Spikes Come From Behind; Morris Wins #5 With Curve

Not a lot of action for the lower minor league affiliates today.� The West Virginia Power and the GCL Pirates had a scheduled day off, and the Bradenton Marauders were rained out — they will play two games on Monday.

State College Spikes� 7,� Auburn Doubledays� 6 (box)

SS Walker Gourley and LF Pat Irvine led the Spikes with 3 hits each as they came from behind to erase a 6-run lead.� It was the largest deficit overcome for a win in the team’s history.

Zack Dodson pitched 4 innings and gave up 6 runs (5 earned) to give Auburn the early lead.� A triple, a single, and a 3-run homer gave Auburn a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning.� Dodson retired the side in order in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, but got into trouble again in the 4th.� A double, a throwing error by 3B Andy Vasquez, a single, and a wild pitch brought in one run.� A passed ball and another single added two more runs, and Auburn had a 6-0 lead.

The Spikes had runners on base in 5 of the first 7 innings, but were not able to push any of their base runners around to score.� They had the bases loaded with one out in the 5th, on a single by Vasquez, a walk to CF Mel Rojas, and a single through the hole into right field by Gourley.� A strikeout and a grounder force out ended the inning without a run scoring.

Then the Spikes got going in the 8th.� RF Adalberto Santos led off with a triple, and 1B Matt Curry walked.� Pat Irvine singled, scoring Santos.� Curry had moved to second base on a wild pitch, then on to third on Irvine’s single, and he and Irvine both scored when DH Chase Lyles smashed the second triple of the inning.� C Matt Skirving doubled, bringing in Lyles, and Andy Vasquez brought in Skirving with a sacrifice fly.� The Spikes had moved to within one run of Auburn, 6-5.

Walker Gourley started the 9th inning rally with a bunt single.� In a strange play, Santos grounded up the middle and was safe at first base, but Gourley, who tried to reach third base on the play, was ruled out because he’d missed touching second base as he was running.� Spikes’ manager Gary Robinson argued, but to no avail, and he was ejected for his efforts.� Santos advanced to second base on a balk, and he scored the tying run when Irvine doubled into center field.

Sandobal Septimo had pitched one scoreless inning, and Trent Stevenson gave the Spikes 3 more scoreless frames.� Jhonatan Ramos came on to pitch a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, sending the game into extra innings.� With one out in the top of the 10th, Vasquez dropped down a bunt and beat it out to first base.� A wild pitch moved him to second base, and both Rojas and Gourley walked, loading the bases.� Santos popped up, and was called out on the infield fly rule, but Matt Curry was the hero, with a single to short that allowed Vasquez to score the go-ahead run.� Ramos kept the Doubledays from scoring in the bottom of the inning, and the Spikes had their come-from-behind win.

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Big First Inning For Curve; Power Win In Extras

Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:

Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)

The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.

Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.

Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.

The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.

That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.

Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.

Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.

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Durham’s Grand Slam Sparks Curve; Marte Back With A Homer

Monday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues… the Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.

Altoona Curve� 11,� Erie SeaWolves� 2 (box)

RF Miles Durham’s grand slam ignited a 9-run 8th inning to lift the Curve over the SeaWolves in the series opener.� Both teams put runners on base in the first four innings, but none of those runners scored.� The Curve got the scoring started in the 5th, when LF Brandon Jones led off with a single and DH Yung Chi Chen brought him across the plate with a double into center field.� CF Anthony Norman singled to score Chen from second base, and the Curve were ahead, 2-0.� The SeaWolves tied the game in the bottom of the 9th.� Curve starter Jeff Locke had allowed two doubles over the first 5 innings and had struck out 9 batters.� With two outs in the 6th, Locke gave up three singles and hit a batter, which gave Erie two runs.

Then came the 8th.� Norman led off with a double, and he scored the go-ahead run on singles by SS Chase d’Arnaud and 1B Matt Hague. A new pitcher, Luis Marte, came in from the bullpen for Erie.� 2B Jordy Mercer was the first batter Marte faced, and Mercer bunted the runners up one base.� C Kris Watts was intentionally walked, then Durham rocketed a grand slam over the left field wall, to give the Curve a 7-2 lead.� Jones followed the home run with a single, and Chen followed that with a 2-run homer, bumping the Curve to 9-2.� The next batter, 3B Josh Harrison, was hit by a pitch, which caused the ejection of Luis Marte and his manager.� The next pitcher got a ground out, then walked d’Arnaud.� A wild pitch put both Harrison and d’Arnaud into scoring position.� Hague grounded to the mound, but a throwing error by the pitcher brought in both Harrison and d’Arnaud, to make it 11-2.� A ground out ended the inning.

Ramon Aguero pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Curve, with a walk and a double.� Mike Colla pitched the 9th, and gave up only a single.

