games.  Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings.  The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings.  The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base.  Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.  He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.  

The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings.  They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk.  He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down.  Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning.  Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play.  Farrell scored on the error.  CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.  

Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th.  He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single.  An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run.  Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.  

Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.  

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Heredia’s Debut, SAL All-Star Game; 3 Homers In One Inning For The Marauders

Tuesday’s action:

The Pirates have signed their 4th round draft pick, Colten Brewer.  Brewer is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of high school in Canton.  He will likely report to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career.   All of the Pirates’ draft picks, and the ones who have signed, are listed here.  

GCL Pirates  10,  GCL Blue Jays  7
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Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia made his pro debut this afternoon, with a start for the GCL Pirates.  Heredia made a good showing.  He had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Alen Hanson in the 1st, but he retired the other three batters in that inning.  He gave up a walk in the 2nd, but again retired the other three batters he faced.  Heredia had some trouble in the 3rd, when he allowed 2 runs.  He began the inning with two ground outs, then hit a batter with a pitch.  That runner stole both second and third bases, then Heredia walked the next two batters to load the bases.  A single lined into left field brought in two runs.  Heredia was relieved by Robert Kilcrease, who finished the inning with a ground out.

Kilcrease gave up another 2 runs in the 4th.  Back-to-back singles with one out and a walk loaded the bases with Jays.  A sacrifice fly brought in one run, then an RBI single brought in the second, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead. 

The Pirates were relatively quiet over the first 3 innings, but they broke out in the bottom of the 4th.  With one out, 3B Yhonathan Barrios beat out a bunt for a hit, then moved to second and on to third on two wild pitches.  He scored on LF Jose Osuna’s RBI single.  1B Jared Lakind walked, then DH Jon Schwind doubled in Osuna.  C Joey Schoenfeld tapped back to the mound, where the Jays’ pitcher tried for a fielder’s choice — but failed, allowing Lakind to score, and leaving Pirate runners on the corners.  Hansen’s 3-run homer brought in Schwind and Schoenfeld, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead.  

The Blue Jays also homered in the top of the 5th, but it was a solo shot off Pirates’ reliever Diomedes Mateo.  In the bottom of the 5th, RF Gregory Polanco walked and stole second base, then scored on Barrios’ triple lined into right field.   Pirates ahead, 7-5.  Mateo also gave up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th.  A single, a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases.  A fielding error by Barrios allowed both runners to cross the plate, tying the score at 7-7.  

The Pirates went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings.  Mateo gave up a single in the top of the 7th, but erased that runner with a double play.  He also allowed a walk in the 7th, and a single in the 8th.  Then the Pirates broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th.  Osuna walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Junior Sosa.  Lakind’s sacrifice bunt put Sosa on second, but Lakind was also safe at first.  Schwind also bunted, and was safe at first to load the bases.  Schoenfeld’s single brought in Sosa, then Hanson’s double lined into left scored both Lakind and Schwind.  That gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead.  2B Jodaneli Carvajal was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again for the Pirates.  Schoenfeld tried for the steal of home but didn’t make it, and that was the first out of the inning.  A strikeout and a ground out ended the frame, but the Pirates had the lead.  

Joe Parsons relieved Mateo on the mound to begin the top of the 9th.  He loaded the bases with two outs, on a hit batter, a walk, and a single.  Parsons got a pop out to end the game, and the Pirates had the win.  

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Homers By Anderson And Chambers Not Enough; Castro’s US Debut

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….

Greensboro Grasshoppers  5,  West Virginia Power  0
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The Power were held to just one hit — a single by CF Mel Rojas, which came in the 5th inning.  The only other Power base runner was SS Drew Maggi, who walked to lead off the 4th, but was quickly picked off first base.  After Rojas’ two-out single in the 5th, the remaining 13 batters were retired in order.  It took three Grasshopper pitchers to do it, and their starter, Kyle Winters, pitched 7 one-hit innings, with 7 strikeouts, including striking out the side in his final inning.  

Greensboro did all the damage they needed in the bottom of the 1st.  A pair of doubles started the inning, and after a fly out, a 2-run homer gave the ‘Hoppers a 3-0 lead.  Tyler Waldron had only one batter reach base in the next two innings, and that was on a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris in the 3rd.  That runner was erased with an inning-ending double play.  Waldron gave up 2 more runs in the 4th.  Two singles and a wild pitch put two runners into scoring position.  A sacrifice fly and an RBI single drove in the two runs.  

Victor Black relieved Waldron and ptiched a scoreless inning, with two walks and two strikeouts.  Then 19-year old Orlando Castro made his US debut with 3 scoreless innings of work.  The Honduras native gave up a 2-out single in the 6th, and a lead-off single and a walk in the 7th.  The lead-off runner was eliminated in a double play.  Then he retired the side in the bottom of the 8th.  

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McPherson’s AA Debut; Power Win Two

Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

West Virginia Power 6,  Lakewood BlueClaws  1  (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th.  The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out.  They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi.  A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single.  Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single.  DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped.  When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score.  That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.

Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension.  He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning.  Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th.  A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners.  The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored.  Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score.  He also struck out 3 batters.  

The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th.  RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base.  Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate.  Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases.  Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.  

Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power.  He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring.  Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.   

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Curve Held To 3 Hits; Marauders Held To 2 Hits

Saturday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates.

Don’t forget to vote for the All-Star Teams:
Pirates/MLB:  vote here
Indianapolis Indians/International League:  vote here
Altoona Curve/Eastern League:  vote here

Portland Sea Dogs  4,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were held to just 6 base runners — 3 singles and 3 walks, and could not push any of them around to score.  SS Jordy Mercer was the only Curve to reach base in the first 5 innings.  He walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but was out at second base when 1B Matt Curry flied out.  

Starter Mike Colla retired Portland in order in the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run in the 3rd.  He gave up another solo blast in the 4th, and struck out the other three batters in that inning.  In the 5th, a lead-off double and an RBI single gave the Sea Dogs their third run in the 5th.  Portland’s third homer of the game made it 4-0 in the 6th.  Colla left after 6 innings, having allowed 7 hits (3 homers and 4 other hits), one walk, and 6 strikeouts.  He threw 94 pitches, with 58 strikes.  

The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, with a walk by DH Kris Watts and singles by RF Brad Chalk and 2B Brock Holt loading the bases with one out.  But CF Starling Marte bounced into a double play to end the inning.  Mercer singled in the 7th, and he was also erased with a double play.  Chalk walked in the 9th, but was left on base.  

Matt McSwain pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Curve in relief of Colla.  He gave up two singles, but one was eliminated with a double play, and the other was left stranded.  Noah Krol pitched the top of the 9th, allowing a walk and a single.   

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