Wins all around for the rest of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:
Altoona Curve 10, Erie Seawolves 7
Three home runs and a 4-run 2nd inning sparked the Curve to their second win of the season on Sunday afternoon. The scoring got started in the top of the 1st, when 2B opened the game with a single, moved to third on CF Starling Marte’s double, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI ground out. The Curve made it 5-1 with 4 more runs in the 2nd. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, but was forced out at second on RF Jose Hernandez’s grounder, though they avoided the double play. Holt singled, then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position. Hernandez scored on Marte’s RBI ground out, Mercer drove in Holt with a double, and C Tony Sanchez followed with his first homer of the season, driving in Mercer as well.
The Curve tacked on another run in each of the next two innings. 3B Jeremy Farrell reached base on a throwing error in the 3rd, and scored on Hernandez’s double. Marte led off the 4th with a solo home run. They took a break for two innings, then Farrell added his 2-run homer in the 7th, bringing in Sanchez, who had singled. Altoona’s final run came in the top of the 9th, with a two-out double by LF Quincy Latimore, an intentional walk by Farrell, and an RBI single by Fryer.
Holt had 3 hits in the game, raising his average to .400. Marte (.375), Sanchez (.300), and Farrell (.313) each had 2 hits.
Jared Hughes made the start for the Curve. He pitched 4 innings, and allowed 3 runs. A double and a single gave Erie one run in the 2nd inning, then a walk, a double, and two ground outs scored two runs in the 3rd. Mike Colla relieved Hughes to begin the 5th. A hit batter and a triple gave the Sea Wolves one run in the 6th, but Colla kept Erie from scoring in his other two innings. Anthony Claggett pitched the 8th inning and gave up two home runs — a solo homer to open the inning, then a 2-run homer after a single. Noah Krol took the 9th, and loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a game-ending double play. Colla earned the win, and Krol earned the Save.
Continuing to work our way up the chain of outfielders in the Pirates’ organization, today looking at two from the 2009 draft.
Evan Chambers — R/R, 5′ 11″, 210 lbs
Chambers is a Florida native who will turn 22 years old next month. He was chosen by the Pirates in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft. After a slow start at State College that season, he picked it up in the last month of the season, to finish 2009 with a .245 average, 4 homers, and 22 RBI in 58 games. Chambers was promoted to A level West Virginia for the 2010 season, and he spent the whole year there, as the team’s starting center fielder. Chambers appeared in 116 games, all but one in center field. He has reasonable speed and a reasonable throwing arm — he had 12 outfield assists in 2010. At the plate, Chambers has shown a lot of patience, which turns out to be both his strength and his weakness. He led the South Atlantic League in walks with 92 (18%). But, sometimes he also watched strike three go by, averaging one strikeout per game (116, 28%). That added up to a low batting average for most of the season. He did hit .284 in May, then dropped back down to .226 in June and .294 in July. Chambers started pulling it together in August, hitting .311 in the first half of the month, but then had his hot streak abruptly halted when he was hit in the head by a pitch. When he returned to the line-up two weeks later, he went 1-for-19, then finished with a pop, going 3-for-4 on the last day of the season. He showed some power, with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 12 homers, and 52 RBI. Chambers hits righties and lefties about the same (.236 vs. .247). When he does get on base, he can steal. He stole 35 bases, though was thrown out 17 times. Chambers should move up to A+ Bradenton for 2011, where he’ll need to work on dropping that strikeout rate. More hitting will also mean more power numbers.
Jose Hernandez — Bats Right / Throws Left, 5′ 11″, 190 lb
Hernandez was the Pirates’ 23rd round pick in the 2009 draft, taken in his senior year of college (University of Texas – San Antonio). That makes him on the older side for playing in West Virginia last year (24 years old) and presumably Bradenton in 2011. He reported to State College after being drafted in 2009, but only got into 8 games before being sidelined by an ankle injury. Hernandez was assigned to West Virginia for 2010, despite so little time at State College, and once he got some playing time, he was able to get going. He hit .242 in May, but popped up to .319 in June, with 5 homers and 14 RBI. The average dipped to .267 in July, but he kept up the power, with 4 more home runs and 18 RBI. He was back to .312 in August, adding 3 homers and 13 RBI. His strikeout rate was high (81, 22%), but not as high as Chambers’. Hernandez was steady in the outfield, both left and right, and he also did a lot of DH-ing. He may not be a regular in the outfield in Bradenton, but they will be happy to have his bat in the lineup, so look for him to DH quite a bit.
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.
Monday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues…�� The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off.
