A few signing notes for some former Pirates. Of course the biggest news is that OF Lastings Milledge has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox. Inf/Of Alfredo Amezaga (Indy Indians 2005) signed with the Rockies for 2011. Inf Ramon Vazquez has signed with the Cardinals.
The Caribbean Series began play today with each of the for teams holding a 1-1 record.
Mexico 7, Venezuela 3 — The Venezuelans scored a single run in three consecutive innings — a pair of doubles in the 5th, a fielding error with the bases loaded in the 6th, and a single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly in the 7th. But Mexico’s 4-run 5th inning was enough to overcome all of that. Two singles and an error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases for the Mexicans. A double cleared the bases for 3 runs, and a single with an error by LF Jose Castillo added the fourth run. An RBI double and an RBI single gave Mexico 2 runs in the 3rd inning. Two walks and a throwing error added an unearned run to the Mexico total in the 6th.
Dominican Republic 4, Puerto Rico 3 — A 9th inning rally by the Dominicans upended Puerto Rico on their home turf. Puerto
Rico took the early lead with one run in the 3rd inning on a walk, a wild pitch, and an RBI double. Another wild pitch plus a fielding error in left field contributed to Puerto Rico’s run in the 5th inning. The Puerto Rican pitching staff made 2 wild pitches in the top of the 6th, to give Dean Treanor’s Dominican team their first run of the game. Puerto Rico kept ahead with another single run in the 7th inning, on a walk, a sacrifice bunt by SS Luis Figueroa, and an RBI single. The 9th inning began with Puerto Rico leading 3-1, but with one out, back-to-back walks and a triple drove in 2 runs for the Dominicans to tie the score. An intentional walk put runners on the corners, then a grounder to first allowed the runner from third to score the go-ahead run before the final out was made. Puerto Rico tried for a comeback with a single to lead off the 9th, but a double play got the Dominicans out of the inning with the win.
The Australian League
Adelaide Bite 4, Sydney Blue Sox 0 — The Bite got their revenge for being no-hit in Game One by shutting out the Blue Sox in the second game of the semifinal series. Starter Brandon Maurer allowed the Blue Sox only 4 hits in his 7 innings of work. He worked around runners on base in 6 of those 7 innings, and walked a batter in each of the first 5 innings, but did not let anyone come around to score. Reliever Adrian Burnside finished things up for Maurer with two perfect innings. On the offensive side, DH Quincy Latimore was responsible for 3 of the Bite’s 4 RBI. The run he did not drive in came in the 4th, on a double and a single. Latimore had the third of three singles in the 5th inning, and he drove in both of the runners on base. A single, a bunt, and a wild pitch put a runner on third for the Bite in the 7th inning, and Latimore drove that runner in with another RBI single. Latimore also reached base on an error in the 2nd inning, and made it as far as third base, but a double play ended that inning. The Bite and the Blue Sox have now each won a game in this 3-game series. The rubber match will be played on Sunday (early, of course), and the winner will face the Perth Heat in the championship series next weekend.
Day Two of the Caribbean series:
Dominican Republic 6, Venezuela 5 — Two runs in the top of the 9th were not enough for Venezuela to catch up to Dean Treanor’s Dominican team. Each team scored a run in the 2nd inning, with a solo homer for the Venezuelans and a walk and a triple for the Dominicans. A 2-run double by DH Kevin Barker gave the Dominican Republic a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 3rd. The Venezuelan team came right back with a 2-run homer in the top of the 4th to tie the score again. Then the Dominicans took the lead with single runs in three different innings. A walk and two singles plated a run in the bottom of the 4th. A sacrifice fly brought in an insurance run in the 6th, and Barker homered in the 7th. The Venezuelan team made 2 outs to begin the top of the 9th, then kept the game alive with a single and a 2-run homer, but that was all they could get, as a ground out ended the game.
Check out a story about Dean Treanor here. He used to be a police officer.
Puerto Rico 7, Mexico 3 — Puerto Rico began the game with their first six batters reaching base safely: a single, a double by SS Luis Figueroa, a fielding error, two singles, and another error, accounting for 4 runs. After a double play, a double drove in the 5th run of the inning. Mexico got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning with a walk and two singles. Two more singles and an error added 2 more runs for Mexico in the 2nd inning. That was as far as the Mexicans would get, despite posting 12 hits. Puerto Rico scored again in the 5th with two singles and a double play. Figueroa had another RBI single in the 6th for Puerto Rico’s final run.
Sydney Blue Sox 8, Adelaide Bite 0 — Sydney pitcher David Welch opened the semi-final round of the Australian League playoffs by pitching a no-hitter against the Adelaide Bite. Welch walked the first batter he faced, but left him on base. He also walked the lead-off batter in the 2nd inning, but picked him off first. After striking out the side in the 3rd, Welch worked around a missed catch error in the 4th and his third walk in the 5th. He also had a batter reach base against him in the 8th on another error, but erased that runner with a double play. DH Quincy Latimore went 0-for-4, and had one of Welch’s 10 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Welch’s teammates were providing him with plenty of run support. They scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, knocked a 2-run homer in the 2nd, and added 2 more runs in the 3rd. One more run scored in the bottom of the 8th.
One quick signing note: pitcher Chris Jakubauskas, who was released by the Pirates after the 2010 season, has signed a minor league contract with the Orioles.
