Morgan Homers Twice; Welker Saves #4

The Indianapolis Indians had a scheduled day off today.

Reports are that 1B/OF Steve Pearce, who is working his way back from a sprained ankle, played in an extended Spring Training game today in Bradenton. �He went 1-for-5 at the plate.

West Virginia Power �5, �Hickory Crawdads �3 (box)

The Power snapped their losing streak with a win in Hickory tonight, led by DH Kyle Morgan and his two home runs. �After two quiet innings, Morgan got things started in the top of the 3rd with a solo home run over the right-center field wall. �SS Benji Gonzalez followed the homer with a single, then stole second base (his 9th steal of the season). �A double by CF David Rubinstein plated Gonzalez, and a single by 2B Jarek Cunningham brought in Rubinstein. �Cunningham also stole second base (his 3rd of the year).

The Crawdads tied it up with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. �Kyle McPherson had the first batter reach on an error by 3B Jesus Brito, then gave up back-to-back singles to load the bases. �A double cleared the bases, and those 3 runs tied it up.

But the Power were not done. �Both RF Jose Hernandez and Morgan blasted solo homers (not back-to-back) in the 4th inning, and the Power had the lead again.

That was all the scoring in the game. �Brito and Cunningham were the only Power batters to reach base over the remaining 5 innings, both on walks. �The Crawdads did not fare any better –�McPherson retired the next 11 batters he faced over the 4th through the 7th innings. �He gave up a 2-out triple in the 7th, but got the next batter to strike out. �Ryan Kelly pitched a perfect 8th inning, and Duke Welker pitched a perfect 9th, including two strikeouts. �McPherson was credited with his 5th win, and Welker with his 4th save.

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Curve Hold On For Win Over Rock Cats

The Bradenton Marauders and the Florida State League had a scheduled day off today, after yesterday’s All-Star Game. �The West Virginia Power also had a scheduled day off. � That leaves just the Curve…

Altoona Curve �6, �New Britain Rock Cats �5 (box)

The Curve broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 8th inning, then had to hold off a Rock Cats’ rally in the 9th to preserve the win.

The Rock Cats’ began the scoring with a run on a single, a ground out, a stolen base, and an RBI ground out in the 1st inning. �The Curve answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. �RF Miles Durham led off with a walk, and LF Anthony Norman lined a single into right field. �SS Chase d’Arnaud dropped down what he thought would be a sacrifice bunt, but he beat the throw, claiming a hit to load the bases with no outs. �A wild pitch scored Durham from third base, and moved both Norman and d’Arnaud up a base. �Then a grounder to short allowed Norman to score, and the Curve were ahead, 2-1.

They repeated the same run pattern in the 4th inning. �The Rock Cats scored one run in the top of the inning, on a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. �Then the Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. �This time it was 2B Jordy Mercer who led off with a walk, and he scored on C Kris Watts’ double. �Watts moved to third base on a ground out, and he scored on Durham’s single up the middle.

Curve starter Justin Wilson kept the Rock Cats from scoring in the 5th, but gave up another 2 runs in the 6th. �A lead-off single, plus back-to-back doubles brought in the 2 runs, tying the score at 4-4. �Wilson exited after that inning, allowing the 4 runs on 10 hits, no walks, with 2 strikeouts. �He left the game with the score tied, so was not going to factor into the decision.

Mike Dubee pitched a perfect 7th inning, preserving the tie. �He gave up a single in the 8th, and after a bunt and a throwing error by SS d’Arnaud, the Rock Cats had runners on the corners with two outs. �Dubee was relieved by Danny Moskos, who finished the inning with a ground out, preserving the tie.

The Curve couldn’t get much going in the 6th or 7th inning, but they broke the tie in the 8th. �CF Gorkys Hernandez opened the inning with a single, and 3B Josh Harrison beat out a bunt for another single. �1B Matt Hague bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, which erased Harrison, but let Hernandez move to third base. �Mercer’s double easily brought Hernandez in from third to take the lead. �After a pitching change, Watts lined a single into center field, and Mercer also scored, to give the Curve an insurance run they would need.

Moskos came back out to pitch the 9th inning. �He began the inning by giving up a single and a walk. �A double play put the lead runner on third with two outs, and a single drove that runner across the plate. �But Moskos held on to get a ground out, ending the game and giving the Curve the win. �Moskos earned his second win of the season. �Hernandez, Mercer, Watts, and Norman all had 2 hits in the game (the Curve had a total of 11 hits), and Watts also contributed 2 RBI.

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Hughes Struggles In Curve Loss

New Britain Rock Cats �8, � �Altoona Curve �7 (box)

A 9th inning rally by the Curve came up short, as the Curve fell to the Rock Cats on Saturday. �The final inning was a wild one, and by the time it was done, the two teams had combined for 30 hits — 18 by the Rock Cats and 12 by the Curve.

Curve starter Jared Hughes gave up 6 runs on 12 hits over 4.2 innings and suffered the loss, giving him an 8-3 record for the season. �The Rock Cats scored their first run in the top of the 1st, on a lead-off double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �The Curve came right back at them, tying the game in the bottom of the frame. �SS Chase d’Arnaud tripled, then scored on 3B Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly.

New Britain kept going against Hughes. �Two singles and two grounders brought in a run in the 2nd inning, to give New Britain a 2-1 lead. �Hughes gave up a lead-off single in both the 3rd and 4th innings, and both times a double play erased the runner. �He was not so lucky in the 5th inning. �A double and a single complicated by a throwing error by 2B Jordy Mercer brought in a run. �A wild pitch moved the second runner to third base, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. �A single and two doubles, plus a fielding error by LF Alex Presley brought in two more runs, and the score was 6-1. �Hughes was done for the evening, with Tony Watson coming on to finish the inning. �Watson went on to pitch 3 more scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits while striking out 3 batters.

