West Virginia Power 5, Lexington Legends 4
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Jameson Taillon surrendered 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, but he still pulled out his second win of the season. The 4 runs all came in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Legends started the inning with back-to-back doubles, driving in one run. A single and a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris added a second run, then a 2-run homer made the score 4-0.
The Power tied the score in the top of the 4th. RF Dan Grovatt started the rally with a walk, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. DH Kawika Emsley-Pai and C Elias Diaz also walked, loading the bases. With two outs, 2B Andy Vazquez lined a single into center field, bringing in Grovatt and Emsley-Pai, and leaving runners on the corners. Another walk, to 3B Eric Avila, loaded the bases again. Then SS Drew Maggi lined another 2-RBI single into right field, plating Diaz and Vasquez to tie the game at 4-4.
Grovatt began another rally in the 5th, with a single. A passed ball advanced Grovatt to second base, and he moved up to third base on 1B Justin Howard’s ground out. Emsley-Pai drove Grovatt in with a single up the middle, and Grovatt came in with the go-ahead run.
Taillon worked around at least one runner on base in 4 of his 5 innings. He had a batter reach on a throwing error by Avila in the 1st, and he also gave up a single in the bottom of the 1st. Taillon allowed a single and a double in the 3rd, but a double play helped him out of that jam. He also gave up a lead-off single in the 5th, but retired the next three batters on three ground outs.
Casey Sadler relieved Taillon to begin the 6th. Sadler pitched 3 scoreless innings and allowed just one single in the 6th, and a walk in the 8th. He struck out 3 Legends’ batters. Jason Townsend earned his 5th Save of the season with a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.
After taking the lead in the 5th, the Power put at least one runner on base in every inning for the rest of the game. Maggi tripled in the 6th, and Howard singled in the 7th. Noris reached base on a fielding error in the 8th. Both Grovatt and Howard walked in the 9th inning. None of them could push around to score.
Thursday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers…
Altoona Curve 5, Trenton Thunder 1
Starter Jeff Locke struck out 8 Trenton batters in his 5.1 innings of work, while getting plenty of run support — 3 home runs from his offense. The only run Locke surrendered came in the bottom of the 2nd, when Trenton loadd the bases on a walk, a hit batter, and a single. Another walk by Locke forced in the run, then a strikeout and a double play got him out of the inning. Locke allowed only a walk and a double over the next three innings. He began the 6th with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Diego Moreno.
Meanwhile, the Curve were pounding out the hits — a total of 15, including 3 by 2B Brock Holt. Each Curve batter had at least one hit. 1B Matt Curry, who had two hits in the game, began the Curve scoring with a solo home run to lead off the top of the 2nd. Holt led off the 3rd with a line drive single to short, then moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s walk, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.
Back-to-back solo homers by Latimore and Mercer added another 2 runs in the 5th inning. The Curve loaded the bases on three consecutive singles in the 6th — by RF Jose Hernandez, Holt, and CF Brad Chalk, but Latimore struck out to end the inning and leave all three runners on base. The final Curve run scored in the 8th. The inning began with back-to-back singles by DH Travis Scott and 3B Greg Picart. Picart was picked off first and caught stealing, but Scott advanced to third, and he was plated by Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. Holt also tripled in that inning.
Moreno finished the 6th inning for Locke with a strikeout and a pop out. Then he struck out the side in the 7th inning. Michael Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He loaded the bases with a double, a single, and a walk in the 8th, but got out of that jam with a strikeout and a force out. Then he worked around a single for a scoreless 9th.
The Curve played an early game on Wednesday afternoon, with the Marauders and the Power playing in the evening:
Trenton Thunder 7, Altoona Curve 3
A 4-run 6th inning by the Thunder was too much for the Curve to overcome, in an early afternoon game in New Jersey. The Curve posted 11 hits, with Brad Chalk, playing center field today, collecting 3 hits. LF Quincy Latimore, 1B Matt Curry, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had 2 hits each.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. Chalk began the Curve rally with his first single, but was forced out at second on Latimore’s grounder force out at second. A throwing error by the second baseman on the play let Latimore reach second base. SS Jordy Mercer singled into right field, scoring Latimore. Two singles and a grounder force out gave the Thunder a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Latimore also double in the 3rd inning, but didn’t score. Curry began a rally in the top of the 4th when he worked a walk. Farrell singled, pushing Curry to third base, and a passed ball let Farrell move up to second base. DH Tony Sanchez’s RBI ground out scored Curry to give the Curve a 2-1 lead. Trenton tied it up again in the bottom of the 5th, with a single, a throwing error by starter Aaron Thompson, and a sacrifice fly.
