Thursday’s action with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates….
Altoona Curve� 6,� Akron Aeros� 1 (box)
Starter Tony Watson dominated the Aeros with 6 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits, no walks, while striking out 3 batters.� Watson retired the first 13 batters he faced, before allowing a single with one out in the 5th.� The second hit, also a single, also came in the 5th, but both runners were left on base.� After retiring the side in order, with 2 strikeouts, in the 6th, Watson was relieved by Ramon Aguero.
The Curve also went down in order in the first three innings.� With one out in the 4th, 3B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch, then stole second and third bases.� He scored on 1B Matt Hague’s single.� SS Jordy Mercer reached on a throwing error by the Aeros pitcher.� C Hector Gimenez singled, driving in Hague.� A balk moved Mercer up to third base and Gimenez to second, then RF Miles Durham walked to load the bases.� DH Yung Chi Chen’s line drive into left field plated both Mercer and Gimenez to give the Curve a 4-0 lead.
Aguero gave up 2 singles in the 7th but kept the Aeros from scoring.� Then in the 8th, two singles were combined with a walk, to bring in a run.� Anthony Claggett pitched the 9th inning, and gave up a walk and a single, but left the runners stranded.
2B Chase d’Arnaud singled and stole second base (his 23rd of the season) in the 5th, then he doubled in the 7th.� The Curve added two runs in the 8th.� LF Andrew Lambo led off with a single and Hague walked.� Mercer dropped down a sacrifice bunt toward third base, and a throwing error by the Aeros’ third baseman allowed Lambo to score, and put Curve runners on first and third.� After two outs, Chen again brought in a run when Hague scored on his RBI single.
Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:
Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)
The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.
Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.
Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.
The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.
That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.
Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.
Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.
Looking in on the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Tuesday… the State College Spikes have a scheduled day off.
Hagerstown Suns� 5,� West Virginia Power� 4 (box)
A single, a double, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th gave the Suns the extra-inning win over the Power this afternoon.� The Power were held to 6 hits and scored all 4 of their runs in one inning, the 5th.� 3B Jesus Brito led off the inning with a single, and CF Evan Chambers was hit by a pitch.� Both scored on DH Jose Hernandez’s line drive double into center field.� 1B Aaron Baker brought in Hernandez with his 16th home run of the season, and the Power had their 4 runs.
Baker was the only Power batter who had more than one run in the game.� Besides the home run, he also singled in the 4th, but was forced out at second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was left on base. LF Rogelios Noris doubled to lead off the 6th.� Both RF David Rubinstein and� Noris were hit by pitches (back-to-back) in the 2nd inning.� Both C Ramon Cabrera and Chambers reached base two throwing errors in the 9th.� All four of them were left on base.
Jason Erickson pitched into the 7th inning for the Power, but he did not figure into the decision.� He gave up a run in the 3rd inning on a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single.� LF Noris prevented another run from scoring on a single, when he made a perfect throw in from left field to the plate, with Cabrera making the tag at the plate. Erickson gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, then gave up a solo home run in the 6th inning.
The Suns tied the score in the 7th inning.� With two outs, Erickson gave up a bunt single, a stolen base, and a walk.� Justin Ennis relieved Erickson, but the first batter he faced doubled into left field, scoring both base runners, to tie the game at 4-4.� Ennis gave up a single and a walk in the 8th, but did not let either runner score.� Zach Foster took over for the 9th, and retired the side in order then, but he suffered the loss when he gave up the run in the 10th.� The Power had two base runners on in the 8th (two errors) but they did not score either.
Monday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues… the Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.
Altoona Curve� 11,� Erie SeaWolves� 2 (box)
RF Miles Durham’s grand slam ignited a 9-run 8th inning to lift the Curve over the SeaWolves in the series opener.� Both teams put runners on base in the first four innings, but none of those runners scored.� The Curve got the scoring started in the 5th, when LF Brandon Jones led off with a single and DH Yung Chi Chen brought him across the plate with a double into center field.� CF Anthony Norman singled to score Chen from second base, and the Curve were ahead, 2-0.� The SeaWolves tied the game in the bottom of the 9th.� Curve starter Jeff Locke had allowed two doubles over the first 5 innings and had struck out 9 batters.� With two outs in the 6th, Locke gave up three singles and hit a batter, which gave Erie two runs.
Then came the 8th.� Norman led off with a double, and he scored the go-ahead run on singles by SS Chase d’Arnaud and 1B Matt Hague. A new pitcher, Luis Marte, came in from the bullpen for Erie.� 2B Jordy Mercer was the first batter Marte faced, and Mercer bunted the runners up one base.� C Kris Watts was intentionally walked, then Durham rocketed a grand slam over the left field wall, to give the Curve a 7-2 lead.� Jones followed the home run with a single, and Chen followed that with a 2-run homer, bumping the Curve to 9-2.� The next batter, 3B Josh Harrison, was hit by a pitch, which caused the ejection of Luis Marte and his manager.� The next pitcher got a ground out, then walked d’Arnaud.� A wild pitch put both Harrison and d’Arnaud into scoring position.� Hague grounded to the mound, but a throwing error by the pitcher brought in both Harrison and d’Arnaud, to make it 11-2.� A ground out ended the inning.
Ramon Aguero pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Curve, with a walk and a double.� Mike Colla pitched the 9th, and gave up only a single.
Trenton Thunder� 8,� Altoona Curve� 3 (box)
The Curve stretched their losing streak to 5 games tonight while reliever Mike Colla struggled in his AA debut.� Derek Hankins made the start for the Curve, but didn’t get out of the 4th inning.� He gave up a run in the 1st on a hit batter, a stolen base, a ground out, and an RBI single.� A fielding error and a double gave Trenton a second run in the 3rd inning, and a single and a double added run #3 in the 4th.� Colla relieved Hankins and got a strikeout to end that inning, but a solo homer, a double, two singles, and a passed ball gave Trenton 3 more runs in the 5th.� Colla came back out to begin the 6th, but that inning went no better.� A single, a walk, and a hit batter loaded the bases, and a single drove in two runs.
The Curve batters were also getting on base, in every inning but the 6th and 7th, but they were not coming around to score as often as the Thunder were.� They got onto the scoreboard in the 4th, when 3B Josh Harrison singled and stole second, then moved to third on a wild pitch.� 2B Jordy Mercer’s single brought Harrison in to score, but Mercer was erased on a double play.� They came up with 2 more runs in the bottom of the 8th, when RF Miles Durham led off with a single.� SS Chase d’Arnaud walked, and Harrison plated both of them with a double into center field.
Harrison, Mercer, and Durham had 2 hits each, and C Hector Gimenez and LF Anthony Norman each had one hit.� Hankins was charged with the loss, his 2nd of the season.� Reliever Mike Dubee relieved Colla to finish the 6th with a double play.� Dubee gave up a single to lead off the 7th, but the runner was thrown out by Miles Durham when he tried to stretch it into a double.� Dubee had a batter reach on a fielding error by Mercer in the 8th, and he walked a batter in the 9th, but both of those runners were also erased with double plays.