Stolen Bases Hurt Power; Alvarez Continues Rehab

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.  

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Homers By Marte, Rodriguez, Cunningham, And Rojas

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.  

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Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games.  Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings.  The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings.  The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base.  Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.  He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.  

The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings.  They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk.  He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down.  Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning.  Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play.  Farrell scored on the error.  CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.  

Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th.  He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single.  An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run.  Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.  

Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.  

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Marauders Hold Off Jupiter; Spikes Shut Out

Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:

The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break.  The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain.  They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.

Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week.  Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI.  He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week.  Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.

The Pirates have signed two more draft picks:  LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch  (32nd round).  Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College.  The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.  

Bradenton Marauders  5,  Jupiter Hammerheads  4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter.  Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.  The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd.  He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play.  The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.  

The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd.  SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field.  After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score.  Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases.  3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.  

The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th.  With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base.  Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score.  Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.  

Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning.  The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base.  Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown.  Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run.  The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4.  Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win.  Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.  

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Indians Postponed; McPherson’s First AA Win

The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there!  The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed.  There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game.  The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm.  Both will be 9-inning games.  

The Pirates have signed two more draft picks:  3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono.  My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.

The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport.  The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
 
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
 

Thursday’s action:

Altoona Curve  3,  New Britain Rock Cats  1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game.  McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level.  Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners.  He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single.  McPherson also struck out 4 batters.  

The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st.  LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base.  Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer.  Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.  

The Curve went down in order over the next three innings.  They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles.  Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly.  1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base.  The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked.  They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  

Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening.  Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning.  The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left.  After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases.  But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.  

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