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.
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.