Catching up with the action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates for Thursday…. several home runs
Trenton Thunder 8 , Altoona Curve 6
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A 3-run homer by CF Starling Marte and a solo blast by SS Josh Rodriguez were not enough to get past the Thunder.
The Curve got the game started with a run in the top of the 1st on singles by RF Andrew Lambo and C Tony Sanchez, plus a fielding error by the Trenton center fielder, allowing Lambo to score. Trenton came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, two singles, and two doubles, for a 4-1 lead. The Curve took the lead back in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Matt Curry and 3B Greg Picart both singled, and Marte drove them in with his 5th home run of the season. That tied the game, but the tie did not last long. Five singles in the bottom of the 2nd brought in 3 runs for the Thunder, who were back on top, 7-4.
Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up a single in the 3rd, then gave up an unearned run in the 4th on a fielding error by Picart, a single, scoring on a double play. That made Pribanic responsible for 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work. Matt McSwain took over to begin the 6th. He gave up a single in the 6th, but erased that runner with a double play, and then gave up a double and a walk in the 7th, but left those runners on base. Anthony Claggett pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single. That runner moved up to second base on a throwing error by Rodriguez, but was out in a fielder’s choice run-down between second and third.
Rodriguez led off the Curve part of the 6th with his solo homer. LF Quincy Latimore followed the homer with a walk, and Curry singled, moving Latimore to third. Curry was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Picart’s single drove in Latimore to give the Curve their final run.
Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.
3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison. Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh. Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis. INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.
Bradenton Marauders 8, St. Lucie Mets 1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton. Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders. He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way. Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.
Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record). The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double. Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings. He hit another batter and he struck out 5.
The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th. Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third. DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases. CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos. LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again. After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.
Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning. Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning. Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.
The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring. Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field. Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.
The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract. He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College. Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.
Friday’s game action:
Harrisburg Senators 2, Altoona Curve 0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel. Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings. The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings. He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings. Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single. That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.
But the Curve weren’t scoring either. They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer. Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base. RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice. CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout. 1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second. 2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.
Two Pirates’ minor leaguers have been chosen to play in the MLB Futures game, which is held during the All-Star festivities. OF Starling Marte will be on the World team, and INF Chase d’Arnaud was named to the USA team — though that might change if d’Arnaud is indeed called up to Pittsburgh.
The State College Spikes’ game against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed due to rain. They will go for two on Friday night, beginning at 6:05 pm.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Altoona Curve 0
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This shortened game was a pitching duel, with the two teams combining for just 7 hits. Kyle McPherson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits. Two of those hits were solo homers, both coming in the 4th inning, and that accounted for all of the Fisher Cats’ scoring. The only other ‘Cats’ hit was a single to lead off the 1st inning, and that runner was picked off base. McPherson walked two batters, one in the 1st, and former Indy Indian Craig Stansberry in the 5th. Stansberry was caught stealing second base. Anthony Claggett pitched the bottom of the 6th, walking one and hitting one batter with a pitch.
The Curve batters collected 4 hits. CF Starling Marte led off the top of the 1st with a double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve. SS Jordy Mercer singled, and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But new Curve player RF Andrew Lambo lined right to the ‘Cats’ first baseman, who doubled off Sanchez for a double play. The other 2 hits happened in the 4th. Sanchez led off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing. 3B Jeremy Farrell also singled, but was left on base. There were only 2 more base runners for the Curve for the rest of the game — Sanchez walked in the 6th and 1B Matt Curry walked in the 7th, and both were left on base.
This was scheduled to be Game 1 of a double-header, and so was scheduled for 7 innings. But this game was also interrupted by rain, and the second game was washed out. The Curve move on to Harrisburg to begin a series tomorrow. They will play New Hampshire again in mid-August, and will have to do the make-up then.
Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break. The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain. They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week. Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI. He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week. Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch (32nd round). Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College. The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.
Bradenton Marauders 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter. Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd. He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play. The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.
The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field. After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score. Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. 3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.
The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th. With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base. Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score. Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.
Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning. The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base. Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown. Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run. The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4. Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win. Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.