Stolen Bases Hurt Power; Alvarez Continues Rehab

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston.  The GCL Pirates have the day off.

Greensboro Grasshoppers  10,  West Virginia Power  2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon.   Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk.  The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single.  Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th.  Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order.  In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single.  There were three stolen bases in that inning.  Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored.  Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single.  The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.   

The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings.  Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.   1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base.  SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play.  2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off.  Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate.  DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.  

Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single.  The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th.  With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked.  White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score.  Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.  

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Curve Scoreless Again, Marauders Bomb Mets

Some Sunday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization… the GCL Pirates had the day off.

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were again held scoreless this afternoon.  That means that in the last 5 games (44 innings), the Curve have scored just one run.   Today the team was held to 3 hits, and those were the only Curve batters to reach base.  The first 10 batters were retired in order.  2B Brock Holt doubled in the 4th inning, then the next 6 batters were retired.  Pinch-hitter Brad Chalk singled in the 6th, and was out at second when CF Starling Marte grounded into a force out.  The Curve also went down in order in the 7th and 8th innings.  Marte doubled with one out in the 9th, but two fly outs left Marte still standing on second base when the game ended.

Phillip Irwin made the start for Altoona.  He allowed two singles over the first two innings, but ran into difficulty in the 4th.  A single began the inning, then Irwin recorded two outs.  That was followed by an RBI single, a double, a 2-RBI single, and a throwing error.  One more run scored on a wild pitch, to give the Senators a 4-0 lead.  Irwin finished his afternoon with those 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits, no walks, with 6 strikeouts in 5 innings of work.  

Bryan Morris relieved Irwin and pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing a walk and a single in the 7th.  Tim Alderson pitched the 8th, and gave up a single and a 2-run homer for the Senators’ final two runs.  

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Heredia’s Debut, SAL All-Star Game; 3 Homers In One Inning For The Marauders

Tuesday’s action:

The Pirates have signed their 4th round draft pick, Colten Brewer.  Brewer is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of high school in Canton.  He will likely report to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career.   All of the Pirates’ draft picks, and the ones who have signed, are listed here.  

GCL Pirates  10,  GCL Blue Jays  7
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Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia made his pro debut this afternoon, with a start for the GCL Pirates.  Heredia made a good showing.  He had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Alen Hanson in the 1st, but he retired the other three batters in that inning.  He gave up a walk in the 2nd, but again retired the other three batters he faced.  Heredia had some trouble in the 3rd, when he allowed 2 runs.  He began the inning with two ground outs, then hit a batter with a pitch.  That runner stole both second and third bases, then Heredia walked the next two batters to load the bases.  A single lined into left field brought in two runs.  Heredia was relieved by Robert Kilcrease, who finished the inning with a ground out.

Kilcrease gave up another 2 runs in the 4th.  Back-to-back singles with one out and a walk loaded the bases with Jays.  A sacrifice fly brought in one run, then an RBI single brought in the second, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead. 

The Pirates were relatively quiet over the first 3 innings, but they broke out in the bottom of the 4th.  With one out, 3B Yhonathan Barrios beat out a bunt for a hit, then moved to second and on to third on two wild pitches.  He scored on LF Jose Osuna’s RBI single.  1B Jared Lakind walked, then DH Jon Schwind doubled in Osuna.  C Joey Schoenfeld tapped back to the mound, where the Jays’ pitcher tried for a fielder’s choice — but failed, allowing Lakind to score, and leaving Pirate runners on the corners.  Hansen’s 3-run homer brought in Schwind and Schoenfeld, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead.  

The Blue Jays also homered in the top of the 5th, but it was a solo shot off Pirates’ reliever Diomedes Mateo.  In the bottom of the 5th, RF Gregory Polanco walked and stole second base, then scored on Barrios’ triple lined into right field.   Pirates ahead, 7-5.  Mateo also gave up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th.  A single, a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases.  A fielding error by Barrios allowed both runners to cross the plate, tying the score at 7-7.  

The Pirates went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings.  Mateo gave up a single in the top of the 7th, but erased that runner with a double play.  He also allowed a walk in the 7th, and a single in the 8th.  Then the Pirates broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th.  Osuna walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Junior Sosa.  Lakind’s sacrifice bunt put Sosa on second, but Lakind was also safe at first.  Schwind also bunted, and was safe at first to load the bases.  Schoenfeld’s single brought in Sosa, then Hanson’s double lined into left scored both Lakind and Schwind.  That gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead.  2B Jodaneli Carvajal was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again for the Pirates.  Schoenfeld tried for the steal of home but didn’t make it, and that was the first out of the inning.  A strikeout and a ground out ended the frame, but the Pirates had the lead.  

Joe Parsons relieved Mateo on the mound to begin the top of the 9th.  He loaded the bases with two outs, on a hit batter, a walk, and a single.  Parsons got a pop out to end the game, and the Pirates had the win.  

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State College Season Begins; Von Rosenberg Wins #3

Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:

The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend.  The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL.  Representing the Marauders:  C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham.  Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.  

The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates.  Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.   

Williamsport Crosscutters  7,  State College Spikes  0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season.  Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd.  That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second.  After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning.  A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0.  Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball.  Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out.  Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles.  Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.  

The Spikes collected 6 hits.   C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks,  CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled.  The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder.  Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate.  They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.  

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2011 Prospect Watching: Sullivan, Rodriguez, And Friends

Continuing to look at Pirates’ pitchers in the lower levels of the organization:

Jarryd Sullivan  —  R/R,  6′ 0″,  181 lb
The 21-year-old Sullivan came to the Pirates out of the new Australian Baseball Academy.  He has a fastball in the high 80’s, a curve, and a strong changeup.  Sullivan made his US debut in 2010, and after extended spring training, he began the short season at State College.  He made 3 appearances there, for 3 innings, but allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks, for an 8.10 ERA.  He went down to the GCL for the rest of the season, and pitched better there, making 5 starts and 7 relief appearances.  In 35 innings, Sullivan gave up 16 earned runs on 40 hits, for a 4.11 ERA.  He walked only 3 batters, and struck out 15.  Over the winter, Sullivan returned to his native Australia and pitched for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League.  He made 5 relief appearances for the Blue Sox, for a total of 7.2 innings without allowing a run.  He did give up 4 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 7 batters.  Sullivan should get another try at State College to begin 2011.

Joely Rodriguez  —  L/L,  6′ 1″,  175 lb
Rodriguez is a 19-year-old Dominican, who made his US debut in 2010 after one year in the Dominican Summer League.  He made 9 starts for the GCL Pirates, for a total of 47.1 innings.  He allowed 44 hits and 21 earned runs, including 10 homers.  He walked only 7 batters, while striking out 26 batters.  That’s a little high on the homers and a little low on the strikeouts, but the latter could improve with some more work on his off-speed pitches.  He gets a lot of ground-ball outs.  At the end of the season, Rodriguez was promoted to State College, where he appeared in 2 games.  The first was tough, as he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk, in one inning.  The second appearance went better — one unearned run on 2 hits and a walk in 3 innings.  Rodriguez should be back in State College for 2011.

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