The Curve played a (mostly) morning game today; the Marauders and the Power play in the evening.
Altoona Curve 13, Harrisburg Senators 2
The Curve had a great morning today, blasting away at the Senators with 13 runs on 18 hits. All but one of the starting lineup had at least one hit, and that one was not starting pitcher Jeff Locke. Locke singled twice and came around to score, doing his share, and reliever Anthony Claggett also had a hit. CF Starling Marte, SS Jordy Mercer, and 1B Miles Durham each had 3 hits, and two of Mercer’s hits were home runs. Mercer contributed 5 RBI, while Durham and RF Jose Hernandez each had 3 RBI.
The game actually began in Harrisburg’s favor. Marte doubled in the top of the 1st, then moved to third base on a wild pitch, but got no further. In the bottom of the inning, Locke began by hitting the lead-off man with a pitch, then gave up a single to give Harrisburg runners on the corners. An RBI ground out brought in the first run, then an RBI single added a second run. After another single, Locke finished the inning with a tapper back to the mound.
After that inning, it was all Altoona. Locke shut down the Senators, retiring the next 12 batters in order. He gave up a single and a double in the 6th, but left both runners in scoring position. Locke threw 79 pitches (57 strikes) in earning his second win of the season.
The Curve put their hitting shoes on in the 3rd. Locke and 2B Brock Holt led off with back-to-back singles. That chased the Senators’ starter, and brought in former Indy Indian and Curve Jimmy Barthmaier. Barthmaier got Marte to ground into a force out at second, but could not get the double play. Marte stole second base, then Mercer blatsed his first homer, a 3-run shot over the left field wall, to give the Curve a 3-2 lead.
Locke singled again in the 4th inning, though he was left on base. Marte singled to begin the 5th, and was moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s sacrifice bunt. Mercer singled, and Marte came around from second base to score. Mercer stole second, and he scored on C Eric Fryer’s double. Then Fryer scored on Durham’s 2-run homer for a 4-run inning, giving the Curve a 7-2 lead. Holt singled and came around to score on Latimore’s RBI single in the 6th.
The Curve put up another 4-run inning in the 7th. 3B Jeremy Farrell, the only Curve position player without a hit in the game, was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Fryer reached base on a fielding error. Durham doubled, driving in Farrell, then Hernandez’s 3-run homer gave the Curve a 12-2 lead. Mercer’s second home run, a solo homer, provided the Curve with their final run in the 8th.
Anthony Claggett relieved Locke in the 7th inning. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, then worked around a hit batter and a single in the 8th, to keep the Senators from scoring again. Tim Alderson finished the game for the Curve, with a perfect 9th inning.
A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010. He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH’ing. Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI. He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times. Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.
Two minor league pitchers have been released: RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston. Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010. Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 3
Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve. Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win. The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st. After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single. Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning. A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd. Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.
The Squirrels’ starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order. The first hit he gave up was a big one — a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte. The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.
The lead lasted only one inning. Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base — two walks and a single back to the mound. Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score. An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead. Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th. The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.
The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th. With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore. But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez’s line out ended the game.
The Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates wrap up the month of April:
Erie SeaWolves 5, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 3 hits, plus two walks, as they were shut-out by the SeaWolves. Their first hit of the game came in the 2nd inning, when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled, then moved to second base on a wild pitch. The inning ended with Farrell being forced out at third base. Altoona had their biggest threat with two runners on base in the 3rd inning — a line drive single into left field by RF Eric Fryer and a walk to DH Jose Hernandez. A ground out put both runners into scoring position, but they too were left stranded. The Curve went down in order until LF Quincy Latimore’s single in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona in the last three innings, when he walked in the 7th.
Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve. He pitched 6 innings but was the victim of some errors in the field behind him. He gave up one earned run but 4 unearned runs, and was charged with the loss. Erie’s earned run came in the 2nd inning, on a double, a walk, and an RBI single. The second base runner who tried to score was gunned down at the plate on a throw in from Fryer in right field to C Tony Sanchez. The top of the 4th inning began with a single, and the next batter grounded to short for what should have been a double play. But a missed catch error by 2B Brock Holt left both runners safe. A walk loaded the bases, and a grounder allowed the lead runner to score. A triple drove in two more runs, to give Erie a 4-0 lead. Erie began the 6th inning with a double and a single, and with two outs, a fielding error by Farrell at third allowed another unearned run to score.
Tim Alderson relieved Locke and pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings. The only batter to reach base against Alderson was hit by a pitch, then erased in a double play.
The Marauders had an early game today, for the school kids. The Curve and the Power play later:
Bradenton Marauders 8, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Marauders swept a series for the first time this season with today’s win over the Cardinals. It was an early game following a late night, but the Marauders were awake and ready to go at 10 am, less than 12 hours after last night’s rain-delayed game. For the second game in a row, every member of the line-up reached base at least once.
Phillip Irwin made his first start after coming out of extended spring training. He went 2 innings, and allowed a run in the 1st, as he had to work around an error in each inning. The top of the 1st began with a walk, then a stolen base, and the runner moved up to third when C Carlos Paulino’s throw to second base went wild for an error. That runner scored on the first of two singles, but Irwin closed down the inning with a strikeout and a ground out. A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez put another runner on base in the 2nd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cardinals had runners on the corners. Irwin got out of the jam with a fly out.
The Marauders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning without posting a hit. LF David Rubinstein was hit by a pitch, then 1B Cole White walked. Two wild pitches let Rubinstein score and put White on third base. After a walk to 2B Kelson Brown, the third wild p itch of the inning let White come in to score. A passed ball and two more walks, to CF Robbie Grossman and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases, but a fly out ended that inning without any further scoring. The Marauders led 2-1.
Brett Lorin took over for Irwin to begin the 3rd inning. Lorin pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk, plus 4 strikeouts. Palm Beach had 2 singles in the 4th, though the first runner was tagged out trying to reach third base on the second single. The Cardinals also had 2 singles in the 6th, but Lorin was not worried by either of those threats.
The Marauders picked up some insurance runs in the 5th, with DH Aaron Baker having his second big-hitting game in a row. Elevys Gonzalez walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Baker’s RBI double into center field. After a walk to Rubinstein, Paulino singled in Baker. A wild throw by the Cardinals’ catcher on a pick-off throw allowed Rubinstein to score the third run of the inning, and the Marauders were up 5-1. They added 2 more runs in the 6th. Grossman lined a double into left field, and Elevys Gonzalez singled, moving Grossman to third. Baker plated Grossman with a single into right field. When the Cardinals’ right fielder went to catch Rubinstein’s fly ball and had his feet slip out from under him, that was ruled an error, and Gonzalez scored as well. That gave the Marauders a 7-1 lead.
The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when Grossman doubled into left field, Elevys Gonzalez singled, and RF Adalberto Santos brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly. Porfirio Lopez finished the game for Bradenton with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single. Lorin earned the win — his first win of the season.
Both the Curve and the Power played early games today….
Altoona Curve 3, Harrisburg Senators 2
A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg. Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings. A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer’s throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play. A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.
The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings. 1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play. Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd. But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th. Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis. Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte. Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead. The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar: Jimmy Barthmaier. With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.
The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th. Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners. He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate. A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run — both runs charged to Locke.
With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field. He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg’s right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer’s fly ball. The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings. Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th. Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.