Wins all around for the rest of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:
Altoona Curve 10, Erie Seawolves 7
Three home runs and a 4-run 2nd inning sparked the Curve to their second win of the season on Sunday afternoon. The scoring got started in the top of the 1st, when 2B opened the game with a single, moved to third on CF Starling Marte’s double, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI ground out. The Curve made it 5-1 with 4 more runs in the 2nd. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, but was forced out at second on RF Jose Hernandez’s grounder, though they avoided the double play. Holt singled, then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position. Hernandez scored on Marte’s RBI ground out, Mercer drove in Holt with a double, and C Tony Sanchez followed with his first homer of the season, driving in Mercer as well.
The Curve tacked on another run in each of the next two innings. 3B Jeremy Farrell reached base on a throwing error in the 3rd, and scored on Hernandez’s double. Marte led off the 4th with a solo home run. They took a break for two innings, then Farrell added his 2-run homer in the 7th, bringing in Sanchez, who had singled. Altoona’s final run came in the top of the 9th, with a two-out double by LF Quincy Latimore, an intentional walk by Farrell, and an RBI single by Fryer.
Holt had 3 hits in the game, raising his average to .400. Marte (.375), Sanchez (.300), and Farrell (.313) each had 2 hits.
Jared Hughes made the start for the Curve. He pitched 4 innings, and allowed 3 runs. A double and a single gave Erie one run in the 2nd inning, then a walk, a double, and two ground outs scored two runs in the 3rd. Mike Colla relieved Hughes to begin the 5th. A hit batter and a triple gave the Sea Wolves one run in the 6th, but Colla kept Erie from scoring in his other two innings. Anthony Claggett pitched the 8th inning and gave up two home runs — a solo homer to open the inning, then a 2-run homer after a single. Noah Krol took the 9th, and loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a game-ending double play. Colla earned the win, and Krol earned the Save.
It’s like they said in the movie “Bull Durham”: some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains. Again on Saturday, the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates experienced all three.
It rained again in West Virginia. The Power and the Savannah Sand Gnats will try for a double header again on Sunday. As best as I can tell, Friday’s game has been “cancelled” and won’t be made up.
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 2
The Curve finally put one in the win column, as they out-hit the SeaWolves 14 – 3 on Saturday afternoon. All but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit, and while C Eric Fryer didn’t smack a hit, he contributed two walks and scored a run. CF Starling Marte, who had been hitless in the Curve’s first two games, led the onslaught with 4 hits — 3 singles and a double. 2B Brock Holt, DH Kris Watts, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had two hits, and Holt and Farrell each drove in two runs.
Erie scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 1st, on an infield single by the first batter of the game, followed by a bunt and a balk by starter Aaron Thompson, and an RBI ground out. Thompson settled in after that, and did not allow another run nor another hit. He walked one and struck out two in his 6 innings of work.
The Curve tied the game in the 3rd inning. Fryer walked, then came around to score on a wild pitch. They took the lead in the 6th, when Marte doubled. SS Jordy Mercer singled, driving in Marte. Watts also singled, and he scored moments later when Farrell singled. RF Brad Chalk added another run in the 7th — he tripled, then came across the plate on Holt’s RBI single. The Curve rallied again in the 8th, for two more insurance runs. Watts started with his second single. Farrell brought him home with a double, and Holt followed up with an RBI single to plate Farrell.
Reliever Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 7th inning and began the 8th, allowing a single. Michael Dubee took over for Leach, but the runner scored on an RBI single. Dubee also pitched a perfect 9th, earning his first save. Thompson earned the win.
A win, a loss, and a rainout in the rest of the Pirates’ minor league organization on Friday evening. The rainout was in West Virginia, where the Power were getting soggy. They will play a double header on Saturday.
Bradenton Marauders 13, Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
And a shutout win, at that. The Marauders blasted 13 runs on 13 hits, while the pitching staff held Charlotte scoreless on 6 hits. The scoring began in the bottom of the 1st, when CF Evan Chambers walked and rehabbing major league catcher Chris Snyder homered over the left field wall. LF David Rubinstein got the fun started in the 2nd inning with a line drive single into right field. A single by 1B Cole White and a walk to SS Benji Gonzalez loaded the bases, then another walk to RF Robbie Grossman forced in Rubinstein. 2B Jarek Cunningham drove in White and Gonzalez with a double, and Grossman scored on Chambers’ sacrifice fly. Snyder added a single, to drive in Cunningham with the 5th run of the inning. Walks to DH Calvin Anderson and Rubinstein loaded the bases again, but a ground out ended the rally.
Rubinstein also began the Marauders’ rally in the 5th. Three consecutive singles, by Rubinstein, White, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases without an out. Benji Gonzalez’s ground out brought in Rubinstein, and a single by Grossman plated both White and Elevys Gonzalez. A walk to Cunningham and a single by Chambers loaded the bases again. That set up Snyder, who cleared the bases with a double into deep center field, and gave the Marauders 6 runs in that inning, for a 13-run lead. Rubinstein’s third single plus walks to both Gonzalez-es loaded the bases again in the 8th, but a strikeout ended that inning with all three still on base.
