Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games. Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings. The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings. The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base. Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer. He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.
The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings. They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down. Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning. Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play. Farrell scored on the error. CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.
Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th. He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single. An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run. Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.
Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.
The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract. He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College. Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.
Friday’s game action:
Harrisburg Senators 2, Altoona Curve 0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel. Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings. The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings. He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings. Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single. That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.
But the Curve weren’t scoring either. They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer. Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base. RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice. CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout. 1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second. 2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.
Two Pirates’ minor leaguers have been chosen to play in the MLB Futures game, which is held during the All-Star festivities. OF Starling Marte will be on the World team, and INF Chase d’Arnaud was named to the USA team — though that might change if d’Arnaud is indeed called up to Pittsburgh.
The State College Spikes’ game against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed due to rain. They will go for two on Friday night, beginning at 6:05 pm.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Altoona Curve 0
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This shortened game was a pitching duel, with the two teams combining for just 7 hits. Kyle McPherson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits. Two of those hits were solo homers, both coming in the 4th inning, and that accounted for all of the Fisher Cats’ scoring. The only other ‘Cats’ hit was a single to lead off the 1st inning, and that runner was picked off base. McPherson walked two batters, one in the 1st, and former Indy Indian Craig Stansberry in the 5th. Stansberry was caught stealing second base. Anthony Claggett pitched the bottom of the 6th, walking one and hitting one batter with a pitch.
The Curve batters collected 4 hits. CF Starling Marte led off the top of the 1st with a double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve. SS Jordy Mercer singled, and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But new Curve player RF Andrew Lambo lined right to the ‘Cats’ first baseman, who doubled off Sanchez for a double play. The other 2 hits happened in the 4th. Sanchez led off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing. 3B Jeremy Farrell also singled, but was left on base. There were only 2 more base runners for the Curve for the rest of the game — Sanchez walked in the 6th and 1B Matt Curry walked in the 7th, and both were left on base.
This was scheduled to be Game 1 of a double-header, and so was scheduled for 7 innings. But this game was also interrupted by rain, and the second game was washed out. The Curve move on to Harrisburg to begin a series tomorrow. They will play New Hampshire again in mid-August, and will have to do the make-up then.
More brief notes for Saturday, since we’re on the road….
Florida State League All-Star Game, played in Clearwater, Florida
FSL North 5, FSL South 3
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Three Marauders’ players got in on this game: C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, and 2B Jarek Cunningham were all starters for the South squad. The North scored first, with a single, a triple, and fielding error in center field in the bottom of the 1st, for a 2-0 lead. The South tied it up in the top of the 4th, thanks to the Marauders. Cabrera led off with a single through to left field. After two outs, Baker brought in Cabrera with a 2-run homer to tie the game.
The North took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th. A walk, a stolen base, an RBI double, and an RBI single gave the North a 4-2 lead. The North added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double. The South had one last chance in the top of the 9th, which began with a lead-off single. Baker grounded out, moving the runner to second base, and another single put him on third. A sacrifice fly brought in the run, but a ground out ended the rally and the game.
Cabrera played 3.5 innings before being replaced by another catcher. He went 1-for-2, with a ground out in his other at-bats. Cunningham played 5.5 innings before letting another second baseman get into the game. He grounded out and popped out in his two plate appearances. Baker played the whole game, and went 1-for-2 at the plate, with two walks.
Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:
The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend. The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL. Representing the Marauders: C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham. Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.
The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates. Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.
Williamsport Crosscutters 7, State College Spikes 0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season. Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd. That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second. After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning. A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0. Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out. Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles. Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.
The Spikes collected 6 hits. C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks, CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled. The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder. Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate. They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.