Big Night For Tabata and Cedeno; Hague Is In Mexico

Looking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league play–
The Puerto Rican and Dominican Leagues had today off, as they prepare for their All-Star teams to face off tomorrow.  

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tigres de Aragua  5,  Aguilas de Zulia  0  –  
(Game 1)  SS Ronny Cedeno tripled in Los Tigres’ first two runs, after a double and a single in the 3rd inning.  In the next inning, CF Lastings Milledge reached base on an error, and a walk and a single loaded the bases.  A wild pitch brought in one run, and C Raul Chavez drove in the 2nd run of that inning with a sacrifice fly.  Chavez also picked up an RBI in the 6th inning with a single that followed two walks.  Milledge reached on a fielding error for the second time in the 6th inning, but he was picked off first.  
Tigres 9,  Aguilas 2  –  (Game 2)  Cedeno continued hitting in the night cap, going 2-for-3.  The 6-run 3rd inning took care of things for Los Tigres.  A triple began the inning, and Cedeno drove in the first run with a single.  Three consecutive walks (one by 1B Hector Gimenez) drove in Cedeno, then three consecutive singles added three more runs.  LF Jorge Cortes and C Miguel Perez each had one of those hits.  A sacrifice fly made it 6 runs in the inning.  Perez began another rally in the 6th inning with a walk, and he scored on an RBI double.  Cedeno singled again, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.  After a single, another wild pitch let Cedeno cross the plate with the 3rd run of the inning.  
Tiburones de La Guaira  4,  Leones del Caracas  3  –  Two runs in the bottom of the 9th gave Los Tiburones the walk-off win.  A bases-loaded single drove in both runs.  A 2-run homer in the top of the 1st started the game for Los Leones.  La Guaira scored one run in the bottom of the inning, then tied the game with another run in the 4th.  A hit batter and a single gave Los Leones a 3-2 lead in the 5th, and that’s where the score remained until the bottom of the 9th.  Jose Ascanio pitched the 8th inning for Caracas.  He gave up a one-out single, then erased that runner and ended the inning with a double play.  Former Pirate C Carlos Maldonado singled in the 2nd inning for Los Leones, but he was also erased with a double play.  

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A Loss For Valdez

The MLB Winter Meetings are over…. back to the winter league action, as we cheer on some new Pirates’ players.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Leones del Escogido  3,  Tigres del Licey  0  –  
New Pirate Caesar Valdez (just acquired from the Diamondbacks as the player-to-be-named-later in the Zach Duke trade) made his 8th start for Licey, but did not get out of the 3rd inning as he suffered his 2nd loss of the season.  Valdez had no trouble in his first inning of work, then gave up a solo home run in the 2nd inning.  He put out the first two batters in the 3rd inning, then gave up three consecutive singles for a run, plus a walk.  Valdez was relieved at that point, with no more runs scoring in the inning.  Los Leones did score one more run in the 5th.  Los Tigres were held to just 4 hits, including one by Indy area native 1B Jake Fox.  3B Andy Marte and C Robinzon Diaz were both hitless in the game.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Bravos de Margarita  5,  Cardenales de Lara  4  –  
Los Cardenales tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the 8th on a pair of doubles.  The winning run scored in the bottom of the 9th, when two walks and a hit batter put three Bravos on base.  Another walk forced in the winning run.  Romulo Sanchez pitched to 4 Margarita batters and made 4 outs, finishing the 6th inning for Lara and then pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th.  Jhonathan Ramos pitched a scoreless 6th inning for Margarita.  He allowed a double and a walk, with 2 strikeouts. 

Tigres de Aragua  6,  Navegantes de Magallanes  4  –  A game full of Pirates.  Los Tigres posted a pair of 2-run homers in the 5th inning, on their way to 13 total hits.  Every member of the lineup except for C Raul Chavez had at least one hit.  SS Ronny Cedeno, 1B Hector Gimenez, LF Lastings Milledge, and CF Jorge Cortes each had one run.  Wil Ledezma pitched one inning for Los Tigres.  He entered the game in the 7th inning, and was responsible for one run on a solo homer.  Then he began the 8th inning, when he allowed two more runs to score.  Corey Hamman pitched in the top of the 9th for Los Navegantes.  He gave up a single and a pair of intentional walks, but ended the inning and the game without any of those runners scoring.  

Tiburones de La Guaira  5,  Caribes de Anzoategui   3  –  In his second Venezuelan League game, LF Jose Tabata walked and singled for Los Caribes.  He singled in the bottom of the 1st, moving another runner to third base, and that runner came around to score, for 2 runs in the 1st.  Los Tiburones tied the score with 2 runs in the 3rd inning.  They took the lead with a run in the 6th, and Los Caribes tied the score again in the bottom of the 7th, on a walk and two singles.  The game went into extras, and in the top of the 10th, Los Tiburones scored the winning and insurance runs on a 2-run homer.  

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Win #3 For Ramos

Lots of talking and speculating at the Winter Meetings, but no action yet.
And not much action in the winter leagues on Monday, though that is not unusual for a Monday.

