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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Allie’s Pro Debut; Miller’s 5th Win; GLC Pirates Begin

The Altoona Curve have a scheduled day off today (Monday), and the West Virginia Power are off for the first day of their All-Star Break.  The All-Star Game will be played in Delmarva on Tuesday, with Brandon Cumpton, Jameson Taillon, and Dan Grovatt representing the Power.  

Auburn Doubledays  7 ,  State College Spikes  6
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Pirates’ 2nd round draft pick from 2010, Stetson Allie, made his professional debut tonight, as the starting pitcher for the State College Spikes, though he did not factor into the decision.  Allie struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a single, struck out the next batter, and gave up an RBI double.  A line out ended the inning.  The second inning went better, as Allie retired three Auburn batters in order, including another strikeout.  

The third inning was another tough one for Allie.  A single and a walk opened the inning.  After a fly out, both runners stole the next base, and a walk loaded the bases.  Allie also walked the next batter, forcing in a run.  That signaled the end of his evening.  Cliff Archibald relieved Allie, but Archibald also walked in a run (charged to Allie), before getting the inning-ending double play.  Allie was responsible for 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts, in 2.1 innings.  
State College got onto the scoreboard with a run in the 3rd.  SS Kirk Singer led off with a double, then DH Carlos Mesa singled, moving Singer to third.  C Samuel Gonzalez’s RBI single brought in Singer, to cut the Auburn lead to 3-1.  The Spikes tied the game in the 4th.  1B Walker Gourley led off with a single and moved to second base on a wild pitch, then to third on a ground out.  Singer walked, then CF Taylor Lewis’ sacrifice fly scored Gourley.  Singer stole second base, then scored on RF Justin Benscko’s RBI single.  

Archibald went on to pitch the 4th and 5th innings, allowing a walk and a single, but keeping Auburn scoreless.  Emmanuel De Leon relieved Archibald to begin the 6th inning, and gave up only a double in that inning.  With two outs in the 7th, De Leon gave up a double and a 2-run homer.  The Spikes got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, with a single by Benscko, a stolen base and a missed catch error to put Benscko onto third, and a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez.  

De Leon started the top of the 8th by giving up a walk and a stolen base.  After two outs, a single, a throwing error by Singer, and a double gave Auburn 2 more runs, for a 7-4 lead.  Jesus Brito relieved De Leon and ended the 8th inning with a fly out.  Singer tried to make up for his error with an RBI double after a single by 3B Brian Sharp, bringing the score to 7-5.  Brito pitched a scoreless top of the 9th.  The Spikes tried for another rally in the bottom of the 9th.  With one out, Benscko singled, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a second wild pitch.  After a walk to Mesa, Gonzalez brought in Benscko with a sacrifice fly.  But a strikeout ended the inning and the game without the Spikes being able to catch up.                                       

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2011 Prospect Watching: Heredia, Pevny, Kingham, Weidman

Moving on to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization, going generally from the lower levels to the upper levels.  

Luis Heredia —  R/R,  6′ 6″, 185 lb
Heredia is the 16-year-old Mexican phenom prospect, who was signed last year.  He received the highest bonus ever given by the Pirates to an international prospect, but remember that under the Mexican League rules, his Mexican team got 75% of that money.  That still left enough money for Heredia to recently buy a house in Bradenton and have his mom come to live there with him.  Heredia reportedly threw 6 different pitches in Mexico, but the Pirates are having him concentrate on the fastball, curve, and change-up, with emphasis on control and command.  Heredia has been spending a lot of time observing the players in big league spring training camp, and the Pirates have been impressed with his level of maturity for his age.  At 16, he has a lot of work to do, clearly, but the Pirates are very excited about an amazing amount of potential.  There was some debate as to whether Heredia should start his pro career in either the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer Leagues (with other players his same age), or whether he should get right into the Gulf Coast League.  He has been pitching against older players in Mexico, and the DSL/VSL would probably not offer him much competition, but the fact that the Pirates did not dissuade him from buying a house in Bradenton is telling.

Logan Pevny  –  R/R,  6′ 3″,  190 lb
Pevny was the Pirates’ 49th pick in the 2010 draft.  This New Jersey student was a hot-hitting shortstop in high school, and began pitching only in his senior year, almost as an afterthought.  After signing, Pevny began his pro career with the GCL Pirates.  He made three appearances.  The first one was one inning, and he struck out 2 batters.  In the second, he gave up a run on a hit and 3 walks in 1.2 innings.  In the third, he went 2 innings, and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and a homer.  After that, he went onto the DL.  Pevny spent the off season doing a lot of working out, and also doing some teaching with little kids.  At age 19, he’s back and ready to go this spring, though, probably heading back to get in more work in the GCL.

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Irwin: 7 No-Hit Innings; Marauders Drop Two

A few roster notes:� RHP Teddy Fallon and LHP Justin Ennis were both promoted from State College to West Virginia.� Fallon was the Pirates’ 43rd pick in the 2009 draft, and Ennis was the 33rd round pick in this year’s draft.� RHP Tom Boleska has been promoted from Bradenton to Altoona.

Altoona’s Bryan Morris has skipped a start, which the Pirates are calling just a “breather”.� He has struggled in his last few starts, but has also stacked up the innings so far this season (103) and the Pirates want him to stay below 140 innings this season.

West Virginia Power� 9,� Hagerstown Suns� 1 (box)

Phillip Irwin pitched 7 no-hit innings for the Power tonight, before he had to be relieved due to his increasing pitch count.� Irwin struck out 8 batters in his 7 innings, and he allowed 2 walks.� He got off to a strong start when he struck out the side in the 1st inning, then struck out 2 more in the 2nd.� The first walk came in the 3rd inning, but that runner was immediately erased when the next batter lined right to 1B Aaron Baker, who stepped on first base for a double play.� The next 7 batters went down in order, until the 6th, when that same batter, C Sandy Leon, walked again.� This time Leon was forced out at second on a grounder, and another ground out ended the inning.� Irwin wrapped up his amazing evening with two more strikeouts in the 7th inning.

Ryan Kelly relieved Irwin and pitched the final two innings.� He allowed one hit, but it was a solo home run.� He also walked a batter in the 9th, and struck out 2 batters.

The rest of the team was busy giving Irwin and Kelly plenty of run support.� They piled up 16 hits, with everyone in the lineup reaching base at least one time, and all but SS Benji Gonzalez picking up at least one hit (Gonzalez had a walk).� 3B Elevys Gonzalez, Aaron Baker, and LF Rogelios Noris each had 3 hits.� Baker led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run.� CF David Rubinstein followed the homer with a double, and Noris added a single to put runners on the corners.� C Jairo Marquez lined a single into center field, scoring Rubinstein to give the Power an early 2-0 lead.

They boosted that lead in the 3rd inning, as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 7 runs.� Six of the first seven batters reached base safely:� 2B Jarek Cunningham and RF Jose Hernandez began with back-to-back singles, and Baker’s double scored Cunningham (#1 run).� Rubinstein’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez (#2).� Noris and DH Kyle Morgan goth singled, and Baker scored (#3).� Marquez doubled in Noris and Morgan (#4, 5), and sent the Hagerstown pitcher to the showers.� Benji Gonzalez flied out, but Elevys Gonzalez singled, plating Marquez (#6).� A fielding error on that play moved Elevys G to second base, and a wild pitch put him on third.� Cunningham’s second single in the inning brought in Elevys G (#7), before a line out ended the inning.

The Power put at least one baserunner on in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them were able to come around to score.

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