Rough Nights For Miller, Pounders

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:

GCL Pirates  3,  GCL Blue Jays 2   (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum.  After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play.  He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base. 
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning.  CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt.  1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa.   LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second.  A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.  

David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th.  He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single.  The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning.  3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases.  Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third.  RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate.  The Pirates were up 3-1.

Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez.   The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2.  Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game.  Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.

GCL Pirates  1,  GCL Blue Jays  0   (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work.  He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters.  In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play.  Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base. 

The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts.  2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play.  DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base.  Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded.  The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk.  He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind.  RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.  

Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.  

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Homers By Marte, Rodriguez, Cunningham, And Rojas

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.  

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Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games.  Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings.  The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings.  The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base.  Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.  He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.  

The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings.  They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk.  He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down.  Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning.  Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play.  Farrell scored on the error.  CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.  

Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th.  He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single.  An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run.  Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.  

Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.  

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2011 Prospect Watching: Sosa and Cayones

Continuing to look at some of the Pirates’ prospects, starting in the outfield….

Junior Sosa —  L/L,  5′ 10″ , 139 lb
Sosa is a Venezuelan outfielder, who just turned 20 years old in October.  After two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League, Sosa made his US debut in 2010 with the GCL Pirates.  His speed made him a good fit in center field, which is where he played most of his games (just a few in left and right fields).  He had not been doing much base-stealing in the VSL, but once he got to the GCL, Sosa got moving and did a lot of stealing (20 bases), showing off that speed.  Sosa is not a big guy, and he has not developed much power at all, but he was an effective lead-off batter, with a solid .296 average and a .379 OBP.  He could improve his walk rate — he walked just 18 times, but he only struck out 20 times.  Sosa was hottest in July, when he hit .370 in 17 games, with 5 RBI.  He stole half of his bases (10) in August.  Getting on base and stealing bases is going to be his strength as he moves up, probably to State College for 2011.  A big thing for Sosa to work on — he had a big differential facing right-handed vs. left-handed pitching:  .333 against righties and .209 against the southpaws.  

Exicardo Cayonez  –  L/L,  6′ 0″, 183 lb
Cayonez is another Venezuelan, a year younger than Sosa, and possibly ahead of him in development.  Cayonez played just one VSL season, then moved up to the GCL for the 2010 season.  Cayonez is also speedy and can probably handle center field, though he played all but 2 of his GCL games in left field in 2010.  He hit .263, a little lower than Sosa, in 2010, but showed some power — 11 doubles, and 2 triples, with many of them line drives.  Cayonez also had a strong month of July, hitting .333, including 5 doubles and 11 RBI, though also with 17 strikeouts.  He slipped way down in August, when he hit .133, with 9 strikeouts.  Cayones needs to work on getting the strikeout rate down.  He might be doing that in State College, though he has a better chance than Sosa does to get a try at West Virginia
 

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Gonzalez’s Walk-Off Homer, Krol’s 30th Save

A busy Friday for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:

Bradenton Marauders� 5,� Jupiter Hammerheads� 3 (box)

The Marauders posted 14 hits, with each member of the line-up collecting at least one.� C Eric Fryer had a perfect 4-for-4 night, with all four hits singles.� SS Greg Picart had 2 singles, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled and homered.� They scored only 5 runs on those 14 hits, though, leaving 13 runners on base.

Bradenton began scoring in the 2nd inning, on Fryer’s first single and an RBI double by 1B Calvin Anderson. Latimore’s double and a single by DH Jeremy Farrell to score Latimore added another run in the 3rd.� Latimore’s home run over the left field wall made it 3-0 in the 5th inning.� The Marauders took advantage of an error by the Hammerheads to score agin in the 6th.� With one out, Greg Picart singled and 2B Shelby Ford reached on a fielding error in left field, which let the speedy Picart score from first base.� Ford went to third base on the error, and he scored on RF Robbie Grossman’s RBI single.

Nate Baker earned his 2nd win with the Marauders, going 6 shutout innings and allowing only 2 hits, with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts.� Three of those walks came in the bottom of the 1st inning, but Baker got out of that bases-loaded jam with a pop out and two fly outs.� He had two more runners in scoring position in the 2nd, with a walk and a double, but got out of that jam too.� The other single he allowed came with two outs in the 3rd.� After that single, Baker retired the next 10 batters he faced, to finish his night.

Craig Hansen came on in relief of Baker to begin the 7th.� He kept Jupiter from scoring in the 7th, despite two runners in scoring position from a hit batter, a single, and a wild pitch.� The Hammerheads’ only runs came in the 8th, and only one of the three runs was earned.� A double and two walks loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly brought in the earned run.� After a second out, Hansen was relieved by Duke Welker. The first batter Welker faced took a ball into center field, but an error by CF Starling Marte caused two unearned runs to score.� Welker finished that inning with a line out to short.

Noah Krol earned his 30th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning.� He leads the Florida State League in saves — #2 has 28 saves and #3 has 21 saves.� How many saves do you need to have before you get promoted?

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