Uviedo Wins, Gimenez Homers

Not many winter league playoff games today, but a few player moves:
LHP Wil Ledezma had been DFA’ed right before Christmas, and yesterday he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays.
Both INF Delwyn Young and RHP Brian Bass signed minor league contracts with the Phillies today.  
Earlier in the week, RHP Joe Martinez, who had also been DFA’ed by the Pirates shortly before Christmas, was traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Leones del Caracas  11,  Bravos de Margarita  3  –  
Los Leones posted 14 hits, which was enough to make up for their 3 errors.  Three singles and a Bravos’ fielding error gave Los Leones their first 3 runs in the 2nd inning.  In the third, the first six Caracas batters reached base — a double, two singles, and three walks (including a walk by LF Mike Ryan) — then a sacrifice fly and another single gave Los Leones 5 runs.  A 3-run homer in the 8th capped their scoring.  Margarita scored one run in the 6th, with the help of one of those errors.  An error by Ryan in left field, plus a walk and two singles (one by C JR House) brought in two more runs in the 9th.  Ronald Uviedo earned the win for Caracas, going 6 innings and allowing only the unearned run in the 6th inning, on 3 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts.  

Caribes de Anzoategui  5,  Tigres de Aragua  4  –  New Blue Jay Wil Ledezma came into the game for Los Tigres in the 6th inning with one run in and runners on the corners.  Ledezma gave up a single, which broke a 4-4 tie, and eventually gave the win to Los Caribes.  Ledezma also retired the side in order in the 7th.  Los Caribes started the game with 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a double, an error, and a sacrifice fly.   Los Tigres scored one run in the 2nd, when 1B Hector Gimenez walked, then scored on an RBI double.  Gimenez added a 2-run homer in the 4th, and another homer in the 5th gave Aragua their 4 runs.  LF Lastings Milledge singled and stole second base in the 6th, and advanced to third base on another single, but he got no further.  C Raul Chavez went 0-for-3 for Los Tigres. 

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Thompson Boosting Los Gigantes

A few Pirates’ players and friends appeared in Wednesday’s winter league playoff games:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE 
Leones del Caracas  2,  Aguilas de Zulia  0  (Game 1)–  
Another pitching duel tonight, with each team posting just 5 hits each.  Los Leones scored a run in the 6th on a single, a bunt, a ground out, and an RBI single.  They added another run in the 7th, on a ground-rule double, a sacrifice bunt by LF Mike Ryan (who was shifted over from Los Navegantes del Magallanes) and an RBI ground out.  Jose Ascanio pitched the top of the 8th for Caracas.  He gave up a lead-off single, but got the next batter to line into a double play at first base, and another line out ended the inning.  

Leones  14,  Aguilas 5  (Game 2)  –  Oh, that’s where all the hits went — to the second game, with 13 hits for each team.  Three Leones’ batters collected 3 hits each.  C Carlos Maldonado singled twice and walked, scoring twice for Los Leones.  LF Mike Ryan also scored twice, with a single and a walk.  The 6-run 6th inning pushed Los Leones over the top, and it included 3 walks, a triple, a double, and Maldonado’s RBI single.  

Tigres de Aragua  4,  Bravos de Margarita  1  –  Los Tigres’ pitchers held Los Bravos to just 3 hits, and the only Margarita run came on two errors and an RBI single in the 5th.  Aragua scored their first run in the 3rd inning on a single and a double.  Four singles, including one by 1B Hector Gimenez, brought in 2 runs in the 5th.  A single, a stolen base, and an error gave Los Tigres their last run in the 8th inning.  LF Lastings Milledge and CF Jorge Cortes also had a single each in the game.   

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Estrellas de Oriente  2,  Toros del Este  1  –  
A double, a bunt, and an RBI single in the top of the 10th broke a 1-1 tie to give Los Estrellas the win.  A double, a bunt, and an RBI ground out brought in Los Estrellas’ first run in the 6th.  A pair of singles around a ground out pushed in a run for Los Toros in the 8th.  DH Ronny Paulino singled twice and walked for Los Estrellas, but was out at second base twice and left on base once.