After their run in the 1st inning, the Curve batters found the going tough. �They went down in order in three of the next four innings, though they did get back-to-back singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer with two outs in the 4th. �Both were left on base. �D’Arnaud doubled in the 6th inning, and reached as far as third base, but after CF Gorkys Hernandez walked, a double play and another ground out ended the inning. �Presley also had a single in the 7th and was also left on base.

Dustin Molleken took the mound for the Curve in the top of the 9th. �He gave up two singles, then a double, which brought in both of the base runners, to give New Britain an 8-1 lead. �The bottom of the 9th began with a pinch-hit appearance by James Skelton, who was just promoted from A+ Bradenton to fill the roster spot vacated by Jim Negrych when he was moved up to Indianapolis. �Skelton led off with a single. �He scored when another pinch-hitter, Anthony Norman, tripled on a liner into right field. �Norman scored on Mercer’s double, and Mercer scored on C Hector Gimenez’s single. �With the score bumped to 8-4, the Rock Cats brought on a new pitcher, who started by getting Presley to bounce into a double play. �But the Curve were not down yet. �RF Miles Durham doubled, and he came around to score on DH Shelby Ford’s single. �A fielding error put d’Arnaud on first and Ford on second base. �Hernandez brought both of them in with the second triple of the inning, and the Curve were within one run of tying the game, at 8-7. �That was as far as they got, though, as Skelton struck out in his second at-bat in the inning.

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Curve Pound Rock Cats; Power Shut Out

The Bradenton Marauders began their All-Star break today. �The Florida State League All-Star Game will be played on Saturday at 7:35 pm. �It is not being broadcast on milb.tv this year.

Altoona Curve �10, �New Britain Rock Cats �2 (box)

Like the Indy Indians, the Curve overpowered their opponents tonight. �Altoona recorded 17 hits on the way to 10 runs. �SS Chase d’Arnaud led the onslaught by going 4-for-5 at the plate, and both 3B Josh Harrison and 1B Matt Hague contributed 4 RBI.

Starter Bryan Morris won his 3rd game for the Curve, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. �He walked 2 batters and struck out 6. �Morris gave up one run in the top of the 1st on a walk, a stolen base, a throwing error by C Hector Gimenez on the stolen base attempt, and an RBI double. �New Britain also scored a run on a walk and a double in the 5th.

The Curve answered the run in the top of the 1st with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. �CF Gorkys Hernandez tripled, and scored on Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly. �A double by Matt Hague, a ground out to move the runner over by 2B Jordy Mercer, and a sacrifice fly by Hector Gimenez gave the Curve a 2-1 lead in the 4th inning.

New Britain tied the game again with their run in the top of the 5th, but the Curve broke the game open in the bottom of the frame. �DH Shelby Ford and SS Chase d’Arnaud both singled and Hernandez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. �Harrison’s double plated both Ford and d’Arnaud, and a sacrifice fly by Hague brought in Hernandez. �A single by Mercer and a walk to Gimenez loaded the bases again, but all three were left on base when a fly out ended the inning.

The Curve put up another 3-spot in the next inning. �Four consecutive singles began the inning — by RF Miles Durham, Ford, d’Arnaud, and Hernandez (RBI). �Harrison hit another sacrifice fly to score Ford. �D’Arnaud came in on an RBI ground out by Hague. �The final two Curve runs came in the 8th, on a 2-run homer by Hague, following a double by Harrison.

Derek Hankins pitched two perfect innings for the Curve, with two strikeouts. �Jeff Sues finished the game with a perfect 9th inning, with one strikeout.

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Cunningham, Noris, and Baker Homer in Power Loss

Some early games today in the lower minors:

Asheville Tourists �11, �West Virginia Power �5 (box)

All of the Power’s scoring was done with home runs today, and even that wasn’t enough to catch up to Asheville. �They did not score at all in the first 6 innings, despite getting a reasonable number of runners on base — 2 walks to CF Evan Chambers and DH Kyle Morgan, one�walk to C Pat Irvine, two doubles by Chambers and one by LF Rogelios Noris, a single by 2B Jarek Cunningham.

The Power were behind 7-0 going into the top of the 8th, when they finally got some runs. �Noris walked, and 1B Aaron Baker blasted his 7th home run of the season to put the Power onto the scoreboard. �They added 3 more runs in the 9th, when SS Benji Gonzalez doubled, then Cunningham and Noris smacked back-to-back home runs. �That was not nearly enough, though.

Nate Baker pitched 5 innings in his start for the Power, and he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and a walk. �A single, a wild pitch, and two ground outs brought in the first Asheville run in the 1st inning. �Two singles, a double, a triple, a wild pitch, and a double steal all contributed to bring in 3 runs in the 2nd. �Another triple plus a sacrifice fly added a run in the 5th, and the Tourists had a 5-0 lead. �Gabriel Alvarado relieved Baker to begin the 6th inning. �He retired the side in order, for the first time in the game, in the 6th, but then gave up 2 more runs in the 7th, on a single, an RBI double, a walk, and two more singles. �Jhonatan Ramos took over on the mound in the 8th, and he got into trouble quickly, as the first four batters reached base safely — double, single, walk, and double. �The double plated 2 runs, and after two outs, another double drove in 2 more runs, and the Marauders were down 11-2. �Not even a 9th inning rally could change their fate.

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