One win on Monday night in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
Akron Aeros 6, Altoona Curve 5
CF Starling Marte had 3 hits for the Curve in their loss in Akron. Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up only a double over the first 3 innings, then surrendered a solo homer in the 4th. Akron scored 2 runs in the 5th, when rehabbing Cleveland Indians’ star Grady Sizemore doubled after two singles.
The Curve had only one hit, a single by LF Quincy Latimore, in their first 5 innings, though they also had two batters reach on errors — 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd and C Tony Sanchez in the 4th. Down 3-0 going into the top of the 6th, the Curve got going. With one out, Marte beat out a bunt single, and SS Jordy Mercer walked. Sanchez also beat out an infield single to third to load the bases, and 1B Miles Durham’s line drive into left field brought in Marte, leaving the bases loaded again. Latimore plated Mercer with a sacrifice fly. Then 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in Sanchez and Durham when he tripled into center field, giving the Curve a 4-3 lead.
Tim Alderson relieved Pribanic to begin the 6th inning. He gave up two singles in that inning, but kept the Aeros from scoring. Akron also singled twice in the bottom of the 7th, including one by Sizemore, but this time, a throwing error by Holt on the force attempt let in one unearned run. After a ground out, a double drove in two more runs, also unearned, and Akron had the lead back, 6-4.
The Curve added one more run in the 8th, when Latimore walked, then came around to score on Farrell’s double into right field. Walks to DH Eric Fryer and RF Brad Chalk loaded the bases again, but the Curve could not capitalize, and all three were left stranded. Tom Boleska finished the game for the Curve with a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. Alderson was charged with the loss, as well as a Blown Save.
Continuing our visit with some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Trent Stevenson — Bats L / Throws R, 6′ 6″, 175 lb
The Pirates chose Stevenson in the 7th round of the 2009 draft. The Scottsdale, AZ native reported to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career, and made 5 appearances (4 starts) there, allowing just 2 runs in 15 innings (1.20 ERA). He began the 2010 season again with the GCL Pirates, but after one game, in which he allowed 2 run on two hits (one was a home run) with 3 strikeouts, Stevenson was promoted to State College. Stevenson pitched entirely out of the bullpen for the Spikes, with 15 appearances for 40.2 total innings, usually going 2 -3 innings at a time. He pitched 20 innings over 7 appearances in the end of June and through July, with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 22 hits and 10 runs, with 8 walks and 9 strikeouts. The second half of the season was much the same, with 8 appearances for 20.2 innings and a 4.36 ERA. In August and into September, he allowed 10 runs on 22 hits, with 7 walks and 14 strikeouts. At age 20, Stevenson is still developing, and the Pirates are hoping to see more velocity from him, to keep his fastball consistently in the 90’s. He also has a slider and a changeup, which will need more work. He should be ready for West Virginia in 2011, though if the Power bullpen is too crowded, he could spend a little more time at State College.
Brandon Cumpton – R/R, 6′ 2″, 198 lb
Cumpton was the Pirates’ 9th round pick in the 2010 draft. He signed in July and got in 4 appearances with the GCL Pirates before the end of the season. He pitched a total of 8 scoreless innings in his first, second, and fourth appearances, allowing one hit in the second and two hits in the fourth. He also struck out 5 batters over the 3 innings of the second appearance. The third appearance was a struggle, as he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2.2 innings, with 2 walks. That gave him an overall 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings, and 6 total strikeouts. Cumpton is still working on fastball command. The 22-year-old will likely remain a reliever, and is also in the mix for a bullpen spot in West Virginia, though he too could go to State College.
Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)
On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.
The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.
Tuesday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers….
Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League’s Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.
Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague’s two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning — he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.
Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie’s only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer’s ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman’s double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).
Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.
Some action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Wednesday…� still can’t get anything done in Bradenton this evening, though the GCL Pirates did get their game in this afternoon.
Erie SeaWolves� 3,� Altoona Curve� 1 …�� (box)
The Curve were held to just 2 hits as they lost to the SeaWolves at home.� The Curve got two walks, one of which resulted in their only run, and they also had a runner reach on a fielding error.� 1B Matt Hague had the first Curve hit, a two-out single in the 4th inning.� 2B Jordy Mercer walked in the 2nd inning, and RF Miles Durham reached on a fielding error to begin the 8th inning.� None of them got as far as second base.� Finally, in the bottom of the 9th, SS Chase d’Arnaud led off with the second walk, and then he stole second base (his 32nd steal of the season).� DH Andrew Lambo lined a double into left field, scoring d’Arnaud with the Curve’s lone run.
Justin Wilson pitched 4 innings in his start, and gave up all three of the SeaWolves’ runs, on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 6 strikeouts.� He surrendered a run in the 2nd inning on three singles.� Another single and a double brought in one run in the 4th.� Wilson walked the next batter, then got a grounder to short for what looked like it would be an inning-ending double play.� The out was made at second, but Mercer’s throw to first was not on target, and the batter was safe, which allowed the runner who had doubled to score from second base.
Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 5th inning.� He gave up a walk to former teammate Brandon Jones to lead off the 5th, then erased him in a double play.� Colla allowed only one base runner in the rest of his four innings, a double to lead off the 7th inning.� Ramon Aguero pitched a perfect top of the 9th, with one strikeout.