Indians Shut Out, Nieve Released

Iron Pigs  3,  Indians  0
The Indians’ pitching staff threw 7 solid shut-out innings, but the Iron Pigs rallied for 3 runs in the 8th to take the win.  An RBI double, an Indians’ error, and a sacrifice fly brought in Lehigh Valley’s runs.  Starter Jeff Karstens pitched 4 scoreless innings, scattering 2 hits, no walks, and struck out 4.  Tony Watson followed with 2 scoreless innings, and Ramon Aguero pitched one scoreless frame.  The Tribe posted 5 hits over the first 4 innings, but could not push a run across.  Three Iron Pigs relievers finished the game, and allowed just one hit among the three of them.  

The Pirates had the day off today, and the Indians have the day off on Wednesday.

The Pirates have released pitcher Fernando Nieve.  Nieve had just been reassigned from the big league camp to the minor league camp just yesterday. 

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Indians Top Yankees; Pirates’ Top Red Sox

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.  

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Pirates Fall To Phillies

Phillies  7,   Pirates  4

 3-run rally in the 7th inning was enough to push the Phillies over the Pirates at McKechnie Field this afternoon.  
Starter Kevin Correia had a shaky top of the 1st inning.  The first four batters he faced all singled, bringing in 2 runs.  Then with runners on the corners, Correia buckled down, getting a foul pop out then two strikeouts to end the inning.  The Pirates got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning.  With one out, SS Pedro Ciriaco doubled into left field, and 2B Neil Walker moved him to third base with a line drive single into right.  1B Lyle Overbay also lined into right field, to drive in Ciriaco, though Walker was out when he tried to get from first to third.  DH Matt Diaz also singled, but he and Overbay were left on base at the end of the inning.  
Correia worked around a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the side in order in the 3rd inning.  The Pirates also went down in order in both the 2nd and 3rd.  Diaz tied the score in the 4th, with a walk and a stolen base, then a single by 3B Andy Marte.   
Brian Burres pitched the 4th and 5th innings, allowing only a double.   Fernando Nieve took the mound next.  The first batter he faced was Ryan Howard, who blasted a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.  Nieve gave up a walk and a single after the homer, but left them on base.  The bottom of the inning began with a walk by Walker.  Pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Walker to third.  RF Garrett Jones ground out to first, which let Walker score to tie it up again.  Marte hit the next ground rule double, driving in Sanchez with the go-ahead run.  
Nieve came back out for the top of the 7th, and that’s when he got into even more trouble.  Two singles (one to former Pirate Brandon Moss) and a double tied the score again, at 4-4.  Nieve was relieved by Mike Dubee (whose dad is Phillies’ pitching coach Rich Dubee).  Dubee gave up a ground out to second, which allowed Moss to score from third base.  A single brought in the third run of the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout to end the inning.  Bryan Morris pitched the 8th inning, and gave up the final Phillies’ run with a double, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly.  Daniel Moskos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th to wrap things up.
The Pirates threatened in the bottom of the 7th.  Singles by CF Alex Presley and LF John Bowker and a walk by 2B Corey Wimberly loaded the bases with one out.   All three were left standing there when both 1B Josh Fields and Tony Sanchez struck out.  

C Wyatt Toregas also singled for the Pirates.  SS Chase d’Arnaud, RF Andrew Lambo, and CF Gorkys Hernandez all got into the game as well.   

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Durham And Atkins Both Homer For Pirates

The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):

Orioles  6,  Pirates  4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp.  1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th.  3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning.  LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single    Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.

LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte,  1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.   

Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates.  He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd.  Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th.  He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run.   Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th.  A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners.  Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame.   Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.

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Wins For Ascanio And Ledezma, Loss For Nieve

Looking in on Pirates’ players and friend in Monday’s winter league action:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Leones del Caracas  6,  Cardenales de Lara  5  —  
Two runs in the bottom of the 9th gave Los Leones and Jose Ascanio the win.  Los Cardenales were leading 5-4 in the top of the 8th, when Ascanio came in from the bullpen with one out and a runner on first base.  Ascanio’s catcher picked the runner off first base, recorded as a caught stealing, then Ascanio got a ground out to end the inning.  He gave up a single in the top of the 9th, but kept Los Cardenales from scoring.  Then in the bottom of the 9th, with Ray Sadler coming in to play center field for Lara, Los Leones eked out a single and a walk.  A passed ball on ball four put runners on the corners for Los Leones.  A single into center field drove n the run from third, for the walk-off win.  Ascanio was the pitcher of record, so was credited with his first Venezuelan League win.  

Bravos de Margarita  4,  Caribes de Anzoategui  0  —  LF Jose Tabata went 0-for-3 with a walk for Los Caribes, who recorded 8 hits, but could not push any of their base runners across the plate.  They left a total of 11 runners on base and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.  Los Bravos scored 3 runs in the 5th, on a double, two singles, a walk, and a fielding error.  A solo homer added a fourth run in the 6th.  Jhonathan Ramos came on to pitch for Margarita in the 7th, with two outs.  He loaded the bases with a single and two walks, then was relieved, but due to Los Caribes’ lack of luck, another reliever got Tabata to fly out to end the inning, leaving three runners on base.

Aguilas de Zulia  6,  Navegantes del Magallanes  3  —  Fernando Nieve struggled through 2.2 innings and was eventually charged with the loss for Magallanes.  He gave up a solo homer to the second batter of the game, then gave up two runs in the 2nd on two singles and a double.  Three singles and a double steal brought in two more runs for Zulia in the 3rd, and that was all for Nieve — 5 runs on 8 hits, no walks, with 4 strikeouts.  Two more singles added another run for Los Aguilas in the top of the 7th.  Los Navegantes started their scoring in the bottom of the 7th.  Former Pirate farmhand JR House, who made the jump over from the Dominican League, came into the game as a pinch-runner after a 2-out single.  A walk and an RBI single allowed House to score Magallanes’ first run.  House remained in the game to play first base, and he flied out in the 9th.  A walk, a double, and a fielding error gave Los Navegantes 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th.  

Tigres de Aragua  7,  Tiburones de La Guaira  3  —  Wil Ledezma also earned his first Venezuelan League win with 1.2 hitless and scoreless innings of work.  Los Tigres started scoring in the bottom of the 1st, when SS Ronny Cedeno reached base on a fielding error, then scored on a double.  C Raul Chavez blasted a 2-run homer in the 2nd, to give Aragua a 3-0 lead.  Los Tiburones scored 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on three singles and two walks, then tied the score in the top of the 4th on a double, a bunt, and an RBI ground out.  Ledezma came in from the bullpen in the 4th, and ended the 4th, then retired the side in order in the 5th.  He was still the pitcher of record when Los Tigres scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th.  Chavez walked, and moved to second base on CF Jorge Cortes’ sacrifice bunt.  Cedeno singled, putting runners on the corners, then a sacrifice fly plated Chavez.  A 2-run homer by DH Wilson Ramos brought in Cedeno.  1B Hector Gimenez also doubled after the homer.  Three walks, including one by Gimenez, and a wild pitch gave Los Tigres an insurance run in the 8th.  

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