Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.
Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Altoona Curve 11, Reading Phillies 1 (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short. The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game. Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs. R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning. The first four Curve batters reached base safely: a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases. After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3). C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again. 2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out. Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning. That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.
But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd. With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in. A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.
Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs. Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd. Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second. Mercer singled, plating Norman. After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base. Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer. Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly. A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1. The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long. Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.
Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 6, Lakewood BlueClaws 1 (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th. The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out. They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single. Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single. DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped. When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score. That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.
Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension. He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning. Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners. The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored. Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score. He also struck out 3 batters.
The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th. RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base. Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate. Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases. Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.
Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring. Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.
The West Virginia Power have a scheduled day off on Tuesday, but the Marauders and the Curve are in action:
Jupiter Hammerheads 4, Bradenton Marauders 3
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The Marauders had the luck to pull off a rare triple play, but Jupiter broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 8th to take the win.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. RF Robbie Grossman opened the game with a walk, then went to third on 2B Kelson Brown’s single up the middle. Grossman scored on 1B Aaron Baker’s sacrifice fly. 3B Elevys Gonzalez also singled, sending Brown around from second, but he was thrown out at the plate. In the bottom of the frame, with Nate Baker on the mound for the Marauders, two lead-off walks and a grounder force out at second put Jupiter runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly brought in the lead runner, and Nate Baker and Aaron Baker combined to pick off and catch stealing the second runner.
Nate Baker retired the side in the 2nd inning, but gave up another run in the bottom of the 3rd, on a single and an RBI double. The double would have been a triple, but an on-target throw from LF David Rubinstein to Elevys Gonzalez at third let Gonzalez tag him out.
The Marauders loaded the bases in the top of the 2nd, when CF Evan Chambers reached on a fielding error, and both DH Calvin Anderson and Grossman walked. But with two outs, a pop out by Brown ended the threat. Both C Ramon Cabrera and Elevys Gonzalez singled in the 3rd, but both were left on base. In the top of the 4th, the Marauders scored twice, courtesy of two wild pitches. Anderson and SS Benji Gonzalez both walked to lead off the inning, and Grossman loaded the bases with a grounder through the hole into left field. A wild pitch let Anderson score from third base, while the other two runners both moved up a base. After two outs, another wild pitch allowed Benji Gonzalez to come across the plate, and the Marauders had a 3-2 lead.
Two strikeouts and a ground out gave Nate Baker a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 4th. He got into trouble again in the 5th, though, with a lead-off double and a hit batter. A sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by Elevys Gonzalez loaded the bases, and an RBI single pushed the lead runner in to tie the score again. With the bases still loaded, the Marauders had a rare triple play: Jupiter’s CF Jose Duarte lined right to Brown, who fired to first, where Aaron Baker doubled off the runner and fired back to Brown, who doubled off the runner at second base. Nate Baker also retired the Hammerheads in order in the 6th. He finished with 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, with 2 strikeouts, but left the game with the score tied, so did not figure into the decision.
The Marauders had 3 batters reach base over the 5th and 6th innings, all on walks. Elevys Gonzalez worked a walk to lead off the 5th, and stole second base. Grossman and Brown both walked with one out in the 6th. None of them came around to score, though. The only other Marauder to reach base was Aaron Baker, who singled with two outs in the top of the 9th. Adalberto Santos came in to pinch-run for Baker, but he did not have a chance to do anything, as a ground out ended the inning.
Brian Leach relieved Nate Baker to begin the 7th inning, and he retired the side on three fly outs. Jhonathan Ramos came on for the 8th inning, and he was charged with the loss when he gave up the winning run. A single and a sacrifice bunt began the inning, then a passed ball put the runner on third base. After an intentional walk, a sacrifice fly brought in the runner from third, to give Jupiter a 4-3 lead. The Marauders could not respond, and Jupiter had the win.
Tonight it’s the Bradenton Marauders who have a scheduled night off….
Altoona Curve 10, Erie SeaWolves 5
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The Curve posted 13 hits, with CF Starling Marte leading the barrage with 3 of them. The Curve jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st and 4 more in the 2nd. 2B Brock Holt opened the bottom of the 1st with a double into center field. Marte’s ground out moved Holt to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s single into left field. Mercer advanced to second base on a ground out by LF Quincy Latimore, and he scored on 1B Matt Curry’s RBI single.
The 2nd inning began with a walk by C Tony Sanchez, followed by a ground-rule double by DH Kris Watts. Both runners held their place on a short fly out and a strike out, then Marte singled, driving in Sanchez. Marte stole second base, and the Erie pitcher threw a wild pitch, allowing Watts to score. A 2-run homer by Mercer brought in Marte and gave the Curve the 6-0 lead.
Erie got two of the runs back in the top of the 3rd off starter Jeff Locke. A single and a hit batter gave the SeaWolves 2 runners on base with 2 outs. The lead runner came in on a fielding error by Mercer, then a single plated the second unearned run of the inning. A double, a fielding error by Latimore, and a sacrifice fly gave Erie a third run in the 4th inning.
The Curve kept adding on. Watts blasted a solo homer in the 3rd. In the 5th, Curry doubled, then scored on Sanchez’s line drive single into center field, and the Curve led 8-3. Sanchez also stole second base and went to third on a throwing error, but was left there when Watts struck out.
Locke pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, no walks, while striking out 8 batters. Tim Alderson came on in relief to begin the 7th, but he got into trouble right away. With one out, he gave up a single and three consecutive walks, driving in a run. Michael Dubee replaced Alderson, and he got the next batter to ground out, but that brought in another run, also charged to Alderson. Dubee ended the inning with a strikeout. Dubee also pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing 2 singles. Noah Krol pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.
Altoona rallied one more time in the bottom of the 8th. With one out, Watts was hit by a pitch, and RF Brad Chalk ripped a triple into right field, easily scoring Watts. Chalk scored on Holt’s RBI single, and Marte also added a single — his third of the game.