Moving on to look at the middle infielders in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Jorge Bishop — R/R, 5′ 10″, 152 lb
Bishop is a Panamanian native who did very well at age 18 in the VSL, where he hit .308 with 9 homers and 41 RBI. He made his US debut in 2010. In the early part of the season he got 4 fill-in starts with A+ Bradenton, where he went 3-for-12, which was very nice for playing a few levels up. He spent the rest of the season with the GCL Pirates, where he hit .257 in 50 games. He had solid power, with 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 homers, and the potential is there for his power to improve. Bishop split his playing time between second base and shortstop and is thought to have good speed — 12 stolen bases. He’ll turn 20 years old this week, and he should be ready to move up to State College for 2011.
Walker Gourley – R/R, 6′ 0″, 180 lb
Gourley was the Pirates’ 13th round pick in the 2009 draft. He missed a lot of playing time due to an ankle injury in 2009, but was slated to move to State College for 20100. He also got in a few games as a fill-in at Bradenton in May of 2010, where he went 1-for-8 at the plate, before the State College season began. Gourley did not hit well at State College, though, and he did not show much power either. His best month was July, when he had a .204 average and 13 RBI. He finished with a .168 average, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, and 23 RBI. Strikeouts are a big problem for Walker — 76 in 61 games (32.8%). Gourley’s playing time was divided between second base (32 games), shortstop (21 games), and a little bit at third (9 games). There is some question about whether he has the range to be an effective middle infielder, or whether he might be better moved to third base. Gourley will turn 20 years old in June, so he still has time to figure it out, as long as he starts hitting soon and cuts back on the strikeouts.
Lots of action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates on Thursday….
Richmond Flying Squirrels� 9,� Altoona Curve� 6�� (Game 1)..� (box)
This was the wrap-up of a suspended game from… awhile back.� 2B Jordy Mercer had 3 hits in the game with an RBI, and LF Jim Negrych had a single, a double, and an RBI for the Curve.� The Curve scored first, with 3 runs in the bottom of hte 1st, on a double by 3B Shelby Ford, an RBI single by Mercer, walks to both C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones (back when he was still on the team), and a 2-RBI single by RF Miles Durham.
Richmond came back to tie the score with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, on four singles and a throwing error by 1B Matt Hague. Then they took the lead with another 3 runs in the top of the 3rd, on a walk and three doubles.� Starter Tim Alderson was responsible for 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 3 innings.� Dustin Molleken took over for Alderson, and retired the side in the top of the 4th inning.� The Curve began the bottom of the inning with a walk to Durham, a single by CF Anthony Norman, and a sacrifice bunt by Molleken, to put both runners into scoring position.� That was when play was halted.� When the game resumed, SS Chase d’Arnaud singled, scoring Durham.� PH/3B Josh Harrison grounded to short, which let Norman score also.� Mercer singled again, but was left on base.� The Curve had closed the gap, 6-5
Derek Hankins took over for Molleken after the restart.� He pitched 5 innings, scattering two hits and a walk over the first four of those innings.� The Curve also put runners on base in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, but did not score.
In the top of the 9th, Hankins gave up a single and an RBI double, then three more singles, increasing Richmond’s lead to 9-5.� The Curve got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 9th, when Hague walked, and moved to third on a fielding error that also put Watts on base.� Jim Negrych singled into left field, bringing in Hague from third.� Watts also tried to score, coming from second base, but he was out at the plate on the throw in from left field, ending the game.
Curve� 5,� Flying Squirrels� 1�� (Game 2)..� (box)
The Curve turned the tables in the second game, which was scheduled for only 7 innings.� Rudy Owens buzzed through 6 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits and one walk, while striking out 5 batters.� He surrendered a single in the 2nd and a double in the 4th, then a walk in the 6th.� It was Owens’ 11th win of the season.� Daniel Moskos wrapped things up in the 7th inning.� He loaded the bases with two walks and a single.� A grounder force out brought in Richmond’s only run, but then Moskos ended the game with a strikeout.
2B Jordy Mercer’s bat was still hot, as he collected another 2 hits.� He and LF Jim Negrych both singled in the 4th, then C Hector Gimenez reached on a throwing error, which brought in Negrych with the first run of the game.� A walk to 3B Josh Harrison and singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer scored Harrison with another run in the 5th.� SS Chase d’Arnaud added three more runs with a 3-run homer in the 6th, also plating CF Anthony Norman, who had walked, and pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, who had singled.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers on Saturday…
Altoona Curve� 10,� Binghamton Mets� 4 (box)
The Curve posted 14 hits, with two big innings, as all but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit in the game, as starter Rudy Owens earned his 10th win of the season.� SS Jordy Mercer doubled three times and 1B Matt Hague doubled twice, with 4 RBI.� Even Owens doubled, walked, and scored twice.
Owens got off to a little bit of a shaky start on the mound.� He gave up a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly to begin the bottom of the 1st.� A single and a double gave the Mets a second run in the 3rd.� Owens settled in after that, and allowed just one hit in each of the 4th and 5th.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 4th, after putting runners on base in each of the first three innings but failing to score.� In the 4th,� Mercer hit his first double, and he scored on RF Miles Durham’s RBI single.� Then they broke through in the 5th.� Owens led off the inning with a walk.� LF Jose De Los Santos singled, then 3B Josh Harrison bunted both runners into scoring position.� 2B Jim Negrych was intentionally walked to load the bases.� Hague cleared the bases with a double into left field, then Mercer hit his second double (this one was a ground-rule double), plating Hague.� The Curve had a 5-2 lead.
