Pirates 4, Blue Jays 1
Pitchers were the story for the Pirates this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Five Pirates’ pitchers combined to hold the Blue Jays to 4 hits this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida. Charlie Morton made his second strong start in the Grapefruit League. He gave up one run in the top of the 1st, courtesy of two former Pirates: CF Rajai Davis led off with a double, legged out when LF Matt Diaz was a little slow in picking up (the Pirates should have anticipated Davis’ speed). 3B Jose Bautista drove the run in with a single slipped through into left field. Morton ended the inning by inducing a double play, then he retired the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. That included a nice barehanded snatch of a bunt attempt, and a whirl to throw the batter out at first. Brad Lincoln buzzed through the next three innings, retiring all 9 batters he faced. Morton and Lincoln each struck out one batter, and neither gave up a walk. Tyler Yates and Jeff Locke each took an inning, and neither gave up a hit, though Yates walked one. Cesar Valdez gave up the other two Jays’ hits in the 9th inning. After a strikeout, he surrendered two singles, and with a wild pitch, that gave him runners on the corners. But he picked the runner off first, then ended the game with a strikeout.
The Pirates’ hitters were having some trouble with Blue Jays’ starter Brett Cecil. Cecil struck out 5 of the first 6 Pirates’ batters, and allowed only one hit, a double by C Jason Jaramillo, in the 3rd inning. Jaramillo doubled again to lead off the 6th inning. CF Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, then a ground out put both runners into scoring position. 3B Pedro Alvarez drove in both with a standing triple into the right field corner, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. They added a run in the 7th, when 2B Brian Friday doubled into left field with two outs, then scored on C Dusty Brown’s single. Another two-out rally provided the Pirates’ fourth run in the top of the 9th. SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a singled into right field, then stole second base. 3B Josh Rodriguez slipped a single into left field, and Ciriaco came around to score. Rodriguez also stole second base, and Brown was hit by a pitch, but the rally ended when CF Corey Wimberly popped out.
Also getting into the game: Jeremy Farrell pinch-hit (ground out) in the 8th inning; his father, John Farrell, is the new manager of the Blue Jays. 1B Josh Fields, LF Alex Presley, RF Gorkys Hernandez, and 3B Andy Marte also played.
Pirates 2, Yankees 0
Six Pirate pitchers combined to shut out the Yankees at McKechnie Field this afternoon. James McDonald and Aaron Thompson each pitched 2 scoreless innings, and each allowed 2 hits. That was all the hits the Yankees could get. Daniel McCutchen pitched 2 innings, retiring 6 batters in order, including 2 strikeouts. Chris Resop, Ramon Aguero, and Daniel Moskos all contributed one scoreless and hitless inning, and Moskos earned the save.
The Pirates posted just 6 hits. Two of those belonged to C Chris Snyder. He singled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was caught trying to steal second base, then singled again to begin the 6th, and was replaced by pinch runner Jeremy Farrell. 2B Josh Rodriguez bunted Farrell to second base, and SS Pedro Ciriaco drove in the first run of the game with an RB double into left field. The Pirates scored again in the 7th, when DH Garrett Jones opened the frame with a walk. 1B Steve Pearce bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, moving Jones to third base. 3B Josh Fields brought in Jones with a sacrifice fly.
CF Alex Presley walked, singled, and was hit by a pitch in the game. LF John Bowker also singled. Also getting in the game: CF Gorkys Hernandez, LF Miles Durham, RF Andrew Lambo, 1B Garrett Atkins, RF Matt Diaz, C Wyatt Toregas, 2B Brian Friday, and SS Corey Wimberly. Doug Bernier, who played for the Indy Indians in 2010, got into the game for the Yankees.
The Pirates have signed 3B Christian Colonel to a minor league contract. Colonel was the Rockies’ 5th round draft pick in 2003. He has played all around the field, he has spent more time in the infield, and most of those at third base. More about Colonel to come in the next few days.
Former Pirate farmhand C James Skelton (Bradenton 2010) signed with the Brewers.
The Pirates played two split-squad spring training games this afternoon (Monday):
Orioles 6, Pirates 4
The Pirates were held to 5 hits at McKechnie field this afternoon, but one of the big ones was a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 9th by RF Miles Durham, who was up from minor league camp. 1B Lyle Overbay also singled for the Pirates, scoring the first Pirates’ run of the game in the 5th. 3B Pedro Alvarez knocked in the remaining run for the Pirates, in the 6th inning. LF Jose Tabata led off the inning with a single, stole second base, then scored on Alvarez’s single Alvarez also doubled for the Pirates.
