Altoona Curve� 7,� Harrisburg Senators� 2 …�� (box)
The Pirates’ only minor league affiliate still playing in the post-season, the Altoona Curve, defeated the Harrisburg Senators 7-2 in the third game of the Eastern League Western Division playoffs tonight in Harrisburg.� After splitting the first two games in Altoona, the Curve now have a 2-1 game lead in the best-of-5.
The Curve pitching was a big key in the game, as starter Justin Wilson dominated the Senators for 6 scoreless innings.� He allowed only two hits and struck out 7 Harrisburg batters, though he also walked 5.� The first two batters in the Harrisburg line-up, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and SS Josh Johnson, led off in four different innings, and each time at least one got on base.� Lombardozzi had both of the singles given up by Wilson.� In the bottom of the 1st, Lombardozzi led off with a single and Johnson walked.� Wilson got a line out and a strikeout, then walked another batter to load the bases, but then ended the inning with a fly out.
Wilson retired the side in order in the 2nd, then the same two came up again to begin the 3rd.� This time Lombardozzi grounded out, then Johnson walked again.� Wilson got a double play to erase Johnson at second base, ending the inning.� Another walk and another double play got Wilson through the 4th inning, and he retired the side in order in the 5th.� The 1-2 punch began the 6th inning with another single by Lombardozzi (only Wilson’s second hit allowed) and a third walk to Johnson.� This time Lombardozzi advanced to third base by tagging up on a fly out, but two strikeouts ended the inning.
Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 7th inning.� He worked around a single in that inning, then had to face guess who to lead off the 8th inning.� This time they turned it around — Colla walked Lombardozzi and gave up a single to Johnson.� Colla wasn’t any more impressed than Wilson had been.� He left them standing right there, with a strikeout and two short fly outs.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were busy scoring.� They posted a total of 12 hits, with five different batters collecting 2 hits each:� 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 3B Josh Harrison, 1B Matt Hague, lF Jim Negrych, and RF Miles Durham. The Curve threatened in the 2nd, when Hague led off with a line drive single into right field.� He was erased with a double play, then C Hector Gimenez and Negrych worked back-to-back walks.� They were both left on base when a fly out ended the inning.� Three consecutive singles got another rally going in the 3rd inning.� D’Arnaud and Harrison both grounded through the left side of the infield, and SS Jordy Mercer lined the third single into right field.� That brought up Hague, who rocketed a long ball off the top of the wall in center field, not missing a home run by much.� It fell in for a double, clearing the bases to give Altoona a 3-0 lead.
Sunday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.
West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ….��� (box)
Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.
The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.
The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.
Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns’ reliever with the game-winning homer.
Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)
On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.
The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.
Monday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates….
Bowie Baysox� 2,� Altoona Curve� 0 ..� (box)
The Curve out-hit the Baysox 7-5, but were still shutout in Bowie.� 3B Josh Harrison and RF Miles Durham each had two hits, including a double for Harrison, while 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 1B Matt Hague, and LF Jim Negrych had one hit each.� Harrison’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Curve.� In addition, Negrych walked three times, and two Curve batters, C Kris Watts and pinch-hitter Jose De Los Santos, were hit by pitches.� That all adds up to 10 Curve batters left on base.
The Curve had two runners on in the 3rd inning, when d’Arnaud singled and Harrison doubled, sending d’Arnaud to third with two outs.� A strikeout ended that inning.� Two Curve were on base in the 4th also, when Negrych walked for the second time and Durham singled, but Negrych was picked off second base.� In the 8th, Hague singled and Negrych walked for the third time, but again a strikeout ended the inning.� The Curve’s best chance at scoring came in the 7th inning, when they loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Negrych and Durham, and then Watts was hit by a pitch.� A strikeout and a fly out ended that inning with all three runners still on base.
Justin Wilson suffered the loss.� He threw 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts.� Bowie scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st without needing a hit:� a walk, a ground out, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly.� A single and a double brought in their second run in the 3rd.� Mike Colla pitched the last 3 innings for the Curve.� He gave up only one hit, a double in the 7th, and retired the other 9 batters he faced, including 3 strikeouts.
Some action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Wednesday…� still can’t get anything done in Bradenton this evening, though the GCL Pirates did get their game in this afternoon.
Erie SeaWolves� 3,� Altoona Curve� 1 …�� (box)
The Curve were held to just 2 hits as they lost to the SeaWolves at home.� The Curve got two walks, one of which resulted in their only run, and they also had a runner reach on a fielding error.� 1B Matt Hague had the first Curve hit, a two-out single in the 4th inning.� 2B Jordy Mercer walked in the 2nd inning, and RF Miles Durham reached on a fielding error to begin the 8th inning.� None of them got as far as second base.� Finally, in the bottom of the 9th, SS Chase d’Arnaud led off with the second walk, and then he stole second base (his 32nd steal of the season).� DH Andrew Lambo lined a double into left field, scoring d’Arnaud with the Curve’s lone run.
Justin Wilson pitched 4 innings in his start, and gave up all three of the SeaWolves’ runs, on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 6 strikeouts.� He surrendered a run in the 2nd inning on three singles.� Another single and a double brought in one run in the 4th.� Wilson walked the next batter, then got a grounder to short for what looked like it would be an inning-ending double play.� The out was made at second, but Mercer’s throw to first was not on target, and the batter was safe, which allowed the runner who had doubled to score from second base.
Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 5th inning.� He gave up a walk to former teammate Brandon Jones to lead off the 5th, then erased him in a double play.� Colla allowed only one base runner in the rest of his four innings, a double to lead off the 7th inning.� Ramon Aguero pitched a perfect top of the 9th, with one strikeout.