Venezuelan League:
Bravos de Margarita  9,  Leones del Caracas  7  –  
Pirates’ farmhand Jhonathan Ramos earned his third win for Los Bravos.  Ramos entered the game in the 6th inning with the score tied at 4-4, one out, and a runner on first base.  A fielding error put a second runner on base, and an RBI single with another error brought in the go-ahead run.  With a runner on third base, the next batter tapped a ball back to the mound, where Ramos scooped it up and fired to the shortstop covering second, hoping to start a double play.  They only got the runner coming into second base, though, and the second run of the inning scored.  Ramos got a strikeout to end the inning, but Los Leones had taken a 6-4 lead.  Los Bravos came right back in the top of the 7th.  A walk, a single, a passed ball by Leones’ C Carlos Maldonado, and a sacrifice fly brought in one run.  Then a hit batter and a 3-run homer gave Los Bravos an 8-6 lead.  Ramos started the bottom of the 7th, and gave up a solo home run.  Los Bravos got that run back with two singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the 8th.  Ronald Belisario earned his 12th save for Los Bravos with a 1-2-3 9th inning.  Maldonado went 0-for-4 for Los Leones.  

Puerto Rican League:
Leones de Ponce  3,  Criollos de Caguas  2  –  
Former Pirate farmhand RJ Rodriguez earned his 8th save for Los Leones with a scoreless final inning, even though he gave up 2 singles.  Ponce scored a run in the 1st and 2 more in the 2nd.  Caguas scored one run in the 2nd, then took advantage of a bases-loaded walk to score again in the 3rd.  

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Pirates Hitting In Venezuela, But Not In The Dominican

Cheering for some Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league action…�� The Australians are back in action on Thursday, which will be late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning for most of us.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

Tigres de Aragua� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� — A Pirate-filled game… 2B/3B Andy LaRoche singled twice and walked for Los Bravos, but his teammates could not get him or anyone else pushed across the plate.� LaRoche singled to lead off the 2nd inning, went to second on a fielding error, and to third on a wild pitch, but he was out at the plate on what seems to have been a wild pitch or passed ball.� LaRoche worked the second of two walks in the 4th inning, but was erased in an inning-ending double play.� Another double play took him off the bases in the 9th, after another lead-off single.� Meanwhile, the Pirates playing for Los Tigres also got off to a frustrating start.� DH Hector Gimenez walked in the 2nd, and LF Lastings Milledge followed by beating out a tapper back to the mound.� But a double play ended that inning without a run scoring.� It got better in the 5th, when Milledge walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on CF Jorge Cortes’ RBI double into right field.� A single and a home run by C Wilson Ramos gave Los Tigres 2 more runs in the 6th.� In the 8th, with two on (walk and single) and two outs, Jhonathan Ramos came on to pitch for Los Bravos.� Gimenez was the first batter he faced� — and he blasted a 3-run over the left field wall, to give Aragua a 6-0 lead.� Ramos got Milledge to ground out to end the inning, and he was relieved for the next inning.� So, one hit each for Gimenez, Milledge, and Cortes, but an 0-for-4 night for SS Ronny Cedeno.

Caribes de Anzoategui� 7,� Tiburones de La Guaira� 1� — The score was tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the 8th, when Los Caribes exploded for 6 runs.� After a lead-off double, Adenson Chourio was brought in to pinch-hit.� He was intentionally walked, and a sacrifice bunt put both runners into scoring position.� Another intentional walk loaded the bases, then an unintentional walk forced in the go-ahead run.� An RBI grounder plated Chourio, then back-to-back homers, 3-run and solo, gave Los Caribes all the insurance they would need.

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Bass Has A Good Start for Aragua

Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league games…

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

Leones del Caracas� 9,� Bravos de Margarita� 2� — Caracas began the game with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st, and kept right on rolling, with a run in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th , and 4 in the 5th.� In the 5th, Margarita reliever Jhonathan Ramos enterd the game with one run already scored, a runner on second base, and no outs.� He made a missed catch error while covering first base for the first batter he faced, which allowed the base runner to score.� Then Ramos gave up a double and a single, and two more runs came in.� A double play and a tapper back to the mound ended the inning.� Margarita’s first run came in the 4th inning, when LF Frank Diaz tripled, and 3B Andy LaRoche brought him in with a sacrifice fly.� Los Bravos scored again in the 5th inning on a pair of doubles.� LaRoche also walked in the 6th inning, but was earased in a double play.

Navegantes del Magallanes� 5,� Tigres de Aragua� 4� — Aragua jumped out to a 3-0 start in the top of the 1st.� A lead-off double was followed by a sacrifice bunt by SS Ronny Cedeno, and an RBI single by LF Lastings Milledge. DH Hector Gimenez brought in Milledge with a 2-run homer.� Magallanes brought Corey Hamman on in relief to begin the 3rd inning, and Hamman allowed Aragua only one hit over the next three innings.� He then began the top of the 6th by giving up a double, then a sacrifice bunt by Gimenez.� Hamman was relieved, and one more run scored on a walk and a sacrifice fly.� Then in the bottom of the inning, Magallanes started their come-back.� Brian Bass had pitched 5 scoreless innings for Los Tigres (allowing just 2 hits and 4 walks), and Los Navegantes had to wait until Bass was relieved to start their rallies.� A single, a walk to DH Mike Ryan, then three more walks forced in two runs in the 6th.� A hit batter, another walk to Ryan, a wild pitch, and an RBI ground out got Los Navegantes within one run of Los Tigres.� In the bottom of the 8th, two lead-off singles and a sacrifice bunt put two Navegantes’ runners into scoring position.� The next batter dropped another sacrifice bunt, which Aragua reliever Rich Rundles picked up and threw away, allowing two runs to score, to give Magallanes the win.� Aragua CF Jorge Cortes also singled and doubled in the game but didn’t score.

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