The Caribbean series got underway today (Wednesday) with an afternoon game. It took 15 innings, but Mexico (Los Yaquis de Obregon) beat Indy Indians’ manager Dean Treanor’s Dominican Republic team (Los Toros del Este) 4-3. The Dominicans took the lead with a run in the 3rd on two singles and a throwing error. They made it 3-0 in the 6th with the help of another error that led to two unearned runs. The Mexican team came back with 2 runs on three singles in the 7th. The Dominicans were one out away from a win in the bottom of the 9th, when the Mexicans tied the score at 3-3 with a pair of two-out singles and a stolen base. Five and a half scoreless innings followed, as the relief pitchers took over. Neither team did much during the 10th, 11th, and 12th innings. Both teams put two runners on base but couldn’t score in the 13th. The Dominicans threatened in both the top of the 14th and the top of the 15th, but could not push a runner across the plate. Finally in the bottom of the 15th, the Mexican team again came through after two outs had been recorded. Three straight singles gave them the winning run.
This evening’s game, between Venezuela (Los Caribes de Anzoategui) and Puerto Rico (Los Criollos de Caguas) is in the middle of the 5th, with Venezuela ahead 4-2.
UPDATE: VENEZUELA 5, PUERTO RICO 3 — The game began with Venezuela scoring 4 runs in the top of the 1st. The first batter of the game reached base on a throwing error. A single and a sacrifice fly plated the first run of the game. After a walk, LF Jose Castillo singled in a run, then a fielding error allowed 2 more runs to score. A double and an RBI single gave the Puerto Ricans one run in the 3rd inning. An RBI double in the 5th brought a runner all the way from first base to score Puerto Rico’s second run. The Venezuelans added one more run in the 7th, on another double/single combination. Puerto Rico also added another run in the 8th. A single, a walk, and a single by SS Luis Figueroa loaded the bases with no outs. The next batter bounced into a 3-6-3 double play, but the runner from third was able to score.
Catching up with a few days’ worth of winter league playoff results:
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 7, Leones de Ponce 5 — Los Criollos won the Puerto Rican League championship with a win in Game 7 of the series. Los Leones got onto the scoreboard first, scratching out a run in the top of the 1st. Los Criollos took a 4-1 lead in the 3rd, with an RBI double and a 3-run homer. Ponce answered with their own 3-run homer in the top of the 4th, tying the game. Each team scored one run in the 5th. Ponce loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, then had their run forced in with a walk. Los Criollos scored when SS Luis Figueroa led off with a single, raced to third on another single, and scored on a sacrifice fly. After two quiet innings, Los Criollos rallied again in the bottom of the 8th. A single and a fielding error put two runners on base, and a fly out and a stolen base moved both runners into scoring position. A line drive into right field for a single drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 5, Yaquis de Obregon 4 — Los Yaquis took the early lead with a 2-run homer in the 2nd and a solo homer in the 3rd. They scored a 4th run in the 5th inning. Guasave got their offense going in the 5th inning with 2 runs, then tied the score with a pair of solo homers, including one by 1B Yurendell de Caster in the 8th. De Caster also singled in the game. In the top of the 9th, Gusave scored the winning run on a throwing error by the Obregon shortstop. That tied the series at 3 games each, and forced a seventh game.
Yaquis de Obregon 5, Algodoneros de Guasave 2 — A 4-run 4th inning pushed Los Yaquis over Guasave. A lead-off homer, plus 3 more runs and a 2-RBI single drove in those 4 runs. Both of Guasave’s runs came on solo homers by Marshal McDougall. The win gave the championship to Obregon.
Ten weeks until Opening Day for the minor league season…. just in case anyone besides me is counting.
Three playoff games on Wednesday evening, plus the Australians begin their playoffs early on Thursday morning. I’ll be away from the computer for a couple of days, but we’ll catch up after that.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 7, Leones de Ponce 2 — Los Criollos forced a seventh game with a win over Los Leones. Caguas broke a 1-1 tie with 2 runs in the top of the 4th, on a hit batter and a pair of RBI doubles. That 3-1 score lasted until the top of the 9th, when JR Rodriguez took the mound in relief for Ponce. Rodriguez had an uncharacteristically tough night, giving up a single and a walk, and then having a batter reaches on a fielding error to load the bases. Then Caguas’ 3B Rey Navarro smashed a grand slam to seal Los Leones’ fate. Ponce added one more run with a single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. The final game of the series will be played on Friday night.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Caribes de Anzoategui 4 — Los Tigres won their first game of the championship series tonight, with both LF Lastings Milledge and 1B Hector Gimenez contributing an RBI. The game began in a shaky way for Los Tigres, as the first three Caribes’ batters in the top of the first all walked, then a run scored on a sacrifice fly. A solo home run began the top of the 2nd for Los Caribes, and a single and a double added another run. Los Tigres got going in the bottom of the 2nd with a double and a fielding error, then an RBI double by Milledge and a sacrifice fly by Gimenez. Aragua tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the 5th with two walks, including one by CF Jorge Cortes, and an RBI single. Los Caribes went ahead with a solo homer in the top of the 6th, but Los Tigres tied it again in the bottom of the frame with three singles, one by Gimenez. Aragua took a definitive lead in the 7th with a 3-run homer, then added an insurance run in the 8th with a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI single. Wil Ledezma came out to pitch the top of the 8th for Aragua. He walked the first batter he faced, then got a strikeout, then another walk, and was removed. Another reliever came on to strike out the next two batters to end the inning.