The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….
Greensboro Grasshoppers 5, West Virginia Power 0
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The Power were held to just one hit — a single by CF Mel Rojas, which came in the 5th inning. The only other Power base runner was SS Drew Maggi, who walked to lead off the 4th, but was quickly picked off first base. After Rojas’ two-out single in the 5th, the remaining 13 batters were retired in order. It took three Grasshopper pitchers to do it, and their starter, Kyle Winters, pitched 7 one-hit innings, with 7 strikeouts, including striking out the side in his final inning.
Greensboro did all the damage they needed in the bottom of the 1st. A pair of doubles started the inning, and after a fly out, a 2-run homer gave the ‘Hoppers a 3-0 lead. Tyler Waldron had only one batter reach base in the next two innings, and that was on a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris in the 3rd. That runner was erased with an inning-ending double play. Waldron gave up 2 more runs in the 4th. Two singles and a wild pitch put two runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly and an RBI single drove in the two runs.
Victor Black relieved Waldron and ptiched a scoreless inning, with two walks and two strikeouts. Then 19-year old Orlando Castro made his US debut with 3 scoreless innings of work. The Honduras native gave up a 2-out single in the 6th, and a lead-off single and a walk in the 7th. The lead-off runner was eliminated in a double play. Then he retired the side in the bottom of the 8th.
Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:
Altoona Curve 11, Reading Phillies 1 (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short. The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game. Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs. R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning. The first four Curve batters reached base safely: a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases. After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3). C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again. 2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out. Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning. That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.
But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd. With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in. A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.
Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs. Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd. Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second. Mercer singled, plating Norman. After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base. Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer. Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly. A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1. The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long. Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.
Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 6, Lakewood BlueClaws 1 (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th. The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out. They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single. Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single. DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped. When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score. That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.
Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension. He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning. Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners. The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored. Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score. He also struck out 3 batters.
The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th. RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base. Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate. Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases. Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.
Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring. Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.
Saturday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates.
Portland Sea Dogs 4, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 6 base runners — 3 singles and 3 walks, and could not push any of them around to score. SS Jordy Mercer was the only Curve to reach base in the first 5 innings. He walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but was out at second base when 1B Matt Curry flied out.
Starter Mike Colla retired Portland in order in the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run in the 3rd. He gave up another solo blast in the 4th, and struck out the other three batters in that inning. In the 5th, a lead-off double and an RBI single gave the Sea Dogs their third run in the 5th. Portland’s third homer of the game made it 4-0 in the 6th. Colla left after 6 innings, having allowed 7 hits (3 homers and 4 other hits), one walk, and 6 strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, with 58 strikes.
The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, with a walk by DH Kris Watts and singles by RF Brad Chalk and 2B Brock Holt loading the bases with one out. But CF Starling Marte bounced into a double play to end the inning. Mercer singled in the 7th, and he was also erased with a double play. Chalk walked in the 9th, but was left on base.
Matt McSwain pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Curve in relief of Colla. He gave up two singles, but one was eliminated with a double play, and the other was left stranded. Noah Krol pitched the top of the 9th, allowing a walk and a single.
Thursday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers…
Altoona Curve 5, Trenton Thunder 1
Starter Jeff Locke struck out 8 Trenton batters in his 5.1 innings of work, while getting plenty of run support — 3 home runs from his offense. The only run Locke surrendered came in the bottom of the 2nd, when Trenton loadd the bases on a walk, a hit batter, and a single. Another walk by Locke forced in the run, then a strikeout and a double play got him out of the inning. Locke allowed only a walk and a double over the next three innings. He began the 6th with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Diego Moreno.
Meanwhile, the Curve were pounding out the hits — a total of 15, including 3 by 2B Brock Holt. Each Curve batter had at least one hit. 1B Matt Curry, who had two hits in the game, began the Curve scoring with a solo home run to lead off the top of the 2nd. Holt led off the 3rd with a line drive single to short, then moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s walk, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.
Back-to-back solo homers by Latimore and Mercer added another 2 runs in the 5th inning. The Curve loaded the bases on three consecutive singles in the 6th — by RF Jose Hernandez, Holt, and CF Brad Chalk, but Latimore struck out to end the inning and leave all three runners on base. The final Curve run scored in the 8th. The inning began with back-to-back singles by DH Travis Scott and 3B Greg Picart. Picart was picked off first and caught stealing, but Scott advanced to third, and he was plated by Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. Holt also tripled in that inning.
Moreno finished the 6th inning for Locke with a strikeout and a pop out. Then he struck out the side in the 7th inning. Michael Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He loaded the bases with a double, a single, and a walk in the 8th, but got out of that jam with a strikeout and a force out. Then he worked around a single for a scoreless 9th.