The Marauders’ pitching staff was having as much fun as the hitters. Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, pitched the first inning, and retired the side in order on three ground outs. After Beimel’s inning, Matt McSwain came on to pitch. He allowed only one single in his first 3 innings, and retired that runner with a double play. He allowed two singles to lead off the 5th inning, but another double play got him out of that small jam. McSwain finished his outing with 5 scoreless innings, three hits, no walks, and no strikeouts, earning the win. Jeff Inman pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits, and Gabriel Alvarado also allowed a hit and a walk in the final inning.
All of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost their season openers on Thursday night:
Erie SeaWolves 3, Altoona Curve 2
One run in the bottom of the 9th made the difference, as the Curve lost in Erie, PA. The SeaWolves were first onto the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the 5th inning. Curve starter Bryan Morris had already escaped from two jams in the early innings. In the 2nd, RF Brad Chalk threw out a runner who was trying to stretch a double into a triple, then Chalk ended the inning when he threw to C Tony Sanchez to nail a runner who was trying to score from second base on a single. Morris loaded the bases in the 4th with a single and two walks, but a timely double play, 3B Jeremy Farrell to 2B Brock Holt, to 1B Miles Durham, ended that inning without a run scoring. Morris’ luck ran out in the 5th, though, when a walk and a 2-run homer gave Erie a 2-0 lead.
The Curve missed a scoring opportunity in the top of the 2nd, when Sanchez singled into left field, and LF Quincy Latimore lined a double just out of the reach of the Erie left fielder. But with runners on second and third, Erie starter Jacob Turner struck out both Farrell and DH Eric Fryer to end the inning. Turner allowed only two base runners for the next 4 innings — he walked Holt, and he hit Sanchez with a pitch. (Sanchez has got to stop being a magnet for opposing pitchers’ pitches.) After Turner left the game, the Curve were able to put men on base again. Farrell singled and Fryer walked in the 7th, though they didn’t score. The 8th inning began with back-to-back walks to Holt and CF Starling Marte. SS Jordy Mercer bunted them over to second and third, then another walk to Sanchez loaded the bases. Latimore came through again, with another double off the left field wall, missing a grand slam by inches, to plate both Holt and Marte and tie the game at 2-2.
Reliever Anthony Claggett finished the 5th inning for Morris with a strikeout and a pickoff of one of the runners Morris had put on base. Aaron Pribanic and Jared Hughes each pitched a perfect inning, with one strikeout for Pribanic and two for Hughes. Michael Dubee struck out the side in the 8th inning to preserve the tie. The Curve batters could not get anything going in the top of the 9th, though, and Dubee came back out to pitch the bottom of the 9th. With one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner in scoring position, and a ground out moved him to third base. Then a sinking line drive, just inches away from the diving Latimore’s glove, fell in for a hit, scoring the runner from third base for the walk-off win.
Dubee was charged with the loss. Morris got a no-decision, with 2 runs on 4 hits and 5 walks, plus 3 strikeouts, in 4.1 innings. The Curve had just 4 hits, two of them doubles by Latimore.
Indianapolis Indians 7, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 2
The Indians had both the pitching and the hitting tuned up this afternoon as they defeated the Yankees at Bradenton. SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Josh Harrison, and C Eric Fryer each drove in two runs. The scoring started when Harrison tripled in the 3rd inning, when 3 runs came in. Mercer blasted a solo homer, then Fryer’s 2-run double was the gem of the 8th inning, as 3 more runs scored. Starter Justin Wilson pitched 3 scoreless innings, with 4 strikeouts, to earn the win. The Yankees scored their 2 runs in the 5th, with reliever Jared Hughes on the mound. Hughes pitched 2 innings and also struck out 3 batters. Tony Watson pitched 2 scoreless innings (3 K), and Anthony Claggett (2 K) and Ramon Aguero each pitched a scoreless frame.
Pirates 7, Red Sox 5
A 5-run 4th inning put the Pirates well on their way to a win this afternoon at Bradenton. The rally began when 2B Neil Walker reached base on a fielding error and CF Andrew McCutchen walked. 1B Lyle Overbay lifted a double into left field, which brought in both Walker and McCutchen. 3B Pedro Alvarez grounded to third, where Overbay was out, leaving Alvarez on first. RF Matt Diaz lined a single up the middle, and C Dusty Brown loaded the bases on an infield grounder that bounced off Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett. With two outs, Pirates’ starter Kevin Correia slipped a grounder into left field, driving in Alvarez and Diaz. When the throw in to the plate was not in time to get Diaz, the Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia tried to throw back to third to surprise Brown. The real surprise was when Saltalamacchia’s throw sailed into left field, allowing Brown to score and Correia to move up to third. LF John Bowker gave the Pirates 2 more insurance runs with a homer in the 7th inning. Correia also singled in the 3rd inning but was out in a force play at second.
2B Pedro Ciriaco doubled after Bowker’s homer in the 7th. CF Corey Wimberly, RF Josh Fields, and SS Josh Rodriguez got into the game. Steve Pearce played a few innings at third base as well.
Correia pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up two singles in the top of the 1st and one in the 2nd, but double plays got him out of both innings. He zipped through the 3rd and 4th innings, then gave up 3 runs in the 5th. A walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in the first run. Two more singles added a second run, then a throwing error by Walker at second and a sacrifice fly added an unearned run. Joel Hanrahan pitched a scoreless 6th, with 2 strikeouts. Then Justin Thomas allowed a run to score in the 7th on a run, a double, and a wild pitch. Fernando Nieve pitched the final two innings and earned the save even though he gave up a run on a double, a walk, and a single in the 9th.