Heredia’s Debut, SAL All-Star Game; 3 Homers In One Inning For The Marauders

Tuesday’s action:

The Pirates have signed their 4th round draft pick, Colten Brewer.  Brewer is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of high school in Canton.  He will likely report to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career.   All of the Pirates’ draft picks, and the ones who have signed, are listed here.  

GCL Pirates  10,  GCL Blue Jays  7
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Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia made his pro debut this afternoon, with a start for the GCL Pirates.  Heredia made a good showing.  He had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Alen Hanson in the 1st, but he retired the other three batters in that inning.  He gave up a walk in the 2nd, but again retired the other three batters he faced.  Heredia had some trouble in the 3rd, when he allowed 2 runs.  He began the inning with two ground outs, then hit a batter with a pitch.  That runner stole both second and third bases, then Heredia walked the next two batters to load the bases.  A single lined into left field brought in two runs.  Heredia was relieved by Robert Kilcrease, who finished the inning with a ground out.

Kilcrease gave up another 2 runs in the 4th.  Back-to-back singles with one out and a walk loaded the bases with Jays.  A sacrifice fly brought in one run, then an RBI single brought in the second, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead. 

The Pirates were relatively quiet over the first 3 innings, but they broke out in the bottom of the 4th.  With one out, 3B Yhonathan Barrios beat out a bunt for a hit, then moved to second and on to third on two wild pitches.  He scored on LF Jose Osuna’s RBI single.  1B Jared Lakind walked, then DH Jon Schwind doubled in Osuna.  C Joey Schoenfeld tapped back to the mound, where the Jays’ pitcher tried for a fielder’s choice — but failed, allowing Lakind to score, and leaving Pirate runners on the corners.  Hansen’s 3-run homer brought in Schwind and Schoenfeld, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead.  

The Blue Jays also homered in the top of the 5th, but it was a solo shot off Pirates’ reliever Diomedes Mateo.  In the bottom of the 5th, RF Gregory Polanco walked and stole second base, then scored on Barrios’ triple lined into right field.   Pirates ahead, 7-5.  Mateo also gave up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th.  A single, a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases.  A fielding error by Barrios allowed both runners to cross the plate, tying the score at 7-7.  

The Pirates went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings.  Mateo gave up a single in the top of the 7th, but erased that runner with a double play.  He also allowed a walk in the 7th, and a single in the 8th.  Then the Pirates broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th.  Osuna walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Junior Sosa.  Lakind’s sacrifice bunt put Sosa on second, but Lakind was also safe at first.  Schwind also bunted, and was safe at first to load the bases.  Schoenfeld’s single brought in Sosa, then Hanson’s double lined into left scored both Lakind and Schwind.  That gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead.  2B Jodaneli Carvajal was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again for the Pirates.  Schoenfeld tried for the steal of home but didn’t make it, and that was the first out of the inning.  A strikeout and a ground out ended the frame, but the Pirates had the lead.  

Joe Parsons relieved Mateo on the mound to begin the top of the 9th.  He loaded the bases with two outs, on a hit batter, a walk, and a single.  Parsons got a pop out to end the game, and the Pirates had the win.  

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Latimore Leads Curve To Win; Spikes Win Their First

Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park.  The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday. 

Altoona Curve  4,  Harrisburg Senators  1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win.  Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  He scored on Norman’s single.  The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run.  With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field.  When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score.  Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.  

With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single.  Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base.  C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.  

Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings.  He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th.  He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning.   Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning.  He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th.  A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run.  Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score.  Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save. 

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Baker Homers In FSL All-Star Game; Curve Drops Double Header

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.   

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2011 Prospect Watching: Trinidad and Rodriguez

Looking at the Pirates’ prospects as spring training continues…  Today we’ll begin with the first basemen, moving up from the lower levels to the upper levels of the organization.