The next inning began with a solo home run by Miles Durham.� One out later, Owens doubled, and De Los Santos singled.� A fielding error on a ball hit to third by Harrison let Owens score.� Negrych brought in both Owens and De Los Santos with another double, and Hague made it three doubles in the inning with his 26th of the season, bringing in Negrych with the fifth run of the inning.� The Curve were up, 10-2.
Mike Colla relieved Owens to begin the 6th.� He gave up a solo homer in that inning, and another solo homer in the 8th, but retired the other 12 batters he faced in 4 innings.� Owens earned his 10th win of the season, and Colla earned his first save.
Early and late action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Portland Sea Dogs� 9,� Altoona Curve� 8 (box)
Two home runs by 3B Josh Harrison and an early lead from a 5-run 2nd inning were washed away by the Sea Dogs’ 6-run 7th inning this afternoon.� Harrison, the second batter of the game, put the Curve onto the scoreboard minutes after the game began with his solo home run over the left field wall.� He added the second home run (his 3rd of the season) in the next inning.� That rally began with back-to-back walks by RF Miles Durham and C Kris Watts. CF Anthony Norman was hit by a pitch to load the bases for LF Jose De Los Santos. A line drive single by De Los Santos brought in Durham, then a wild pitch let Watts score.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud lifted a sacrifice fly, which plated Norman.� That left De Los Santos on base for Harrison, who blasted his second home run, also over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer, giving the Curve a 6-0 lead.
Bryan Morris began his afternoon’s work by allowing only a walk and a single over the first three innings.� In the 4th, he gave up a single just over the head of SS Jordy Mercer and into left field, then a home run on a rising line drive, cutting the Curve’s lead to 6-2.� Those were the only runs Morris allowed, on 3 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings.
Morris was relieved by Tom Boleska to begin the 6th.� Boleska gave up a solo homer, to 1B Anthony Rizzo, inching the Sea Dogs closer, 6-3.� But the real trouble came in the 7th, when Boleska could not retire any of the 4 batters he faced.� The first blasted a solo home run, then the next three all singled.� Derek Hankins replaced Boleska with the bases loaded and no outs.� He got one out on the infield fly rule, then got former Curve Ray Chang to strike out.� That brought Rizzo to the plate again — and he smashed a grand slam over the center field wall, and Portland had a 7-6 lead.� The grand slam was immediately followed by another solo home run, the third homer of the inning, for an 8-6 lead.� Five of those runs were charged to Boleska, and the other two to Hankins.
The Curve put one runner on base in each of the 4th through 7th innings, but could not get any of them around to score.� They rallied again in the 8th, starting with a single by 1B Matt� Hague and a double by Jordy Mercer, moving Hague to third base.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly brought in Hague, and Kris Watts’ double scored Mercer.� Norman was hit by a pitch and De Los Santos singled to deep short to load the bases.� But a grounder force out ended the inning with the Curve still one run short.� They went down in order in the 9th, and the Sea Dogs had the come-from-behind win.� Morris did not figure into the decision, but Boleska took the loss.
Minor League action with the Pirates’ affiliates on Thursday… lots of good pitching
Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 3 (box)
The Curve came from behind to take this game from Trenton, despite being out-hit 8-7.� Starter Jeff Locke had trouble in the 1st inning, when 3 runs scored on a double, three singles, a wild pitch, and a throwing error by C Hector Gimenez on a stolen base play.� After that inning, Locke settled in, scattering four hits over the next 5 innings, while striking out 6 batters.
The Curve batters had only 2 hits over the first 3 innings, but they got going in the 4th to put one run on the board.� LF Andrew Lambo walked, and 1B Matt Hague singled.� A ground out to second by Gimenez moved both runners into scoring position, and 2B Jim Negrych picked up an RBI when his groundout scored Lambo.� DH Yung Chi Chen got the 5th inning off to a good start with a triple into left field.� He scored on CF Anthony Norman’s sacrifice fly.� A fielding error in left field put Norman on first base, but he was caught stealing moments later.� SS Chase d’Arnaud kept the rally going with a walk, and he was successful in stealing second.� 3B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch moved d’Arnaud to third and Harrison to second.� Lambo’s grounder to second brought in d’Arnaud from third, and the score was tied at 3-3.
Jared Hughes took over for Locke for the final three innings.� He held the Thunder to just a walk in the 7th, retiring the other 9 batters he faced, with the help of some outstanding outfield work, particularly by Norman, and an infield gem by Negrych.� The Curve threatened in the 6th, when RF Miles Durham singled and Chen walked with 2 outs, but both were left on base.� Harrison began the 7th inning with a walk, and with two outs, he stole second base.� That put him into scoring position, so that when Hague took a 3-0 pitch into left field for a double, Harrison was able to score the go-ahead run.� Gimenez was intentionally walked to get to Negrych, who obligingly grounded to second base for what should have been the final out of the inning.� But the Trenton second baseman made a fielding error — Negrych was safe at first, and Hague scored an insurance run.