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.
Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.
3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison. Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh. Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis. INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.
Bradenton Marauders 8, St. Lucie Mets 1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton. Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders. He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way. Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.
Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record). The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double. Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings. He hit another batter and he struck out 5.
The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th. Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third. DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases. CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos. LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again. After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.
Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning. Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning. Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.
The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring. Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field. Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.
More brief notes for Saturday, since we’re on the road….
Florida State League All-Star Game, played in Clearwater, Florida
FSL North 5, FSL South 3
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Three Marauders’ players got in on this game: C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, and 2B Jarek Cunningham were all starters for the South squad. The North scored first, with a single, a triple, and fielding error in center field in the bottom of the 1st, for a 2-0 lead. The South tied it up in the top of the 4th, thanks to the Marauders. Cabrera led off with a single through to left field. After two outs, Baker brought in Cabrera with a 2-run homer to tie the game.
The North took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th. A walk, a stolen base, an RBI double, and an RBI single gave the North a 4-2 lead. The North added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double. The South had one last chance in the top of the 9th, which began with a lead-off single. Baker grounded out, moving the runner to second base, and another single put him on third. A sacrifice fly brought in the run, but a ground out ended the rally and the game.
Cabrera played 3.5 innings before being replaced by another catcher. He went 1-for-2, with a ground out in his other at-bats. Cunningham played 5.5 innings before letting another second baseman get into the game. He grounded out and popped out in his two plate appearances. Baker played the whole game, and went 1-for-2 at the plate, with two walks.
Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:
The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend. The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL. Representing the Marauders: C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham. Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.
The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates. Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.
Williamsport Crosscutters 7, State College Spikes 0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season. Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd. That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second. After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning. A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0. Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out. Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles. Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.
The Spikes collected 6 hits. C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks, CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled. The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder. Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate. They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.
The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there! The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed. There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game. The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm. Both will be 9-inning games.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: 3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono. My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.
The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport. The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
Altoona Curve 3, New Britain Rock Cats 1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game. McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level. Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners. He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single. McPherson also struck out 4 batters.
The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base. Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer. Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order over the next three innings. They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles. Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly. 1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base. The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked. They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening. Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left. After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases. But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.