Michaelangel Trinidad  –  L/L,  5′ 11″,  232 lb
Trinidad is a 22-year-old Curacao native who has been in the Pirates’ organization since the 2006 season.  He played in the Venezuelan Summer League for three years.  In the third season, 2009, Trinidad hit .318, with 14 homers and a .604 SLG.  He made the move to the US and the GCL in 2010, but the start of his season was delayed by injury.  Once he got going, at the end of June, Trinidad hit .267 in July with 3 homers and 10 RBI.  That dropped to .211 in August, with one more homer and 6 RBI.  Trinidad’s upside is his power, especially since it was not accompanied by a ton of strikeouts (14 strikeouts in 27 games in the GCL, 16%).  His downside is his size.  He could get to State College for 2011, where he will need to continue the power surge but also make sure he stays in shape.

Gerlis Rodriguez  –  Bats: both/ Throws L,  6′ 2″,  185 lb
Rodriguez is also 22 years old, a Dominican Republic native.  Like Trinidad, he also spent 3 seasons in the VSL, where he bumped his batting average up to .291 in the third year.  Rodriguez spent 2009 with the GCL Pirates, hitting .266 with little power.  He moved up to State College for 2010, where he played first base and did some DH-ing (plus one game in left field).  He made 6 errors at first in 26 games.  At the plate, Rodriguez hit .201, with just 8 doubles, one homer, and 24 RBI in 48 games.  His walk rate dropped (11 walks, 6%) and his strikeout rate climbed (34 strikeouts, 21%) in 2010.  He should probably return to State College to work on some plate discipline and get the errors down. 

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Two Homers By Harrison Aren’t Enough; Maggi Debuts

Early and late action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

Portland Sea Dogs� 9,� Altoona Curve� 8 (box)

Two home runs by 3B Josh Harrison and an early lead from a 5-run 2nd inning were washed away by the Sea Dogs’ 6-run 7th inning this afternoon.� Harrison, the second batter of the game, put the Curve onto the scoreboard minutes after the game began with his solo home run over the left field wall.� He added the second home run (his 3rd of the season) in the next inning.� That rally began with back-to-back walks by RF Miles Durham and C Kris Watts. CF Anthony Norman was hit by a pitch to load the bases for LF Jose De Los Santos. A line drive single by De Los Santos brought in Durham, then a wild pitch let Watts score.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud lifted a sacrifice fly, which plated Norman.� That left De Los Santos on base for Harrison, who blasted his second home run, also over the left field wall, for a 2-run homer, giving the Curve a 6-0 lead.

Bryan Morris began his afternoon’s work by allowing only a walk and a single over the first three innings.� In the 4th, he gave up a single just over the head of SS Jordy Mercer and into left field, then a home run on a rising line drive, cutting the Curve’s lead to 6-2.� Those were the only runs Morris allowed, on 3 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Morris was relieved by Tom Boleska to begin the 6th.� Boleska gave up a solo homer, to 1B Anthony Rizzo, inching the Sea Dogs closer, 6-3.� But the real trouble came in the 7th, when Boleska could not retire any of the 4 batters he faced.� The first blasted a solo home run, then the next three all singled.� Derek Hankins replaced Boleska with the bases loaded and no outs.� He got one out on the infield fly rule, then got former Curve Ray Chang to strike out.� That brought Rizzo to the plate again — and he smashed a grand slam over the center field wall, and Portland had a 7-6 lead.� The grand slam was immediately followed by another solo home run, the third homer of the inning, for an 8-6 lead.� Five of those runs were charged to Boleska, and the other two to Hankins.

The Curve put one runner on base in each of the 4th through 7th innings, but could not get any of them around to score.� They rallied again in the 8th, starting with a single by 1B Matt� Hague and a double by Jordy Mercer, moving Hague to third base.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly brought in Hague, and Kris Watts’ double scored Mercer.� Norman was hit by a pitch and De Los Santos singled to deep short to load the bases.� But a grounder force out ended the inning with the Curve still one run short.� They went down in order in the 9th, and the Sea Dogs had the come-from-behind win.� Morris did not figure into the decision, but Boleska took the loss.

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