Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in winter league playoff action …
Tigres de Aragua 5, Bravos de Margarita 4 — A double and a single in the top of the 10th gave Los Tigres the winning run. Los Tigres had started the scoring in the top of the 1st, on three singles, including an RBI single by LF Lastings Milledge. Los Bravos countered with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th. Milledge tied the score with a solo home run in the top of the 6th. With Jean Machi on the mound for Margarita in the top of the 8th, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch put a Tigres’ batter on third base, and he scored on an RBI single. Machi came back to pitch a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th. Los Bravos tied the score again in the bottom of the 9th on a solo homer. Los Tigres broke the tie in the top of the 10th, then held off Los Bravos in the bottom of the frame. Wil Ledezma pitched a perfect 6th inning for Los Tigres, then gave up a 2-out single in the 7th. C Raul Chavez and 1B Hector Gimenez picked that runner off first base to get Los Tigres out of the inning. Gimenez went 0-for-4 at the plate, and Chavez went 0-for-2. Miguel Perez came into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement behind the plate, but did not have a plate appearance.
Leones del Caracas 10, Caribes de Anzoategui 6 — Seven runs in the top of the 1st gave Los Leones an edge that Los Caribes could not overcome. Los Leones sent 11 batters to the plate in the 1st inning, and the first 6 batters reached base safely: single, single, walk, grand slam, single, single (by C Carlos Maldonado). After a pop out, LF Mike Ryan hit a 2-run homer, which was followed by a double, before the inning ended. Maldonado added another RBI single in the 2nd inning, and Caracas picked up another 2-run homer in the top of the 9th. Los Caribes scored in all but one of the first 6 innings, but four of those innings brought in just one run, not enough to catch up.
Several moves, shuffling personnel around:
RHP Joe Martinez, who came to the Pirates from the Giants (with John Bowker) in July, was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster and designated for assignment. That frees up a roster spot for newly signed starter Kevin Correia. Martinez joined the Indy Indians after coming to the Pirate organization, and made 4 starts and 3 relief appearances for the Indians. In 28 innings, he earned a 1-2 record and a 5.72 ERA. Then he pitched 8.2 innings over 5 games for the Pirates, for a 3.12 ERA.
Spring Training invitations for the big league camp were extended to pitchers Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson, both of whom pitched in Altoona in 2010. Tyler Yates, working his way back from elbow surgery, was signed to a minor league contract and also invited to major league spring training. Infielder Jeff Clement was also invited to big league camp.
The Pirates have announced the new managers for their minor league teams: Dean Treanor, who was the pitching coach in Indianapolis in 2010, will now be managing the Indians. Frank Kremblas, who has managed in Indianapolis for two years, will move into the role of minor league field/instructional coordinator. PJ Forbes, who managed the Bradenton Marauders in 2010, will manage the Altoona Curve in 2011. Carlos Garcia will move from coaching first base for the Pirates to managing the Marauders. Gary Robinson is moving up from managing the State College Spikes to managing the West Virginia Power, and Dave Turgeon, former coach at Virginia Tech, will become the manager at State College.
And, some winter league action for some Pirates’ players and friends:
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes de Carolina 4, Indios de Mayaguez 2 — For the second night in a row, Benji Gonzalez came into the game as a pinch-hitter for Los Gigantes, then remained in the game on defense. Gonzalez flied out in the top of the 6th, then played second base for one inning, and shortstop for 3 innings. He also grounded out in the 9th. Los Gigantes scored one run in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, and one more in the 5th, while a triple and a double contributed to Los Indios’ 2 runs in the 7th.
Criollos de Caguas 7, Senadores de San Juan 2 — Former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had another big night, going 4-for-5 with 3 doubles, a homer, and 4 RBI. Figueroa flied out in the bottom of the 1st, and that was the only time he was retired. His ground-rule double drive in Los Criollos’ first run in the 3rd. He doubled again (the conventional way) in the 4th, driving in 2 of that inning’s 3 runs. Then he homered to lead off the bottom of the 6th. He also doubled in the 8th, but was left on base. Los Criollos scored 2 runs in the 5th, without Figueroa’s help: three walks, including one by 3B Ramon Vazquez, loaded the bases, then a double brought in two runs. Vazquez also walked in the 2nd inning, but did not score.
Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in Thursday’s winter league action:
Toros del Este 6, Tigres del Licey 0 — Los Tigres were shut-out on 6 hits. They had 2 runners on base in a few innings, but were never able to bring them around to score. New Pirate 1B Andy Marte did not start, but came in to play at first in the 5th inning. He bounced into a double play in the 6th, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 9th. DH Ronny Paulino and LF Jake Fox were both hitless, though Fox walked in the 1st inning. Denny Bautista pitched the final inning for Los Tigres, and gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, and a double. SS Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-3 for Los Toros.
Gigantes del Cibao 3, Estrellas de Oriente 2 — Mike Dubee earned his second Dominican League win for los Gigantes with 1.1 scoreless innings of work. Each team started with a run in the 1st inning — on a homer for Los Estrellas and on a double, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly for Los Gigantes. After the homer, Los Gigantes’ starter Roman Colon retired the next 10 batters in order. Dubee relieved Colon to begin the 5th inning. He gave up a double and a walk, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out. Dubee started the 6th inning with a fly out and a walk, then he was replaced by Juan Perez. Perez finished that inning, but gave up a run on a double and an error in the 7th. Los Gigantes’ C JR House singled to lead off the 5th, then scored on a sacrifice bunt and a single. A solo homer gave Los Gigantes’ one more run in the 6th. House also singled in the 2nd inning.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 15, Indios de Mayaguez 2 — Los Criollos posted 21 hits and scored in all but one of the first 7 innings, including 4 in the 2nd and 5 in the 6th. SS Luis Figueroa singled and doubled and scored twice. 3B Ramon Vazquez singled twice and drove in 2 runs.
Leones de Ponce 3, Senadores de San Juan 0 — Another shut-out, as Los Senadores were held to just 2 hits. Starter Ben Snyder (Rangers, and Ball State University) gave up a walk in the 3rd inning, and lone singles in the 4th and 6th innings, as he pitched 7 innings for the win. RJ Rodriguez earned his 7th Save with a perfect 9th inning.
Cardenales de Lara 6, Tigres de Aragua 5 — A single, two walks, and a sacrifice fly gave Los Cardenales the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th, then held on for the win. Lara put up 13 hits, while Los Tigres had 7 hits, including 2 singles by SS Ronny Cedeno, and 2 doubles by LF Lastings Milledge. Lara scored 4 runs in the 3rd and one more in the 5th. Cedeno singled, stole second, and scored in the 1st inning. He singled again in the 6th to begin a rally. Two walks (one by C Hector Gimenez), a single, and Milledge’s first double, brought in 3 runs for Los Tigres in that inning. Aragua tied the score in the 7th, on an error, a bunt by Cedeno, and an RBI single. That rally was cut short when Romulo Sanchez came on in relief for Lara and ended the inning with two strikeouts. Milledge doubled again in the 8th inning and stole third base, but was out at home on a fielder’s choice.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Venados de Mazatlan 4, Tomateros de Culiacan 2 — LF Rogelios Noris led off the top of the 6th with his 5th double of the season for Los Venados. That sparked a 4-run rally, with three singles driving in three runs, and three walks forcing in a fourth run. Former Pirate SS Luis Cruz drove in Culiacan’s runs with a 2-run homer in the 4th.