LF John Bowker, SS Brian Friday, CF Mel Rojas, 3B Andy Marte, 1B Steve Pearce, 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 2B Jim Negrych, and C Wyatt Toregas all got into the game for the Pirates.
Paul Maholm took the loss for the Pirates. He gave up a run in the 1st inning on a double and a single, then another on a solo homer in the 2nd. Jeff Locke allowed a run on two hits in the 6th. He allowed a single and a walk, then with two outs, an RBI single brought in a run. Justin Wilson got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the 8th. A double and a sacrifice fly drove in all three of the base runners. Jeff Karstens pitched 2 scoreless innings, then Tyler Yates, and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless frame. Cesar Valdez finished up the 8th for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 9th, facing only 4 batters.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers on Saturday…
Altoona Curve� 10,� Binghamton Mets� 4 (box)
The Curve posted 14 hits, with two big innings, as all but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit in the game, as starter Rudy Owens earned his 10th win of the season.� SS Jordy Mercer doubled three times and 1B Matt Hague doubled twice, with 4 RBI.� Even Owens doubled, walked, and scored twice.
Owens got off to a little bit of a shaky start on the mound.� He gave up a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly to begin the bottom of the 1st.� A single and a double gave the Mets a second run in the 3rd.� Owens settled in after that, and allowed just one hit in each of the 4th and 5th.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 4th, after putting runners on base in each of the first three innings but failing to score.� In the 4th,� Mercer hit his first double, and he scored on RF Miles Durham’s RBI single.� Then they broke through in the 5th.� Owens led off the inning with a walk.� LF Jose De Los Santos singled, then 3B Josh Harrison bunted both runners into scoring position.� 2B Jim Negrych was intentionally walked to load the bases.� Hague cleared the bases with a double into left field, then Mercer hit his second double (this one was a ground-rule double), plating Hague.� The Curve had a 5-2 lead.
The next inning began with a solo home run by Miles Durham.� One out later, Owens doubled, and De Los Santos singled.� A fielding error on a ball hit to third by Harrison let Owens score.� Negrych brought in both Owens and De Los Santos with another double, and Hague made it three doubles in the inning with his 26th of the season, bringing in Negrych with the fifth run of the inning.� The Curve were up, 10-2.
Mike Colla relieved Owens to begin the 6th.� He gave up a solo homer in that inning, and another solo homer in the 8th, but retired the other 12 batters he faced in 4 innings.� Owens earned his 10th win of the season, and Colla earned his first save.
A busy Friday for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Bradenton Marauders� 5,� Jupiter Hammerheads� 3 (box)
The Marauders posted 14 hits, with each member of the line-up collecting at least one.� C Eric Fryer had a perfect 4-for-4 night, with all four hits singles.� SS Greg Picart had 2 singles, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled and homered.� They scored only 5 runs on those 14 hits, though, leaving 13 runners on base.
Bradenton began scoring in the 2nd inning, on Fryer’s first single and an RBI double by 1B Calvin Anderson. Latimore’s double and a single by DH Jeremy Farrell to score Latimore added another run in the 3rd.� Latimore’s home run over the left field wall made it 3-0 in the 5th inning.� The Marauders took advantage of an error by the Hammerheads to score agin in the 6th.� With one out, Greg Picart singled and 2B Shelby Ford reached on a fielding error in left field, which let the speedy Picart score from first base.� Ford went to third base on the error, and he scored on RF Robbie Grossman’s RBI single.
Nate Baker earned his 2nd win with the Marauders, going 6 shutout innings and allowing only 2 hits, with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts.� Three of those walks came in the bottom of the 1st inning, but Baker got out of that bases-loaded jam with a pop out and two fly outs.� He had two more runners in scoring position in the 2nd, with a walk and a double, but got out of that jam too.� The other single he allowed came with two outs in the 3rd.� After that single, Baker retired the next 10 batters he faced, to finish his night.
Craig Hansen came on in relief of Baker to begin the 7th.� He kept Jupiter from scoring in the 7th, despite two runners in scoring position from a hit batter, a single, and a wild pitch.� The Hammerheads’ only runs came in the 8th, and only one of the three runs was earned.� A double and two walks loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly brought in the earned run.� After a second out, Hansen was relieved by Duke Welker. The first batter Welker faced took a ball into center field, but an error by CF Starling Marte caused two unearned runs to score.� Welker finished that inning with a line out to short.
Noah Krol earned his 30th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning.� He leads the Florida State League in saves — #2 has 28 saves and #3 has 21 saves.� How many saves do you need to have before you get promoted?