Thursday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers…
Altoona Curve 5, Trenton Thunder 1
Starter Jeff Locke struck out 8 Trenton batters in his 5.1 innings of work, while getting plenty of run support — 3 home runs from his offense. The only run Locke surrendered came in the bottom of the 2nd, when Trenton loadd the bases on a walk, a hit batter, and a single. Another walk by Locke forced in the run, then a strikeout and a double play got him out of the inning. Locke allowed only a walk and a double over the next three innings. He began the 6th with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Diego Moreno.
Meanwhile, the Curve were pounding out the hits — a total of 15, including 3 by 2B Brock Holt. Each Curve batter had at least one hit. 1B Matt Curry, who had two hits in the game, began the Curve scoring with a solo home run to lead off the top of the 2nd. Holt led off the 3rd with a line drive single to short, then moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s walk, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.
Back-to-back solo homers by Latimore and Mercer added another 2 runs in the 5th inning. The Curve loaded the bases on three consecutive singles in the 6th — by RF Jose Hernandez, Holt, and CF Brad Chalk, but Latimore struck out to end the inning and leave all three runners on base. The final Curve run scored in the 8th. The inning began with back-to-back singles by DH Travis Scott and 3B Greg Picart. Picart was picked off first and caught stealing, but Scott advanced to third, and he was plated by Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. Holt also tripled in that inning.
Moreno finished the 6th inning for Locke with a strikeout and a pop out. Then he struck out the side in the 7th inning. Michael Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He loaded the bases with a double, a single, and a walk in the 8th, but got out of that jam with a strikeout and a force out. Then he worked around a single for a scoreless 9th.
The Curve played an early game on Wednesday afternoon, with the Marauders and the Power playing in the evening:
Trenton Thunder 7, Altoona Curve 3
A 4-run 6th inning by the Thunder was too much for the Curve to overcome, in an early afternoon game in New Jersey. The Curve posted 11 hits, with Brad Chalk, playing center field today, collecting 3 hits. LF Quincy Latimore, 1B Matt Curry, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had 2 hits each.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. Chalk began the Curve rally with his first single, but was forced out at second on Latimore’s grounder force out at second. A throwing error by the second baseman on the play let Latimore reach second base. SS Jordy Mercer singled into right field, scoring Latimore. Two singles and a grounder force out gave the Thunder a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Latimore also double in the 3rd inning, but didn’t score. Curry began a rally in the top of the 4th when he worked a walk. Farrell singled, pushing Curry to third base, and a passed ball let Farrell move up to second base. DH Tony Sanchez’s RBI ground out scored Curry to give the Curve a 2-1 lead. Trenton tied it up again in the bottom of the 5th, with a single, a throwing error by starter Aaron Thompson, and a sacrifice fly.
Chalk singled again in the 5th, but was out in a force play. The Curve threatened in the top of the 6th. Curry, Farrell, and Sanchez hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. C Kris Watts grounded to first for a fielder’s choice as a throw back to the plate forced Curry out at home. A ground out ended the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Trenton got to Thompson again in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single gave Trenton a 3-2 lead. Matt McSwain relieved Thompson, but the first batter McSwain faced reached base on a fielding error by Curry. The next batter swatted a 3-run homer, giving Trenton a 6-2 lead.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 7th. Chalk and Latimore hit back-to-back line drive singles with one out. Mercer popped up for an infield fly rule out, then Curry’s single through the hole and into left field brought Chalk in to score. That was all the Curve could get, though. Sanchez walked to begin the 8th inning, and was erased on a double play, and the next four Altoona batters went down in order.
McSwain gave up one more run in the bottom of the 7th, on a two-out triple and an RBI single. Thompson was charged with his 5th loss of the season.
The Power had an early game today, while the Curve and the Marauders are scheduled for the evening:
West Virginia Power 3, Hickory Crawdads 2
Three Power pitchers combined to hold Hickory to just 4 hits in the late-morning start. Colton Cain earned his 4th win of the season, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs, only one of which was earned. He gave up 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5 batters. Two of those 3 hits came in the top of the 1st — a lead-off single, then after two outs moved the runner to second base, another single when the batter beat out the throw on a grounder to third base. But Power 1B Justin Howard was paying attention, and he was able to throw from first base back to the plate, where C Elias Diaz tagged out the runner who had rounded third and was trying to score.
Three consecutive hits began the bottom of the 1st for the Power: singles by SS Drew Maggi and CF Mel Rojas, and an RBI double by RF Dan Grovatt, who drove in Maggi. DH Cole White brought in Rojas with an RBI ground out, to give the Power an early 2-1 lead.
Cain retired the side in order in the 2nd, then began the 3rd by giving up a double. A sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third base. The next batter was hit by a pitch, giving Hickory runners on the corners. Then a wild pitch by Cain and a throwing error on Diaz as he tried to retrieve the ball, let both base runners score, to tie the game.