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Marauders and Spikes Win Shut-Outs

Sunday afternoon and evening with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates…..as usual, the GCL Pirates are off today.� The West Virginia Power and the Hagerstown Suns apparently did not have any sun, and their game was postponed.� They will try for two on Monday.

Altoona Curve 6,� Trenton Thunder� 4 (box)

The Thunder thundered early, but the Curve stormed back with 6 runs in the 5th inning for the win.� C Kris Watts and LF/CF Anthony Norman each went 2-for-3, and Norman picked up 2 RBI.�� Starter Tony Watson lasted only 3 innings, and he gave up runs in each of those innings.� A hit batter and an RBI single gave Trenton one run in the 1st inning.� A lead off� home run began the 2nd inning, then a single, a ground-rule double, and a sacrifice fly added 2 more runs in the 2nd.� Another lead-off home run in the 3rd gave the Thunder a 4-0 lead.� Jared Hughes relieved Watson and pitched 5 scoreless innings, scattering 3 hits and 2 walks.� He was credited with the win, since he was the pitcher of record when the Curve took the lead.� Derek Hankins gave up a triple in the 9th, but left that runner stranded to earn his 5th save.

The Curve had posted only 2 hits over the first four innings.� Then came the fireworks in the 5th, when the Curve sent 10 batters to the plate.� DH Brandon Jones opened the inning with a walk, then singles by RF Miles Durham and Watts loaded the bases.� Norman bounced a ground-rule double over the wall in right field, scoring Jones and Durham.� 3B Josh Harrison singled, bringing in Watts.� Norman scored on a throwing error when the Thunder tried to pick-off Harrison.� The Thunder got two outs at that point, 1B Matt Hague singled, plating Harrison.� Hague stole second base, and scored on 2B Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.� The Curve had only one hit in the rest of the game, a single by Norman, who was then caught stealing second base.

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Irwin: 7 No-Hit Innings; Marauders Drop Two

A few roster notes:� RHP Teddy Fallon and LHP Justin Ennis were both promoted from State College to West Virginia.� Fallon was the Pirates’ 43rd pick in the 2009 draft, and Ennis was the 33rd round pick in this year’s draft.� RHP Tom Boleska has been promoted from Bradenton to Altoona.

Altoona’s Bryan Morris has skipped a start, which the Pirates are calling just a “breather”.� He has struggled in his last few starts, but has also stacked up the innings so far this season (103) and the Pirates want him to stay below 140 innings this season.

West Virginia Power� 9,� Hagerstown Suns� 1 (box)

Phillip Irwin pitched 7 no-hit innings for the Power tonight, before he had to be relieved due to his increasing pitch count.� Irwin struck out 8 batters in his 7 innings, and he allowed 2 walks.� He got off to a strong start when he struck out the side in the 1st inning, then struck out 2 more in the 2nd.� The first walk came in the 3rd inning, but that runner was immediately erased when the next batter lined right to 1B Aaron Baker, who stepped on first base for a double play.� The next 7 batters went down in order, until the 6th, when that same batter, C Sandy Leon, walked again.� This time Leon was forced out at second on a grounder, and another ground out ended the inning.� Irwin wrapped up his amazing evening with two more strikeouts in the 7th inning.

Ryan Kelly relieved Irwin and pitched the final two innings.� He allowed one hit, but it was a solo home run.� He also walked a batter in the 9th, and struck out 2 batters.

The rest of the team was busy giving Irwin and Kelly plenty of run support.� They piled up 16 hits, with everyone in the lineup reaching base at least one time, and all but SS Benji Gonzalez picking up at least one hit (Gonzalez had a walk).� 3B Elevys Gonzalez, Aaron Baker, and LF Rogelios Noris each had 3 hits.� Baker led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run.� CF David Rubinstein followed the homer with a double, and Noris added a single to put runners on the corners.� C Jairo Marquez lined a single into center field, scoring Rubinstein to give the Power an early 2-0 lead.

They boosted that lead in the 3rd inning, as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 7 runs.� Six of the first seven batters reached base safely:� 2B Jarek Cunningham and RF Jose Hernandez began with back-to-back singles, and Baker’s double scored Cunningham (#1 run).� Rubinstein’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez (#2).� Noris and DH Kyle Morgan goth singled, and Baker scored (#3).� Marquez doubled in Noris and Morgan (#4, 5), and sent the Hagerstown pitcher to the showers.� Benji Gonzalez flied out, but Elevys Gonzalez singled, plating Marquez (#6).� A fielding error on that play moved Elevys G to second base, and a wild pitch put him on third.� Cunningham’s second single in the inning brought in Elevys G (#7), before a line out ended the inning.

The Power put at least one baserunner on in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them were able to come around to score.

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