The Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates wrap up the month of April:
Erie SeaWolves 5, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 3 hits, plus two walks, as they were shut-out by the SeaWolves. Their first hit of the game came in the 2nd inning, when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled, then moved to second base on a wild pitch. The inning ended with Farrell being forced out at third base. Altoona had their biggest threat with two runners on base in the 3rd inning — a line drive single into left field by RF Eric Fryer and a walk to DH Jose Hernandez. A ground out put both runners into scoring position, but they too were left stranded. The Curve went down in order until LF Quincy Latimore’s single in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona in the last three innings, when he walked in the 7th.
Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve. He pitched 6 innings but was the victim of some errors in the field behind him. He gave up one earned run but 4 unearned runs, and was charged with the loss. Erie’s earned run came in the 2nd inning, on a double, a walk, and an RBI single. The second base runner who tried to score was gunned down at the plate on a throw in from Fryer in right field to C Tony Sanchez. The top of the 4th inning began with a single, and the next batter grounded to short for what should have been a double play. But a missed catch error by 2B Brock Holt left both runners safe. A walk loaded the bases, and a grounder allowed the lead runner to score. A triple drove in two more runs, to give Erie a 4-0 lead. Erie began the 6th inning with a double and a single, and with two outs, a fielding error by Farrell at third allowed another unearned run to score.
Tim Alderson relieved Locke and pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings. The only batter to reach base against Alderson was hit by a pitch, then erased in a double play.
Wednesday evening with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 7, Hagerstown Suns 1…… suspended in the 2nd inning
Jameson Taillon made his pro debut tonight in West Virginia, but Mother Nature made it shorter than might have been planned. Taillon’s first pitch was a strike, and the first batter singled to short. He got a ground out, which moved the runner to second, then he walked the other phenom in the game — Suns’ RF Bryce Harper. A double lined to right field brought in the lead runner and put Harper on third base. Harper walked the next batter to load the bases, but a grounder to SS Drew Maggi started a double play, and Taillon was out of the inning, with only one run in.
Maggi began the bottom of the inning with a walk, and a passed ball put him on second base. 2B Gift Ngoepe reached base on a throwing error, giving the Power runners on the corners. DH Matt Curry’s single up the middle plated Maggi. 1B Justin Howard moved both the runners into scoring position with a grounder to second, and RF Dan Grovatt brought both in with a double lined into left field.
With rain falling, Taillon returned to the mound for the second inning. He gave up a lead-off single, then got two consecutive force outs at second base. A fly out ended that inning, giving Taillon one run on 3 hits and 2 walks over 2 innings, with no strikeouts.
The Power added to their lead with 4 more runs in the 2nd. LF Andy Vasquez and Maggi began the frame with back-to-back walks, and both scored on Curry’s double. Howard brought in Curry with a 2-run homer over the right field wall. The Suns brought in a new pitcher, who gave up a walk to Gravatt and a double to CF Mel Rojas. That’s when the rain got crazy, and the game was delayed, then suspended. The two teams will try to resume the game tomorrow at 6 pm, and that will be followed by a 7-inning game.
The Marauders had an early game today, for the school kids. The Curve and the Power play later:
Bradenton Marauders 8, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
The Marauders swept a series for the first time this season with today’s win over the Cardinals. It was an early game following a late night, but the Marauders were awake and ready to go at 10 am, less than 12 hours after last night’s rain-delayed game. For the second game in a row, every member of the line-up reached base at least once.
Phillip Irwin made his first start after coming out of extended spring training. He went 2 innings, and allowed a run in the 1st, as he had to work around an error in each inning. The top of the 1st began with a walk, then a stolen base, and the runner moved up to third when C Carlos Paulino’s throw to second base went wild for an error. That runner scored on the first of two singles, but Irwin closed down the inning with a strikeout and a ground out. A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez put another runner on base in the 2nd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cardinals had runners on the corners. Irwin got out of the jam with a fly out.
The Marauders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning without posting a hit. LF David Rubinstein was hit by a pitch, then 1B Cole White walked. Two wild pitches let Rubinstein score and put White on third base. After a walk to 2B Kelson Brown, the third wild p itch of the inning let White come in to score. A passed ball and two more walks, to CF Robbie Grossman and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases, but a fly out ended that inning without any further scoring. The Marauders led 2-1.
Brett Lorin took over for Irwin to begin the 3rd inning. Lorin pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk, plus 4 strikeouts. Palm Beach had 2 singles in the 4th, though the first runner was tagged out trying to reach third base on the second single. The Cardinals also had 2 singles in the 6th, but Lorin was not worried by either of those threats.
The Marauders picked up some insurance runs in the 5th, with DH Aaron Baker having his second big-hitting game in a row. Elevys Gonzalez walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Baker’s RBI double into center field. After a walk to Rubinstein, Paulino singled in Baker. A wild throw by the Cardinals’ catcher on a pick-off throw allowed Rubinstein to score the third run of the inning, and the Marauders were up 5-1. They added 2 more runs in the 6th. Grossman lined a double into left field, and Elevys Gonzalez singled, moving Grossman to third. Baker plated Grossman with a single into right field. When the Cardinals’ right fielder went to catch Rubinstein’s fly ball and had his feet slip out from under him, that was ruled an error, and Gonzalez scored as well. That gave the Marauders a 7-1 lead.