The Power put runners on base over the next two innings, but base running problems eliminated the runners — picked off and caught stealing, and being caught off base on a fly out for a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 5th, and he too was doubled off first base when Maggi flied out. Rojas walked after Maggi was out, then Grovatt doubled for the second time in the game, and also drove in his second run, as Maggi gave the Power the lead.
Cain allowed only 2 walks over his last three innings of work. Vincent Payne made his first appearance for the Power this season, with 2 scoreless innings. He retired the side in order in the 7th, then gave up a walk in the 8th, but that runner was caught stealing. Zac Fuesser pitched the 9th. He gave up a single, but also picked the runner of first base, and was credited with his first Save.
The Power had only two base runners over the last 3 innings, when 3B Eric Avila walked and was erased in a double play, and a single by Grovatt, for his third hit of the game, in the 8th. Grovatt stole second base, but was left on base.
The Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off on Memorial Day, while the Altoona Curve and the West Virginia Power have afternoon games.
Altoona Curve 8, Binghamton Mets 0
Mile Colla pitched 6 scoreless innings for the Curve, to earn his fourth win of the season. Colla was a man on a mission, keeping the game zipping right along — the game was done in less than 2.5 hours. He gave up 4 runs, and no walks, while striking out 2 batters. Colla retired the first 6 batters he faced. He gave up back-to-back singles to open the 3rd inning, then left them in place, as he set down the next three to end the inning. He worked around a lead-off batter in the 4th, putting down the next three batters in that inning, and three in a row in the 5th also. The last hit Colla allowed was a 2-out double in the 6th, which ended with a fly out.
The Curve bats were slow to get going too. They went down in order for the first four innings, then got to the Mets’ starter Bradley Holt in the 5th. SS Jordy Mercer led off the 5th with a walk, and with one out, 3B Jeremy Farrell singled, then C Kris Watts homered, giving the Curve a 3-0 lead. The inning continued with RF Brad Chalk reaching second base on a throwing error by the Mets’ shortstop, then moving to third base on Colla’s sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch allowed Chalk to score, for a 4-1 lead.
The Curve came right back in the 6th inning, scoring 4 more runs off the Binghamton relief pitcher. LF Quincy Latimore began with a solo home run. Mercer followed the homer with a single into left field, then the newest Curve just up from West Virginia, 1B Matt Curry, also singled. Farrell made it three singles in a row, bringing in Mercer. Watts walked to load the bases, and Chalk singled into right field, driving in both Farrell and Watts.
Bryan Morris took over for Colla to begin the 7th inning. Morris pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, retiring all 9 batters he faced in order. Morris also contributed a hit in the 8th inning, when he lined a single into right field. He earned his second save of the season.
In the wake of more injuries, the Pirates have called infielder Josh Harrison up from the Indians.
Harrison has played both second and third base for the Tribe this season. In 37 games, Harrison has hit .321 for the Indians, with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, and 11 RBI. The Cincinnati native has walked 7 times and struck out 17 times. He has stolen 8 bases in 13 tries. Harrison began the season with a hot April, hitting .375. He has dropped to a still-respectable .282 in May, but with more RBI.
Harrison is needed because Steve Pearce, who has been playing third base for the Pirates in the absence of Pedro Alvarez, is going onto the DL with a calf injury. It will likely be a short-term promotion for Harrison, just until Alvarez returns…. unless Harrison makes a big splash at the major league level.
The Pirates have not yet made an official announcement, but it is likely that catcher Ryan Doumit will also be going on the DL. Tribe catcher Jason Jaramillo is not ready, after being hit by a foul ball earlier in the week. That’s making it look like Dusty Brown will be added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster and called up to join the Pirates in New York. Brown was pulled from the Indians’ starting line-up at the last moment last night, and he’s the only other option. Wyatt Toregas has played only sparingly so far this season and has yet to get a hit.
UPDATE: Yes, confirmed, Brown has also been added to the 40-man roster and promoted. Ross Ohlendorf was moved to the 60-day DL to make room.
1B Matt Curry has also been promoted from the A level West Virginia Power to the AA Altoona Curve. Yes, that is right — skipping right over the A+ Bradenton level. Curry has been hitting .361 for the Power, with 15 doubles, 3 triples, 9 homers, and 34 RBI. Curry hit .400 in April and has “dropped” to .325 for May. The Texas native is 23 years old, a little old for the A level anyway.
Aaron Baker, the regular first baseman for the Marauders is currently hitting .275 with 8 doubles, 7 homers, and 38 RBI.
And more update:
Coming up from Altoona to fill the new holes on the Indians’ roster: INF Shelby Ford, OF/1B Miles Durham, and C Eric Fryer. Ford has played with the Indians before (2009), but it will the first time at the AAA level for durham and Fryer.