Lots of action in the Pirates’ lower minors on Tuesday, partly because of two double headers making up for the two postponements yesterday.
West Virginia Power �7, �Hagerstown Suns �3 (box)
Power starter Nate Baker pitched 8 no-hit innings tonight in Hagerstown, to earn his 6th win of the season. �He was not perfect, though. �After striking out the first two batters he faced, a batter reached base on a throwing error by SS Benji Gonzalez. A grounder force out ended the inning. �With one out in the 2nd inning, Baker hit a batter with a pitch, though he left that runner stranded on base. �From there, Baker retired the next 20 batters he faced, including 8 strikeouts. �Only three of those batters got the ball out of the infield.
Baker did not come out to pitch the 9th inning, probably due to pitch count. �Reliever Gabriel Alvarado took the 9th, and he was the victim of the Suns’ pent-up frustration and stifled hits. � Alvarado struck out the first batter of the inning, but then gave up a line-drive single, a triple, and a home run, as the Suns avoided both the no-hitter and the shut-out.
The Power batters provided Baker with plenty of run support, though not until the later innings. �C Ramon Cabrera had 3 hits and 2 RBI, while CF Evan Chambers, 2B Jarek Cunningham, and 1B Aaron Baker all had 2 hits. �The Power threatened in the 2nd inning, when Cabrera singled, Benji Gonzalez doubled, and Chambers walked, but a strikeout ended the inning. �They got going in the 6th inning, with a single by Aaron Baker, a walk to LF Jose Hernandez, and a 2-RBI triple by Cabrera. �DH Elevys Gonzalez followed with a double, scoring Cabrera, for a 3-0 lead. �They added another run in the 7th, when Chambers led off with a single and scored on Aaron Baker’s double.
Two walks, to 3B Jesus Brito and Cabrera, began the 8th inning, and a fielding error on Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt loaded the bases for the Power. �Benji Gonzalez brought in Brito on a grounder force out, then Chambers doubled, scoring Cabrera. �Benji Gonzalez tried to score from first base, but he was thrown out at the plate. �Cunningham also singled, plating Chambers for the Power’s final run of the game.
Binghamton Mets �7, �Altoona Curve �6 (box)
The Curve thought they were in the drivers’ seat going in to the bottom of the 9th. �They were leading the Mets, 6-1. �Their starter Bryan Morris had pitched 7 innings and allowed only that one run on two walks and a single in the 5th, and he had scattered 2 other hits. �Reliever Mike Dubee had retired the Mets in order in the 8th. �Curve batters had scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning, on singles by newcomer LF Brandon Jones and C Kris Watts, an RBI force out by RF Anthony Norman, Morris reaching base on a wild pitch for strike three, and a huge triple by SS Chase d’Arnaud. They scored again in the 3rd on 1B Matt Hague’s 2-run homer after 3B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch. �Harrison also doubled in the 7th and scored on Mercer’s RBI single. �So, the Curve thought things were going just fine.
Then the bottom of the 9th. �Diego Moreno came on to relieve Dubee. �He gave up a walk, then a wild pitch put that runner on second base. �After a strikeout, a single and a 3-run homer brought the score to 6-4. �Another walk and a single, and Moreno was relieved by Jeff Sues. Sues struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up an RBI single and a walk. �Now the tying run was on first base, and the winning run was coming to the plate. �Mets’ SS Luis Hernandez doubled into left field, scoring two runs to give the Mets the win.
Brandon Jones, who was removed from the Indianapolis Indians’ roster when Aki Iwamura was assigned to Indianapolis, was sent to the Curve “on paper” last week. �Now he’s there in body too. �Righty reliever Ramon Aguero, who has had an elbow injury, was promoted to the Curve from the Bradenton Marauders. �INF James Skelton was sent to Bradenton to make space on the roster.
Wednesday’s action in the rest of the Pirates’ minor league organization. �The West Virginia Power had the day off, wrapping up the South Atlantic League’s All-Star break
Altoona Curve �8, �Portland Sea Dogs �1 (box)
Bryan Morris pitched into the 7th inning in his 4th win of the season, allowing only one run on 6 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 4 for the Curve. �The first batter Morris faced doubled to open the gam, and Portland’s second batter lined a single into center field, complicated by a fielding error by CF Gorkys Hernandez, to score a run. �Morris gave up a walk, but ended the inning with 2 strikeouts, and put up zeros after that. �He retired the next 7 batters, before allowing two singles in the 4th, then getting out of that jam with a double play. �He breezed through the 5th and 6th innings, then gave up a single and a walk in the 7th, and was relieved by Jeff Sues. Sues finished the 7th inning, but loaded the bases in the 8th on a walk and two singles (one by former Curve Ray Chang). �He got out of that mess with two pop outs (all three of the outs that inning were pop outs). Diego Moreno, fresh off the Disabled List, pitched the 9th inning, allowing a walk amid three strikeouts.
The Curve batters provided Morris with plenty of run support, beginning with 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st. �With one out, the next 5 batters reached base on hits. �Singles by Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison were followed by a double by 1B Matt Hague, which brought in two runs. �2B Jordy Mercer singled, scoring Hague. �C Hector Gimenez doubled, moving Mercer to third base. �LF Alex Presley bounced to first base for a fielder’s choice, as Hague was tagged out at the plate. �Gimenez scored the fourth run of the inning on a passed ball. �RF Miles Durham got in on the act in the 4th inning with a 2-run homer, after a walk by Presley. �Gimenez led off the 6th with a solo homer, then Presley scored on a double and a fielding error on DH Shelby Ford’s ball to first.
Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization. �The Gulf Coast League season begins on Monday. �The GCL Pirates open against the GCL Yankees at noon.
The Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.
Altoona Curve �6, �Richmond Flying Squirrels �2 (box)
A 4-run 6th inning boosted the Curve to a sweep of their 3-game series with the Flying Squirrels. �Starter Tim Alderson pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts for his 6th win of the season. �Alderson gave up a run in the 5th, on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single. �A single, a double, and a ground out brought in another run for the Squirrels in the 6th. �Alderson worked around runners on base in each of the rest of his innings, and took advantage of two double plays turned behind him.
The Curve also put runners on base in each of the first 5 innings but were unable to bring any of them around to score. �They loaded the bases in the 5th, on a double by C Hector Gimenez and walks to LF�Alex Presley and RF Miles Durham, but a double play ended their inning.
Presley sparked the rally in the 6th. �With one out, CF Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison hit back-to-back singles, and a fielding error put 1B Matt Hague on base to load the bases. �2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez, to tie the score. �Gimenez was intentionally walked, again loading the bases. �Then Presley cleared the bases with a triple into center field, and the Curve had a 4-1 lead.
Richmond got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, but the Curve added two more in the 7th. �SS Chase d’Arnaud walked, and after a pitching change, Hernandez also walked. �Harrison’s double drove in both of them, to bring the lead to 6-2.
Derek Hankins took over for Alderson in the 8th. �He retired the side in that inning. �The bottom of the 9th began with Hankins hitting a batter. �He got two outs, then gave up another single. �Danny Moskos came on to relieve Hankins, and he got the only batter he faced to ground out, earning the save. �Moskos now leads the Eastern League with 16 saves.