Tuesday night’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
West Virginia Power 5, Charleston RiverDogs 1
Colton Cain took his second win of the season, allowing 3 hits and one run over 5 innings, with one walk and 3 strikeouts. Cain had some trouble in the 1st inning, when a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single drove in a run for Charleston. After a walk, Cain got the next batter to fly out to center, where a nice throw from CF Mel Rojas to 3B Eric Avila ended the inning. Cain retired the next 10 batters in order, then gave up a double in the 5th inning. He struck out two batters to end his evening’s work.
The Power batters gave Cain all the run support he needed in the top of the 2nd. With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a double into right field, then went to third base when C Elias Diaz reached base on a fielding error. Diaz stole second base, then LF Rogelios Noris singled into right field, plating Marquez. Noris advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield, which put him into position to score behind Diaz on Avila’s 2-RBI single. The Power added a run in the 3rd for a 4-1 lead. RF Dan Grovatt singled, then 1B Justin Howard’s double advanced Grovatt to third. Rojas picked up the RBI with a ground out, scoring Grovatt.
Kevin Decker relieved Cain to begin the 6th inning. He pitched 3 perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts. Brooks Pounders took the 9th inning and allowed only a single in his scoreless inning.
Charleston committed errors in both the 4th and the 5th innings, but the Power were not able to take advantage of those errors to score. The Power scored one more run in the 9th, when Marquez bed off with a single, and was bunted to second by Diaz. Noris’ ground out moved Diaz to third, and he scored on a wild pitch.
The Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 2
Three walks and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 9th gave the Senators a walk-off win against the Curve.
Altoona had scored first, on 3B Jeremy Farrell’s solo home run in the top of the 2nd inning. The Senators replied with a solo home run by 3B Tim Pahuta in the bottom of the inning. The Curve took the lead again in the top of the 4th, when LF Quincy Latimore singled, then Farrell picked up another RBI with his double into center field.
Mike Colla pitched 5 innings and struck out 5 batters in his start. He gave up that solo homer, plus two singles in the 1st inning. Colla walked two batters, and those were the only Harrisburg base runners over the last three innings of his outing. Tim Alderson struck out two batters in his scoreless 6th inning. Chris Leroux took the mound to begin the 7th inning. He was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up Pahuta’s second solo home run, tying the game at 2-2.
The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single. Latimore grounded into a force out at second, replacing Marte at first. A fielding error by Pahuta let SS Jordy Mercer reach base safely. Former Indy Indian Jimmy Barthmaier came on in relief for Harrisburg, and he got Farrell to bounce into a double play, ending the rally. Barthmaier gave up a double to 1B Miles Durham with one out in the 7th, then walked pinch hitter Kris Watts, before being relieved himself. A strikeout ended that threat without a run scoring.
Each team put a runner on base in the 8th — Mercer walked and stole second for the Curve, and the Senators had a single, and the runner moved to second on a wild pitch by Leroux — but neither one scored. The Curve went down in order in the top of the 9th. Noah Krol replaced Leroux to begin the bottom of the 9th. He walked the first batter he faced, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second base. Pahuta was intentionally walked, then the next batter was unintentionally walked to load the bases. A ground out to third looked like it might be a double play, but the 5-4-3 throw only got out the batter at first, while the runner going to second was safe. That allowed the runner from third to score, giving the Senators the win.
Bradenton Marauders 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
Three 2-run innings gave the Marauders enough fire power to get past the Stone Crabs and salvage the last game of this 3-game series. Starter Kyle McPherson earned his second win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, no walks, in 7 innings of work. The 7 innings matched his two previous longest starts this season. Both of the Stone Crabs’ runs came early in the game. In the bottom of the 1st, a lead-off triple and an RBI ground out put the first run on the board. A solo home run brought in the second run in the 2nd inning. McPherson also gave up a double in the 1st, and a single in the 5th, and he hit one batter in the 3rd inning. He finished strong by retiring the last 7 batters he faced, four of them on strikeouts.
The Marauders went into the 4th inning behind by a score of 2-0. The only batter to reach base in the first three innings was SS Benji Gonzalez, who singled with two outs in the 3rd, but was picked off second base. But the bats started booming in the 4th, beginning with a double into left field by RF Robbie Grossman and a triple by 2B Jarek Cunningham, scoring Grossman. CF Evan Chambers’ ground out single drove in Cunningham to tie the game.
3B Kelson Brown singled and Benji Gonzalez walked in the 5th inning, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. Cunningham and Chambers opened the 6th with back-to-back singles, and a missed catch error by the Charlotte shortstop on a pick-off attempt let both runners move up a base. A fielding error by the second baseman on the next play off the bat of 1B Aaron Baker allowed both Cunningham and Chambers to score. The Marauders took a 4-2 lead. Baker added 2 more insurance runs in the 8th inning with a 2-run home run shot over the right field wall. He brought in Grossman, who had reached base on a fielding error at third base.
The Stone Crabs did not score again after the 2nd inning. Diego Moreno relieved McPherson to begin the 8th inning, and he walked one, gave up a single, and struck out two, keeping Charlotte scoreless. Ryan Beckman took the 9th, and he also pitched a scoreless inning, with one walk.
A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010. He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH’ing. Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI. He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times. Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.
Two minor league pitchers have been released: RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston. Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010. Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 3
Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve. Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win. The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st. After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single. Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning. A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd. Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.
The Squirrels’ starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order. The first hit he gave up was a big one — a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte. The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.
The lead lasted only one inning. Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base — two walks and a single back to the mound. Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score. An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead. Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th. The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.
The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th. With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore. But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez’s line out ended the game.
The Indianapolis Indians were rained out on Monday night. They and the Durham Bulls will try for two on Tuesday. Tuesday’s first game is scheduled for 11:05 am, early for a Baseball In Education Day. That game is scheduled to be shown on the MLB network. (It’s absolutley pouring down rain now.)
The Marauders played a morning game to accommodate the school kids; the Curve and Power play in the evening.
Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Bradenton Marauders 1
A 4-run inning was enough for Palm Beach to secure the win this morning. Marauders’ starter Kyle McPherson had allowed just one hit over the first two innings, but with one out in the 3rd, he hit two successive batters with pitches. A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez allowed the next batter to reach base safely, loading them up. An RBI single drove in the runner from third, leaving the bags still full of Cardinals. Then a double lined into left field cleared the bases to give the Cardinals a 4-run inning. McPherson put Palm Beach down in order in the 4th and 5th innings, then gave up another run on a pair of doubles in the 6th. He finished with 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits, no walk, and 4 strikeouts in his 6 innings of work.
2B Jarek Cunningham led the Marauders’ batters with 2 hits, a single and a double, and 1B Aaron Baker drove in the only Marauders’ run. Bradenton missed a big chance in the 2nd inning, when both 3B Elevys Gonzalez and C Travis Scott walked, then LF Adalberto Santos’s infield single loaded the bases. But a strikeout and a pop out ended the threat with all three runners still in place. Cunningham began the 3rd inning rally with a double lined into left field. One out later, Baker lined a single into center field, and Cunningham raced around from second base to score the Marauders’ only run. The Marauders had another chance with the bases loaded in the 7th — DH Cole White walked, then Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers both singled, but a fly out ended that opportunity. Scott had the only other Bradenton hit, with a single to lead off the 4th.
Duke Welker pitched a quick 7th inning for the Marauders, getting three ground outs. Jason Erickson took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up two singles, then got a double play when the next batter lined out to Baker, who threw to SS Benji Gonzalez to double off the runner from second base. Erickson gave up one more single, but then ended the inning without a run scoring.