Morris Loses In Pre-Futures Start; Power Win In 10

Thursdays’ action in the Pirates lower minor league organization:

Binghamton Mets �4, �Altoona Curve �3 (box)

It only took two innings to get all the scoring done in this game, as Bryan Morris suffered his 4th loss with the Curve in what will be his last start before the All-Star break and his participation in the Futures Game. �Morris didn’t get past the 2nd inning, as he gave up all 4 Mets’ runs on 6 hits. �Morris got the first batter he faced to ground out, but then immediately got into trouble with a single and a ground-rule double, putting two runners in scoring position. �A ground out allowed the runner from third base to score. �A hit batter put runners on the corners, and two singles followed, with a second run scoring. �Morris struck out the last batter of the 1st inning and the first batter of the 2nd inning. �Then he gave up a solo home run, and the Mets had a 4-0 lead. �A walk, a single, and a wild pitch followed the home run, but Morris was able to leave them on base as the inning ended. �I suspect he had run into problems with his pitch count as well, because Derek Hankins came out to pitch the 3rd inning.

The Curve batters came back with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. �2B Jordy Mercer led off with a line drive double, and he scored when 1B Miles Durham and LF Anthony Norman hit back-to-back singles. �Bryan Morris sacrifice bunted Durham and Norman into scoring position, and both of them scored on SS Chase d’Arnaud’s RBI single. �The Curve were behind by just one run, 4-3.

But the Curve couldn’t erase that narrow margin. �They put runners on base in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them could come around to score. �Nine base runners were left stranded. �Two runners were left on base in the 3rd, when 3B Josh Harrison singled and RF Brandon Jones walked. �Mercer doubled again in the 6th, and Norman walked, again leaving two runners on. �In the top of the 9th, the Curve’s final effort, CF Gorkys Hernandez singled with two outs, but a fly out ended the game.

Derek Hankins pitched 6 scoreless innings after Morris hit the showers. �He retired the first 6 batters he faced in order, including striking out the side in the 4th. �He hit a batter in the 5th, but immediately erased him with a double play. �Another double play got Hankins out of a walk-and-single jam in the 7th. �Anthony Claggett pitched the final inning. �He gave up a single, but that runner was thrown out trying to steal second base.

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Baker Pitches 8 No-Hit Innings; Cayonez’s Perfect Afternoon

Lots of action in the Pirates’ lower minors on Tuesday, partly because of two double headers making up for the two postponements yesterday.

West Virginia Power �7, �Hagerstown Suns �3 (box)

Power starter Nate Baker pitched 8 no-hit innings tonight in Hagerstown, to earn his 6th win of the season. �He was not perfect, though. �After striking out the first two batters he faced, a batter reached base on a throwing error by SS Benji Gonzalez. A grounder force out ended the inning. �With one out in the 2nd inning, Baker hit a batter with a pitch, though he left that runner stranded on base. �From there, Baker retired the next 20 batters he faced, including 8 strikeouts. �Only three of those batters got the ball out of the infield.

Baker did not come out to pitch the 9th inning, probably due to pitch count. �Reliever Gabriel Alvarado took the 9th, and he was the victim of the Suns’ pent-up frustration and stifled hits. � Alvarado struck out the first batter of the inning, but then gave up a line-drive single, a triple, and a home run, as the Suns avoided both the no-hitter and the shut-out.

The Power batters provided Baker with plenty of run support, though not until the later innings. �C Ramon Cabrera had 3 hits and 2 RBI, while CF Evan Chambers, 2B Jarek Cunningham, and 1B Aaron Baker all had 2 hits. �The Power threatened in the 2nd inning, when Cabrera singled, Benji Gonzalez doubled, and Chambers walked, but a strikeout ended the inning. �They got going in the 6th inning, with a single by Aaron Baker, a walk to LF Jose Hernandez, and a 2-RBI triple by Cabrera. �DH Elevys Gonzalez followed with a double, scoring Cabrera, for a 3-0 lead. �They added another run in the 7th, when Chambers led off with a single and scored on Aaron Baker’s double.

Two walks, to 3B Jesus Brito and Cabrera, began the 8th inning, and a fielding error on Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt loaded the bases for the Power. �Benji Gonzalez brought in Brito on a grounder force out, then Chambers doubled, scoring Cabrera. �Benji Gonzalez tried to score from first base, but he was thrown out at the plate. �Cunningham also singled, plating Chambers for the Power’s final run of the game.

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Duke Pitches In Altoona

The Bradenton Marauders and the GCL Pirates were both rained out on Monday.

Altoona �Curve �6, �Binghampton Mets �1 (box)

Things went well for�Zach Duke as he made a rehab start with the Curve. �He needed only 29 pitches to get through his scheduled 3 innings, allowing one run on 3 hits, no walks, with one strikeout. �The game began with a double, a ground out to move the runner to third, then an RBI single. �Duke ended that first inning with a double play. �He gave up a single in the 2nd, but another double play erased that runner, and Duke retired the side in order in the 3rd.

That was the only run the Mets had in the game. �Justin Wilson took over when Duke was done, and he pitched 4 shutout innigs, scattering 4 hits and a walk, to record his 7th win of the season. �Ramon Aguero pitched the 9th inning, also scoreless, with a walk and 2 strikeouts.