Chalk singled again in the 5th, but was out in a force play. The Curve threatened in the top of the 6th. Curry, Farrell, and Sanchez hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. C Kris Watts grounded to first for a fielder’s choice as a throw back to the plate forced Curry out at home. A ground out ended the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Trenton got to Thompson again in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single gave Trenton a 3-2 lead. Matt McSwain relieved Thompson, but the first batter McSwain faced reached base on a fielding error by Curry. The next batter swatted a 3-run homer, giving Trenton a 6-2 lead.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 7th. Chalk and Latimore hit back-to-back line drive singles with one out. Mercer popped up for an infield fly rule out, then Curry’s single through the hole and into left field brought Chalk in to score. That was all the Curve could get, though. Sanchez walked to begin the 8th inning, and was erased on a double play, and the next four Altoona batters went down in order.
McSwain gave up one more run in the bottom of the 7th, on a two-out triple and an RBI single. Thompson was charged with his 5th loss of the season.
The Power had an early game today, while the Curve and the Marauders are scheduled for the evening:
West Virginia Power 3, Hickory Crawdads 2
Three Power pitchers combined to hold Hickory to just 4 hits in the late-morning start. Colton Cain earned his 4th win of the season, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs, only one of which was earned. He gave up 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5 batters. Two of those 3 hits came in the top of the 1st — a lead-off single, then after two outs moved the runner to second base, another single when the batter beat out the throw on a grounder to third base. But Power 1B Justin Howard was paying attention, and he was able to throw from first base back to the plate, where C Elias Diaz tagged out the runner who had rounded third and was trying to score.
Three consecutive hits began the bottom of the 1st for the Power: singles by SS Drew Maggi and CF Mel Rojas, and an RBI double by RF Dan Grovatt, who drove in Maggi. DH Cole White brought in Rojas with an RBI ground out, to give the Power an early 2-1 lead.
Cain retired the side in order in the 2nd, then began the 3rd by giving up a double. A sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third base. The next batter was hit by a pitch, giving Hickory runners on the corners. Then a wild pitch by Cain and a throwing error on Diaz as he tried to retrieve the ball, let both base runners score, to tie the game.
The Power put runners on base over the next two innings, but base running problems eliminated the runners — picked off and caught stealing, and being caught off base on a fly out for a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 5th, and he too was doubled off first base when Maggi flied out. Rojas walked after Maggi was out, then Grovatt doubled for the second time in the game, and also drove in his second run, as Maggi gave the Power the lead.
Cain allowed only 2 walks over his last three innings of work. Vincent Payne made his first appearance for the Power this season, with 2 scoreless innings. He retired the side in order in the 7th, then gave up a walk in the 8th, but that runner was caught stealing. Zac Fuesser pitched the 9th. He gave up a single, but also picked the runner of first base, and was credited with his first Save.
The Power had only two base runners over the last 3 innings, when 3B Eric Avila walked and was erased in a double play, and a single by Grovatt, for his third hit of the game, in the 8th. Grovatt stole second base, but was left on base.
The Pirates and all four of their minor league affiliates lost in Sunday’s play:
Hickory Crawdads 4, West Virginia Power 3
Jameson Taillon pitched well in his 5-inning start this afternoon. He surrendered one run on two hits, with no walks, and he struck out 4 batters. Taillon zipped through the first two innings, retiring the Crawdads in order. He gave up the only run in the 3rd inning, when the first Hickory batter of the inning homered. Taillon set down the next three batters, then gave up a ground-rule double to the first batter in the 4th. He retired three more batters in the 4th, then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. Taillon was on the short end, 1-0 when he left the game.
The Power put one runner on base in each of the first three innings — singles by CF Mel Rojas in the 1st and 3rd, and C Elias Diaz in the 2nd. Each time they were left on base. 2B/CF Andy Vasquez got as far as third base in the 5th inning, with a single, a stolen base, and a throwing error, but he too was left stranded.
Victor Black pitched a scoreless inning for the Power in the 6th, taking over for Taillon. It was only his second appearance this season, and his second scoreless and hitless inning.
Casey Sadler came on to pitch the 7th. He walked the first batter he faced, then got two outs. A single and a hit batter loaded the bases for Hickory. A ground-rule double brought in two runs, to give Hickory a 3-0 lead. The Power tied the score in the bottom of the frame. RF Justin Howard started the rally with a single up the middle. C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Diaz lined a single in to right field, scoring both Howard and Emsley-Pai. 3B Eric Avila singled on a liner into left field, then a bunt by Vasquez again moved two runners into scoring position. SS Drew Maggi singled, driving in Diaz from third base. The rally ended when Avila was caught trying to steal home and Rojas struck out.
The tie did not last long. Sadler struck out the first two batters in the top of the 8th, then gave up a walk and a double, which brought the lead runner racing around from first to score, to give Hickory a 4-3 lead. Jason Townsend pitched the top of the 9th, giving up two singles, but no runs. RF Dan Grovatt led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, but he was the only Power batter to reach base in the final two innings.