Catching up with the action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates for Thursday…. several home runs
Trenton Thunder 8 , Altoona Curve 6
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A 3-run homer by CF Starling Marte and a solo blast by SS Josh Rodriguez were not enough to get past the Thunder.
The Curve got the game started with a run in the top of the 1st on singles by RF Andrew Lambo and C Tony Sanchez, plus a fielding error by the Trenton center fielder, allowing Lambo to score. Trenton came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, two singles, and two doubles, for a 4-1 lead. The Curve took the lead back in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Matt Curry and 3B Greg Picart both singled, and Marte drove them in with his 5th home run of the season. That tied the game, but the tie did not last long. Five singles in the bottom of the 2nd brought in 3 runs for the Thunder, who were back on top, 7-4.
Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up a single in the 3rd, then gave up an unearned run in the 4th on a fielding error by Picart, a single, scoring on a double play. That made Pribanic responsible for 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work. Matt McSwain took over to begin the 6th. He gave up a single in the 6th, but erased that runner with a double play, and then gave up a double and a walk in the 7th, but left those runners on base. Anthony Claggett pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single. That runner moved up to second base on a throwing error by Rodriguez, but was out in a fielder’s choice run-down between second and third.
Rodriguez led off the Curve part of the 6th with his solo homer. LF Quincy Latimore followed the homer with a walk, and Curry singled, moving Latimore to third. Curry was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Picart’s single drove in Latimore to give the Curve their final run.
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.
As we continue to look at the minor leaguers in the Pirates’ organization, we’ll move on to the catchers:
Joey Schoenfeld — R/R, 6′ 2″, 187 lb
Schoenfeld was chosen by the Pirates in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. He got in just 5 games with the GCL Pirates in that year, and went 0-for-14 at the plate. In 2010, Schoenfeld was back with the GCL Pirates, sharing playing time with Elias Diaz and Dylan Child. Schoenfeld still needs a lot of work on his defense, though the Pirates believe the potential is there. He threw out 2 of 21 base stealers — definitely a work in progress. With the bat, Schoenfeld hit .273 in July and improved to .296 in August, to average out at a solid .281, with 3 RBI. He did strike out a lot: 21 strikeouts in 23 games (32.8%), but also took a lot of walks (10, or 13.3 %). He’ll turn 20 years old in June, so he still has some time to work on everything. He should begin 2011 in State College.
Elias Diaz – R/R, 6′ 1″, 175 lb
Diaz is a 20-year-old Venezuelan, who made his US debut after just one season in the VSL. Of the three catchers, he got the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for the GCL Pirates in 2010 (38 games). Diaz was the best of the three defensively, including throwing out 21 of 51 base stealers. His hitting needs some work, as he hit just .218, with 2 homers and 20 RBI. Diaz started out stronger, with a .261 average in 6 games in June, then dropping to .227 in July and .182 in August. The Pirates are hoping that he will develop more power over the next few years. He’ll probably begin 2011 in State College, sharing duties with Schoenfeld. He’s got an outside chance of being assigned to West Virginia, where he’d share with Matt Skirving.
Dylan Child — R/R, 6′ 1″, 181 lb
Child is an Australian and a product of MLB’s Australian Academy. He made his US debut with the GCL Pirates in 2010, though of these three catchers, he got the least amount of time behind the plate — just 8 games. He also played 14 games at first base, and 2 at third. Partly because he is relatively new to catching (he was a shortstop initially), he needs the most work on his defense. He threw out only one of 12 base stealers last season. Child needs to work on his hitting as well — he hit .179 in 12 games in July and .217 in 9 games in August. Overall, he had a .180 average with a double and 2 RBI. His strikeout rate was not high — 11 strikeouts in a total of 24 games (18%). Child was listed as a “reserve” on the Adelaide Bite in the Australian Baseball League over the winter, but was never placed on the active roster. With so little playing time behind the plate last year, the 20-year-old will probably return to the GCL in 2011.
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.
Wednesday, with games going on all afternoon and evening….
Bradenton Marauders� 3,� Tampa Yankees� 1 (box)
A 3-run 5th inning was all it took from the Marauders’ bats this afternoon.� The inning began with 3B Jose De Los Santos reaching base on a fielding error.� RF Robbie Grossman singled, moving De Los Santos to third base, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled, scoring De Los Santos.� Both Grossman and Latimore scored on 1B Erik Huber’s single into right field.� Huber stole second base, but was left there when the inning ended on a fly out. All three runs were unearned.
Those three hits were half of the Marauder’s total for the game.� Latimore and Huber also singled in the 2nd inning, and C James Skelton walked, loading the bases, but three consecutive strikeouts ended the inning with all three runners still in place.� CF Austin McClune singled to lead off the 6th, 2B Adenson Chourio reached on a fielding error, but a double play ended the inning with Chourio forced out at second.� The Marauders went down in order in the last three innings of the game.
The only run the Yankees scored was also unearned.� Bradenton starter Aaron Pribanic pitched 5 innings and scattered 4 hits.� He came back out to begin the 6th, but was relieved after giving up a single and a walk.� Tom Boleska struck out the first batter he faced, then Skelton threw out the second runner as he tried to steal second in a double steal.� When the next batter reached on a throwing error by De Los Santos, the runner (who had stolen third base) scored from third.� Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th.� Tyler Cox allowed a single and a walk in the scoreless 8th.� Diego Moreno, who has finished his organizational suspension and has been reassigned to the Marauders, pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing just one walk.
Reliever Mike Colla has been promoted from the Marauders to AA Altoona, trading spots with Moreno.