Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.
Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 6, Lakewood BlueClaws 1 (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th. The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out. They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single. Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single. DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped. When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score. That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.
Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension. He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning. Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners. The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored. Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score. He also struck out 3 batters.
The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th. RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base. Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate. Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases. Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.
Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring. Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.
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.
Saturday evening with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Altoona Curve 8, Binghamton Mets 6
First, the Curve and the Mets had to finish up yesterday’s game, which had been suspended in the 7th inning, with the score tied at 6-6. Binghamton had scored 4 runs in the 1st, and one run in both the 4th and 5th. The Curve had tied the score with 3 runs in each of the 5th and 6th innings. The big hit in the 5th was CF Starling Marte’s triple, and the big hit in the 6th was pinch-hitter Eric Fryer’s triple. Curve starter Aaron Thompson had allowed all 6 Binghamton hits on 9 hits, no walks, with 4 strikeouts in his 5 innings of work. Tim Alderson came on to pitch in the bottom of the 6th, and allowed a hit but maintained the tie.
The top of the 7th began with a single by LF Quincy Latimore, who was replaced at first base by SS Jordy Mercer on a grounder force out at second. Mercer stole second base, then took third on a wild pitch. 3B Jeremy Farrell walked to put runners on the corners, and that’s when the game was suspended. When they picked it up again this afternoon with a new relief pitcher, two quick outs left Mercer and Farrell still standing on the corners.
Anthony Claggett came on in relief of Alderson, and in a double switch, Shelby Ford took over at first base for Miles Durham. Claggett kept the Mets from scoring in the bottom of the 7th. Then Ford gave the Curve the lead with a solo homer in the top of the 8th. The Curve added an insurance run in the top of the 9th, when Mercer and Farrell led off with a pair of singles. Pinch-hitter Kris Watts moved both runners into scoring position with a ground out, then RF Brad Chalk lined a single into left field. Mercer scored easily on the play, but Farrell was out at the plate on the throw in from left field.
Claggett held on to the lead with a scoreless bottom of the 8th, allowing just one hit. He was credited with his third win of the season. Noah Krol earned his 10th Save of the season with a scoreless 9th. He walked the first batter of the inning, then retired the next three batters with two fly outs and a pop out.
The West Virginia Power have a scheduled day off on Tuesday…
Bradenton Marauders 9, Lakeland Flying Tigers 0
The Marauders broke a 7-game losing streak by bombarding the Flying Tigers in Lakeland. Bradenton posted 12 hits, led by DH Calvin Anderson, who went 4-for-5 in the game, and missed hitting for the cycle by leaving out the triple. 2B Jarek Cunningham also doubled and homered, while 1B Aaron Baker contributed 2 hits.
The game began with the Marauders blasting off for 5 runs in the top of the 1st. They batted around, beginning with a single by RF Robbie Grossman, a walk to C Ramon Cabrera, and a single by Baker to score Grossman. 3B Elevys Gonzalez doubled to bring in both Cabrera and Baker. Elevys Gonzalez scored on Anderson’s double, and Anderson scored on LF Adalberto Santos‘ RBI single.
The hits and runs kept coming for the Marauders. They did not score in the 2nd inning, though Cunningham doubled. He was out when Cabrera lined out to the Tigers’ shortstop, who stepped on the second base bag to double off Cunningham. Baker led off the 3rd with a ground-rule double. He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on Anderson’s RBI single. Cunningham added 2 more runs in the 4th with a 2-run homer after Grossman had walked. Anderson’s solo homer came in the 5th, and by then the Marauders were leading 9-0.
Brett Lorin was the recpient of all that run support, earning his second win of the season. He pitched 6 shutout innings and struck out 6 batters, while scattering just 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Both the hit batter and the walk came in the 2nd inning, but Lorin got a fly out to end the inning. Lorin allowed a single in the 5th and a double in the 6th.
The Marauders went down in order for the first time in the 6th. They loaded the bases in the 7th on a walk to Baker, and singles by CF Evan Chambers and Anderson, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning with the bases loaded. Grossman was the only Bradenton batter to reach base in the final two innings, when he walked in the 8th.
Eliecer Navarro relieved Lorin to begin the 7th inning. He retired the side in the 7th, and worked around a runner who had reached base on his own missed catch error (on a grounder towards first base) in the 8th. Navarro also retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 9th. Jason Erickson finished the game by grounding out the only batter he faced.