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.
Continuing through the Pirates’ minor league pitching ranks:
Gabriel Alvarado – R/R, 6′ 2″, 175 lb
Alvarado is a Venezuelan native who made his US debut in 2008 after two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League. He moved up to West Virginia for 2009, where he pitched mostly as a starter, with an additional 4 relief appearances. He earned a 6-10 record and a 5.05 ERA, and in 114 innings, he allowed 135 hits, 64 runs, and 33 walks (2.6 walks/ 9 innings), with 96 strikeouts (7.6 K/ 9 innings). Alvarado returned to West Virginia for 2010, but this time made just 4 starts and the rest of the time pitched in relief. He earned a 3-5 record, with 5 saves and a 4.21 ERA. He threw 83.1 innings, and allowed 86 hits, 39 earned runs, and 26 walks (2.8 walks/ 9 innings), with 60 strikeouts (6.5 K/ 9 innings, a bit down from the previous season). Alvarado is going to turn 24 years old in May. He did not shown a lot of progress last season, but he now has two seasons of A-level experience. With the crowd that is going to be looking for a spot in the West Virginia bullpen, Alvarado will probably begin the season at A+ Bradenton, due to that experience. He’ll need to get going and get the strikeouts up.
Maurice Bankston — R/R, 6′ 4″, 205 lb
Bankston was the Pirates’ 8th round pick in the 2007 draft. He pitched for the GCL Pirates in 2007 and at State College in 2008, then moved up to West Virginia to begin the 2009 season. He struggled in 9 starts there (1-4 and 4.98 ERA, and 48 hits in 43.1 innings), and was moved back to State College later in the season. He made another 9 starts for the Spikes with better results: 2-4, 2.34 ERA, and 54 hits in 50 innings. He struck out 25 batters at both levels. Bankston returned to West Virginia for the 2010 season, but made just 2 starts, and like Alvarado, was moved to the bullpen. He began the season well, with a 2.93 ERA in 6 relief appearances and 13 hits in 15.1 innings in April. He slipped to a 4.41 ERA in 6 relief appearances and one start in June, with 16 hits in 18.1 innings. June was a horrible month for Bankston, with an exploding ERA over 11, and 31 hits in 17.1 innings. He settled back down for the rest of the season, as he earned a 3.29 ERA in July and finished the season with a 1.32 ERA for August. Bankston finished the season with a 4.68 ERA and a 7-4 record with 3 saves. In 82.2 innings, he allowed 43 earned runs and 85 hits. He walked 29 batters (3.2 walks/ 9 innings), and struck out 58 batters (6.3 K/ 9 innings). Bankston is in a similar position to Alvarado — he’ll turn 24 in the middle of the 2011 season, and despite not having made a lot of progress in the past couple of seasons, he will likely begin the 2011 season in Bradenton’s bullpen.
Just one game in the Mexican Pacific League last night:
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 19, Aguilas de Mexicali 1 — Los Naranjeros did it all on 16 hits, including 2 from former Pirate Humberto Cota, who was playing first base.� Hermosillo scored 11 runs in the 5th inning. They sent 15 batters to the plate, and had 6 singles and 5 walks.� There was one wild pitch and only 2 of Mexicali’s errors occurred in that inning.
VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:
Navegantes del Magallanes� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0 — 3B Andy LaRoche had one of Los Bravos 5 hits, and that was a double off fellow Pirate Corey Hamman, who pitched the bottom of the 9th for Los Navegantes.� After a two-out walk in the bottom of the 1st, the next 15 Margarita batters went down in order.� The closest they came to scoring was in the 6th when they loaded the bases on a single, a double, and a walk, but could not score.� LaRoche reached as far as third base in the 9th, when Hamman also gave up a single, but LaRoche was left on base when Hamman ended the inning and the game with a ground out.� Los Navegantes scored one run in the top of the 1st on former Pirate LF Mike Ryan’s RBI single.� Ryan also singled in the 2nd, when Magallanes added another 3 runs.� A solo homer gave them another run in the 3rd, and they scored again in the 7th.� Pirate farmhand Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 8th inning for Margarita, and he struck out three Navegantes in order.� Ramos was followed by former Pirate farmhand RHP Yoffri Martinez, who was a little wild (two walks and two wild pitches) but did not give up a hit or a run in the top of the 9th.
Tigres de Aragua� 9,� Caribes de Anzoategui� 2 — Brian Bass struck out 8 batters in 3.2 innings for Los Tigres and allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk.� He worked around the lead-off walk in the 1st, and a single in the 2nd, then two singles in the 3rd, while striking out two batters in each of those innings.� He gave up another single and struck out two more in the 4th before being relieved.� DH Raul Chavez singled in Aragua’s 3-run 3rd inning.� He singled again, and 1B Hector Gimenez walked and scored in the 3-run 6th inning.� Gimenez also singled and scored in the 2-run 7th inning, and Los Tigres scored again in the 8th.� Former Pirate farmhand C Miguel Perez was 0-for-3 at the plate for Aragua.� Gabriel Alvarado pitched to three batters for Los Caribes in that 6th inning.� He gave up a single (which drove in Gimenez), then threw a wild pitch on strike three, which let another run came in, then got the ground out that ended the inning.� Adenson Chourio had a pinch-hit appearance in the top of the 9th.� He grounded into a force out, but was safe at first, then he stole second base.
The Arizona Fall League begins play today, with seven Pirates’ farmhands on the roster for the Mesa Solar Sox.� Players from the Los Angeles Angels, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, and the New York Mets will round out the Solar Sox’ roster. � Pitchers Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic, and Justin Wilson are all participating, and all are expected to pitch in relief, as other pitchers have the priority for starting roles.� Team USA’s Justin De Fratus (Phillies) is also on the roster, so he must be planning to join the Solar Sox later in the week after the Pan Am tournament wraps up.
Behind the plate, look for C Tony Sanchez, who is trying to make up time after missing much of the regular season due to a fractured jaw.� Sanchez has also been asked by MLB to keep a blog of his experiences in the Arizona Fall League.� (He hasn’t started it yet — stay tuned.)� Phillies’ pitcher Josh Zeid and Angels pitcher Ryan Brasier, both slated as starters for the Solar Sox, have also been asked to write blogs.
Altoona infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will be sharing some infield time with six other infielders, including Josh Vitters of the Cubs.� Their Curve teammate Andrew Lambo will be sharing outfield duties with four other outfielders, including Phillies’ John Mayberry.
Mexican Pacific League
Los Venados de Mazatlan is the hometown team of OF Rogelios Noris. He got in a little playing time last year as a rookie, and was a bit of a surprise, with some home runs and some very good pinch-hit appearances. The 21-year-old hit .236 with the West Virginia Power during the 2010 season.
Also listed on one Mazatlan roster (but not all) is LHP Jovany Lopez. Lopez is a 19 year old from Los Mochis, who has spent two seasons with the Pirates Venezuelan Summer League team.� This season, he made 18 relief appearances (27.2 innings) and had a 5-0 record with a 3.90 ERA.� He gave up 30 hits and 12 earned runs, but allowed only 5 walks and struck out 21.
Three former Pirates are also playing in the Mexican Pacific League:� Inf/Of Yurendell de Caster is with Los Algodoneros de Guasave, C Humberto Cota is on the roster of Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo, and OF Jeff Salazar will be in center field for Los Yaquis de Obregon.
Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ….������ (box)
Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.
The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.
It didn’t last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators’ pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder’s choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter — and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.
Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D’Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg’s reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.
Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings — he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison’s glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison’s glove.
Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison’s throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.