The Mets’ pitching staff was not so fortunate. �The Curve batters posted 15 hits, with each position player except LF Brandon Jones collecting at least one hit. �1B Matt Hague had his third 3-hit game in 5 days, and RF Miles Durham also had 3 hits. �The Curve responded to the Mets’ 1st inning run with 2 of their own, on a single by SS Chase d’Arnaud, a double by CF Gorkys Hernandez, a sacrifice fly by Hague to bring in d’Arnaud, and a double by C Hector Gimenez which scored Hernandez.

The Curve put at least one runner on base in each of the next four innings, though did not get any of them around to score. �In the 6th, they added one run when 2B Shelby Ford smacked a ground-rule double, and scored on Durham’s RBI single. �Another double-single combination, from Hague and Gimenez respectively, added a run in the 7th inning. �They picked up two more runs in the 8th, on a rally started by Durham when he singled and stole second base. �Pinch-hitter Anthony Norman and Hernandez also singled, driving in Durham. �After a pitching change, 3B Josh Harrison’s RBI single brought in Norman to give the Curve their 6th run.

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Spikes’ Walk-Off Win; Welker Makes A+ Debut

Bradenton catcher Eric Fryer, who was hit in the face by a pitch on Thursday night, has broken facial bones around his eye. �That will require surgery to fix — get the bones properly aligned and stabilized. �He’s going to be out of action for at least several weeks and possibly for the rest of the season. �This is the same type of injury that Paul Maholm had years ago, though his injury occurred when he was hit in the face by a line drive while on the mound.

Friday night’s action:

State College Spikes �5, �Williamsport Crosscutters �4 (box)

Late inning rallies gave the Spikes the walk-off win over Williamsport. � The Spikes got on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning when C Matt Skirving singled and SS Gift Ngoepe blasted his first home run of the season, a 2-run homer. �Williamsport tied it up in the top of the 5th. �The first run, off starter Tyler Waldron, came on a double and a single. �A throwing error and a sacrifice fly brought in an unearned run to tie the score.

Waldron pitched 5 innings and allowed the two runs (one earned) on 6 hits, no walks, with 3 strikeouts. �He was relieved by Trent Stevenson, who pitched the next 3 innings. �He gave up a run in the 6th, on a single, a stolen base with a throwing error, and a double, to give the Crosscutters the go-ahead run. �The Spikes caught up and tied the score again in the bottom of the inning. �Singles by Ngoepe and LF Adalberto Santos and a walk to 3B Chase Lyles loaded the bases. �1B Gerlis Rodriguez drove in Ngoepe with a sacrifice fly.

Williamsport took the lead yet again in the top of the 7th with an unearned run. �A throwing error by Stevenson put the lead-off runner on base, and he scored on a triple. �Rodriguez tied it up again in the bottom of the 8th with a solo home run.

Justin Ennis took the mound for the Spikes for the 9th, and he mantained the tie with a scoreless inning, allowing only a walk while striking out two batters. �That gave the Spikes the chance in the bottom of the inning. �The first two Spikes’ batters struck out. �CF�Kyle Saukko kept the inning going with a line drive into left field for a single. �A passed ball put Saukko on second base. �Ngoepe worked a walk, and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. �2B Walker Gourley grounded towards first base, and when he was safe on a fielding error, Saukko scored to win the game.

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Curve Win In Late Innings, Power and Spikes Fall

Wednesday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minors…

The Bradenton Marauders vs. Ft. Myers Miracle, along with a few other Florida State League games, have been postponed due to weather.

Altoona Curve �6, �Binghamton Mets �3 (box)

Two late-inning rallies gave the Curve the edge over the Mets tonight, and earned Justin Wilson his 6th win of the season. �Wilson allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in his 6 innings of work, while striking out 6 Mets. �Wilson gave up a single and a walk in the 1st inning but left both stranded, then went on to retire the side in the next two innings. �The first Mets’ run came in the 4th with two outs, on a double and a single. �A solo home run gave the Mets their second run in the 5th.

The Curve bats were quiet until the top of the 4th inning, when they loaded the bases with a single by SS Chase d’Arnaud, a walk to 1B Matt Hague, and a single by 2B Jordy Mercer. All three were left on base, though, when a fly out ended the inning. �D’Arnaud singled again to lead off the 6th, and this time the Curve were more effective. �CF Gorkys Hernandez followed with a single, and a double by 3B Josh Harrison brought d’Arnaud in to score. �Hernandez scored the tying run on an RBI ground out by Hague, and Harrison came in on a sacrifice fly by Mercer. �The Curve were up 3-2.

For the third time in the game, in the 8th, d’Arnaud led off an inning with a single. �Hernandez was hit by a pitch, and Harrison’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners up one base each. �Hague was intentionally walked to load the bases. �A wild pitch brought in d’Arnaud. �Mercer grounded to short for a fielder’s choice, as Hernandez was thrown out at the plate. �But singles by C Hector Gimenez and RF Miles Durham grought in Hague and Mercer respectively, and the Curve had increased their lead to 6-2.

Tony Watson relieved Justin Wilson to begin the 7th inning. �Watson retired 6 batters in order, but began the bottom of the 9th by giving up a double and two singles, to bring in a run. �Watson got the next two batters to strike out, then was replaced by Diego Moreno. Moreno struck out the only batter he faced, ending the game and earning his first save of the season.

Five Curve players were named to the Eastern League All-Star team: �LHP Rudy Owens, RHP Derek Hankins, 1B Matt Hague, 2B/3B Josh Harrison, and C Hector Gimenez. That game will be played in Harrisburg on Wednesday, July 14th.

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