Stolen Bases Hurt Power; Alvarez Continues Rehab

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston.  The GCL Pirates have the day off.

Greensboro Grasshoppers  10,  West Virginia Power  2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon.   Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk.  The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single.  Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th.  Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order.  In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single.  There were three stolen bases in that inning.  Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored.  Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single.  The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.   

The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings.  Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.   1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base.  SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play.  2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off.  Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate.  DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.  

Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single.  The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th.  With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked.  White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score.  Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.  

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Curve Scoreless Again, Marauders Bomb Mets

Some Sunday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization… the GCL Pirates had the day off.

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were again held scoreless this afternoon.  That means that in the last 5 games (44 innings), the Curve have scored just one run.   Today the team was held to 3 hits, and those were the only Curve batters to reach base.  The first 10 batters were retired in order.  2B Brock Holt doubled in the 4th inning, then the next 6 batters were retired.  Pinch-hitter Brad Chalk singled in the 6th, and was out at second when CF Starling Marte grounded into a force out.  The Curve also went down in order in the 7th and 8th innings.  Marte doubled with one out in the 9th, but two fly outs left Marte still standing on second base when the game ended.

Phillip Irwin made the start for Altoona.  He allowed two singles over the first two innings, but ran into difficulty in the 4th.  A single began the inning, then Irwin recorded two outs.  That was followed by an RBI single, a double, a 2-RBI single, and a throwing error.  One more run scored on a wild pitch, to give the Senators a 4-0 lead.  Irwin finished his afternoon with those 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits, no walks, with 6 strikeouts in 5 innings of work.  

Bryan Morris relieved Irwin and pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing a walk and a single in the 7th.  Tim Alderson pitched the 8th, and gave up a single and a 2-run homer for the Senators’ final two runs.  

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Indians Postponed; McPherson’s First AA Win

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
 

Thursday’s action:

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.  

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Homers For Cunningham, Mort, and Howard In Sunday Wins

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.  

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McPherson’s AA Debut; Power Win Two

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.   

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