Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston. The GCL Pirates have the day off.
Greensboro Grasshoppers 10, West Virginia Power 2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon. Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single. Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th. Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order. In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single. There were three stolen bases in that inning. Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored. Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single. The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.
The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings. Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. 1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base. SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off. Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate. DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.
Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single. The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th. With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked. White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score. Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.
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.
The Pirates have optioned SS Pedro Ciriaco to AAA Indianapolis. This opens a roster spot for OF Alex Presley, who will be officially called up on Tuesday (the Pirates have a day off on Monday). UPDATE: Presley has officially been called up, and will join the Pirates in Toronto.
Also promoted: pitcher Rinku Singh has been promoted from the GCL Pirates to State College. Singh has pitched a total of 15 innings so far this season. Eleven of those came on 3 appaearances with the DSL team. He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts in the Dominican. In one appearance last week with the GCL Pirates, Singh pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out 5 batters. Singh pitched in one game for the Spikes at the end of the 2010 season. He went 2 innings in that game, and gave up only one hit, with one strikeout.
Monday’s game action:
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Phillies 0…. for 1.5 innings
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3B Pedro Alvarez made his first official rehab start this afternoon. It didn’t last long, though that had nothing to do with him: the game was suspended due to rain after just 1.5 innings. Alvarez was the Pirates’ lead-off batter. He got one trip to the plate, in which he grounded out to second base. CF Willy Garcia was the only batter on either team to reach base, when he blasted a solo homer in the top of the 2nd. Pirates’ starter Luis Heredia pitched to just 3 batters in the bottom of the first — two strikeouts and a pop out to C Joey Schoenfeld.
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.
Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park. The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday.
Altoona Curve 4, Harrisburg Senators 1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win. Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He scored on Norman’s single. The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run. With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field. When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score. Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.
With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single. Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base. C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.
Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings. He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th. He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning. Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning. He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th. A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run. Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score. Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save.