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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Alvarez Starts With GCL Pirates

The Pirates have optioned SS Pedro Ciriaco to AAA Indianapolis.  This opens a roster spot for OF Alex Presley, who will be officially called up on Tuesday (the Pirates have a day off on Monday).  UPDATE:  Presley has officially been called up, and will join the Pirates in Toronto.

Also promoted:  pitcher Rinku Singh has been promoted from the GCL Pirates to State College.   Singh has pitched a total of 15 innings so far this season.  Eleven of those came on 3 appaearances with the DSL team.  He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts in the Dominican.  In one appearance last week with the GCL Pirates, Singh pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out 5 batters.  Singh pitched in one game for the Spikes at the end of the 2010 season.  He went 2 innings in that game, and gave up only one hit, with one strikeout.  

Monday’s game action:

GCL Pirates  1,  GCL Phillies  0…. for 1.5 innings
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3B Pedro Alvarez made his first official rehab start this afternoon.  It didn’t last long, though that had nothing to do with him: the game was suspended due to rain after just 1.5 innings.  Alvarez was the Pirates’ lead-off batter.  He got one trip to the plate, in which he grounded out to second base.  CF Willy Garcia was the only batter on either team to reach base, when he blasted a solo homer in the top of the 2nd.  Pirates’ starter Luis Heredia pitched to just 3 batters in the bottom of the first — two strikeouts and a pop out to C Joey Schoenfeld.  

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Leach’s First Win In Marauders’ Hit-Fest

The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract.  He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College.  Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.  

Friday’s game action:

Harrisburg Senators  2,  Altoona Curve  0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel.  Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings.  The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings.  He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings.  Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single.  That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.

But the Curve weren’t scoring either.  They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer.  Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base.  RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice.  CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout.  1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second.  2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.  

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Power Shut Out ‘Hoppers; Curve Have A Hit-Fest In 10th Inning Win

The Indianapolis Indians have a scheduled day off today (Wednesday).  A few bits of news for an off-day:

P Jose Ascanio and C Wyatt Toregas have cleared waivers and both will be assigned to the Indians.   Anthony Claggett was returned to the Altoona Curve.

The Pirates have signed four of their recent draft picks:  
SS Brian Sharp (24th round) from California Baptist University
SS Kirk Singer (29th round) from Long Beach State
RHP Matt Benedict (30th round) from Western Carolina University
C Derek Trent (31st round) from East Tennessee State

Here’s the list of all the draft picks, which will be updated with the signings as they occur.   

Sharp, Singer, and Trent are listed on the State College roster.  The State College Spikes begin their season on Friday.

The Pirates also signed LHP Robbie Kilcrease, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech.  The redshirt junior made 12 starts this year for Texas Tech.  He had a total of 63.1 innings, with a 5.97 ERA. 

On to Wednesday evening’s action:

West Virginia Power  3,  Greensboro Grasshoppers  0
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The Power did all the scoring they needed in their first at-bats, as three Power pitchers combined for a shutout.  With one out in the top of the 1st, 2B Andy Vasquez lined a single into center field, then stole second base.  He scored on RF Dan Grovatt’s double lined into right field.  Grovatt stole third base, and he scored on 1B Justin Howard’s RBI ground out.  CF Mel Rojas added one more insurance run for the Power in the 4th inning with a solo home run.  

After the homer, the Power lost some of their power.  They managed only 3 hits over the rest of the game — a single by Rojas in the 6th, a double by DH Jairo Marquez in the 7th, and a single by 3B Eric Avila in the 9th.  

Brandon Cumpton worked around a walk and a single in the bottom of the 1st, then gave up two more singles in the 3rd, but got out of that jam too, partly due to a double play.  Cumpton also gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, but still did not let the runners come around to score.  He began the 6th with a walk and a double play, then loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter, and a walk.  Kevin Decker came on in relief of Cumpton, and Decker ended the inning with a fly out, still not letting a run score.  

Decker pitched 2 more scoreless innings, though he gave up a walk and two singles in the 7th, and another single in the 8th.  Jason Townsend pitched the 9th, also giving up a walk and erasing the runner with a double play.  Cumpton earned his 7th win of the season, and Townsend earned his 6th Save.  

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Curve Game Suspended With 10-Run Lead; Marauders And Power Need Extras

Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:

Altoona Curve  11,  Reading Phillies  1  (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short.  The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game.  Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs.  R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning.  The first four Curve batters reached base safely:  a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases.  After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3).  C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again.  2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out.  Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning.  That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.  

But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd.  With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in.  A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.  

Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st.  He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs.  Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd.  Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second.  Mercer singled, plating Norman.  After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base.  Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer.  Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly.  A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1.  The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long.  Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.  

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