The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when Grossman doubled into left field, Elevys Gonzalez singled, and RF Adalberto Santos brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly. Porfirio Lopez finished the game for Bradenton with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single. Lorin earned the win — his first win of the season.
The Indianapolis Indians and the Columbus Clippers were rained out in Columbus tonight. They will try for two on Monday, beginning at 5 pm. Sunday’s game is scheduled for 4 pm.
Infielder Pedro Ciriaco was optioned back to the Indians, after just a brief visit to Pittsburgh. The Pirates’ new shortstop Brandon Wood got himself to Pittsburgh very quickly, so no need for Ciriaco to fill in. Jose Ascanio, who was hit in the head by a line drive on Thursday, has been diagnosed as having “just” a contusion (a bruise). He’s doing better today.
Kannapolis Intimidators 8, West Virginia Power 7 (Game 1)
The Pirates were able to fight back after Kannapolis scored 6 runs in the 2nd inning, but 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th gave Kannapolis the win. The Power had the early lead with one run in the 1st and 2 more in the 2nd. CF Mel Rojas walked, and 1B Matt Curry singled. LF Rogelios Noris’ fly out moved Rojas to third, and then Rojas scored on RF Justin Howard’s single through the hole into left field. C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked to load the bases, but a ground out ended the inning without any more runs scoring. With one out in the top of the 2nd, back-to-back doubles by DH Jairo Marquez and SS Drew Maggi brought in one run, then a wild pitch and a fielding error allowed Maggi to score, giving the Power a 3-0 lead.
Starter Colton Cain had retired the Intimidators in order in the 1st, but got in trouble in the bottom of the 2nd, when the first 6 batters who came to the plate reached base safely. A single, a double, and a walk loaded the bases, then a hit batter forced in the first run. A double plated two more, and a single added another two. Another double made it 6 runs in the inning, and the Power were behind 6-3.
The Power battled right back in the top of the 3rd. Walks to Howard and 3B Andy Vasquez both walked, and Emsley-Pai was hit by a pitch to load the bases again for the Power. An RBI ground out drove in Howard, then Marquez’s single scored both Vasquez and Emsley-Pai to tie the score at 6-6. The Power took the lead in the 4th on Curry’s lead-off home run.
Trent Stevenson relieved Cain to begin the 3rd inning, and he pitched 3 scoreless innings. He allowed 3 hits and struck out one. The Power bats suddenly went quiet after the 4th, with no more hits until the 7th, when Howard tripled. Emsley-Pai and Marquez both walked, but two ground outs and a strikeout left all three on base. Jason Townsend pitched the 6th inning for the Power, allowing just one hit. Casey Sadler came on to pitch the 7th, and with one out, Sadler gave up three consecutive singles. The third hit went to Howard in right field, and Howard’s throw back to the plate was right to Emsley-Pai, who tagged out the lead runner at the plate. But the next batter doubled to tie the score again, and the fourth single of the inning drove in the winning walk-off run.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 7, Altoona Curve 3
The Curve had a good start to their game, but lost their early lead in the 6th inning. LF Quincy Latimore drove in 2 runs in the top of the 1st. 2B Brock Holt and C Tony Sanchez had both walked, and with 2 outs, Latimore grounded to shortstop, where a throwing error let both runs score. Sanchez and Latimore both singled in the 3rd, with Latimore driving in Sanchez, who had moved up to second base on a ground out.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson allowed just 2 singles over the first 5 innings of the game. Things changed in the 6th inning, though. A single, a bunt, and another single gave the Squirrels runners on the corners. Thompson balked, allowing the runner from third to score. A stolen base and a walk put Squirrels on the corners again. This time, Thompson threw a wild pitch to let the runner from third score. Another walk and a single loaded the bases, and sent Thompson to the showers. Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to relieve Thompson. The first batter Claggett faced grounded to second, forcing out the runner coming from first base, as the runner from third scored. A walk loaded the bases again, and a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham let the fourth run of the inning score. Thompson was responsible for all 4 runs, 3 of which were earned.
Mike Colla took over for the 7th inning, when he gave up a lone single. Then in the bottom of the 8th, Colla gave up a walk and a single, and the lead runner scored when Sanchez made a throwing error on a steal attempt. Another walk and two singles drove in two more runs.
After the 3rd inning, the Curve could not push another run across the plate. They hurt themselves on base running plays, when Holt singled and was caught stealing in the 4th, and Sanchez walked and was caught stealing in the 5th. SS Jordy Mercer doubled in the 5th, and Durham singled in the 8th, but were left on base. Pinch hitter Kris Watts singled in the Curve’s last chance in the 9th, but he was left stranded when a ground out ended the game.