Palm Beach Cardinals� 6,� Bradenton Marauders� 5 (box)
The Marauders wanted to celebrate the return of 3B Jeremy Farrell with a big win, but a 3-run 7th inning by the Cardinals spoiled their plans.� Farrell finished his rehab stint with the GCL Pirates and returned to the Marauders’ line-up for the first time since he injured his knee on a foul ball in mid-June.� Farrell got right back at it, doubling in a run in the 5th, and scoring in the Marauders’ 4th inning rally.
Bradenton was the first to have the lead in the game, when they scored a run in the 2nd.� LF Quincy Latimore was hit by a pitch, moved to second base on Farrell’s groundout, and scored on C Eric Fryer’s RBI single.� The Cardinals tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd with a solo home run, then followed the homer with back-to-back doubles to take a 2-1 lead.
The Marauders responded with 2 runs in the top of the 4th.� Latimore again got the rally started, this time with a walk.� Farrell grounded to short, but was safe when the Cardinals’ second baseman missed the catch on the flip from his shortstop.� Instead of what might have been a double play, the Marauders had runners on first and second bases with no outs.� A fly out let Latimore tag up and move to third base.� Fryer knocked another RBI single, scoring Latimore, and DH Jordan Newton RBI single brought in Farrell.
RF Robbie Grossman teamed up with Farrell to make it 4-2 in the 5th, when Grossman singled, and scored on Farrell’s double.� The Marauders picked up another run in the 6th, when 2B Adam Davis singled, then advanced to third base on a throwing error.� He scored on another RBI single by Newton.� Palm Beach got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 6th, on two walks and a single.
Nate Baker made the start for the Marauders, going 5 innings and allowing the 2 runs in the 3rd, on a total of 6 hits, no walks, and 3 RBI.� Yerfi Taveras, in his debut with the Marauders, gave up the run on two walks and a single in the 6th, but also struck out a batter and induced an inning-ending double play.
Tyler Cox took over for Taveras to begin the 7th, and he was charged with both the Blown Save and the loss.� He gave up a walk and a single, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.� A fielding error by SS Shelby Ford allowed 2 runs to score (one earned, one not) and a throwing error by Farrell allowed the third run to come in (also unearned).� Duke Welker retired the side in order in the 8th, and the Marauders went down in order in both the 8th and 9th.
News and action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Sunday.� The GCL Pirates and the Bradenton Marauders had scheduled days off today.
Three members of the State College Spikes have been named to the National League squad for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, which will be played on August 17th at the home of the Staten Island Yankees.� IF Matt Curry, the Pirates’ 16th round pick in the 2010 draft, has a .331 batting average, with 3 homers and 19 RBI.�� OF Adalberto Santos was the Pirates’ 22nd round pick in this year’s draft.� He is hitting .313 with 2 homers and 29 RBI, and is tied for second in the league with 37 runs scored.� Reliever Jhonathan Ramos has a 3-1 record and one save, with a 1.54 ERA.� He leads the league in lowest number of baserunners allowed at 6.56/9 innings.� Opposing batters are hitting just .169 against him.
Tri-City Valley Cats� 4,� State College Spikes� 1 (box)
Tri-City took the early lead and never gave it up in this evening’s game.� CF Mel Rojas and 2B Gift Ngoepe led the Spikes with 2 hits each, but the team managed only one run.� Starter Zach Fuesser got into trouble right away in his 5th start for the Spikes.� Two singles, a stolen base, and a 2-RBI single gave Tri-City 2 runs in the top of the 1st.� They added another run in the 2nd on a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.� After a single, a wild pitch, a balk, and a walk in the 4th, Fuesser was relieved by Ryan Beckman, who finished the inning.� Beckman also gave up a walk and a wild pitch in the 5th, but kept Tri-City from scoring in that inning, but he surrendered a run on a single and a double in the 6th.
The Spikes had only one base runner over the first 3 innings, when Rojas walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st.� RF Adalberto Santos singled and stole second base in the 4th, and both C Miguel Mendez and DH Cole White singled with two outs in the 5th, but they were all left on base.� Ngoepe bounced a ground-rule double over the center field wall to begin the 6th, and Santos walked, but three strikeouts left both of them stranded also.� The Spikes scored their only run in the 7th.� 3B Kelson Brown led off with a double, and he scored on Rojas’ single.� Ngoepe also singled, and Santos walked, loading the bases with two outs.� A grounder ended the inning, though, and the Spikes were held to just that one run.� They threatened again in the 9th, when White walked and Rojas singled, but could not push the runner across the plate.
Mitch Fienemann pitched the last 3 innings for the Spikes, and allowed only one hit, while striking out 3 batters.