Gigantes del Cibao  9,  Leones del Escogido  6  –  CF Rich Thompson is looking like a strong addition to Los Gigantes for their playoff drive.  He contributed a single, a double, 2 RBI, and a run in tonight’s win.  The game began with Thompson’s double, and a bunt and a throwing error allowed the speedy Thompson come around to score.  A ground out and a wild pitch gave Los Gigantes a second run in the top of the 1st.  Los Leones tied the score in the bottom of the inning.  Thompson gave Los Gigantes the lead again in the top of the 2nd, with an RBI ground out that followed 3 singles.  Escogido took the lead back in the bottom of the frame with 3 runs, for a 5-3 score.  Los Gigantes tied the score at 5-5 with two singles and two doubles in the 4th.  Then they recaptured the lead in the 5th, scoring 3 runs on a pair of two-out singles and a pair of fielding errors.  Thompson drove in Los Gigantes’ final run in the top of the 7th, with an RBI single following a double.  

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Low-Hitting Playoff Games, Good Inning For Ascanio

Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league play…

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE   (playoffs)
Criollos de Caguas  5,  Gigantes de Carolina  0  –  
Caguas’ starter Dylan Owen (Mets) pitched 7 no-hit innings, and two relievers finished the deal with a string of 6 consecutive ground outs.  Owen walked 2 Carolina batters, one to lead off the 2nd, and one to lead off the 7th.  Los Criollos scored one run in the 4th.  The bottom of the 5th began with a walk by 3B Ramon Vazquez, then a bunt and a throwing error put runners on the corners, and a walk loaded the bases.  SS Luis Figueroa bounced into a double play, but that let Vazquez score from third base.  Two RBI singles brought in two more runs.  A walk and two throwing errors (5 total errors for Los Gigantes) gave Caguas their final run in the 7th.

Leones de Ponce  5,  Senadores de San Juan  4  –  Los Leones were leading 4-2 going into the top of the 8th, which opened with a walk.  Los Leones brought in RJ Rodriguez to pitch, but he gave up a walk and made a throwing error, with allowed a run to come in.  A hit batter and an RBI grounder tied the score, and Rodriguez was charged with a Blown Save.  Rodriguez retired the side on three ground outs in the top of the 9th, and in the bottom of the 9th, he was saved.  A hit batter, a double, and a walk-off single gave Ponce and Rodriguez the win.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE (playoffs)
Estrellas de Oriente  2,  Leones del Escogido  1  –  
Not a lot of hits in this game either.  Los Leones were held to 3 hits, and scored one run in the 1st, on a single a walk, and a wild pitch.  Los Estrellas tied the score with a solo homer in the 3rd.  They took the lead in the 6th on back-to-back doubles, the first by DH Ronny Paulino.  Franquelis Osoria pitched to one batter in the 4th for Los Estrellas.  He threw a wild pitch, but got a strikeout.


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Many Familiar Winter League Pitchers

Lots of Pirates and former Pirates pitching in Friday’s winter league action… This is the last week of regular season play for the Dominican and Puerto Rican leagues.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  8,  Tiburones de La Guaira  5  – (Game 1) 
A 5-run 6th inning gave Los Caribes the edge in the first game of the double header.  Los Caribes started the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on a single, a walk by DH Jose Tabata, and a 3-run homer.  The 6th inning began with a double, a hit batter, and a walk to load the bases.  Two sacrifice flies, an RBI single, and a sacrifice bunt aided by a throwing error by Los Tiburones’ pitcher added four more runs.  Tabata also singled in the inning.  La Guaira scored 2 runs in the 4th and rallied for 3 in the bottom of the 7th, but could not catch up.

Tiburones   9,  Caribes  2  – (Game 2)  Ryan Vogelsong earned his 6th win for Los Tiburones.  He allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk over 6 innings.  Tabata did not get into the night-cap.

Leones de Caracas  6,  Aguilas de Zulia  2  –  Another former Pirate pitcher earned the win —  Ronald Uviedo also pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs.  He gave up 8 hits and a walk.  Los Leones scored one run in the 1st, two in the 2nd, and 3 in the 5th.  C Carlos Maldonado singled twice and walked, and scored one run.  

Bravos de Margarita  9,  Cardenales de Lara  –  Both teams put up big innings and posted a total of 12 hits each.  Lara had a 5-run 3rd inning, which began with CF Ray Sadler  being hit by a pitch.  Three singles and a throwing error brought in 2 runs, a sacrifice fly plated a third run, and a 2-run homer made it 5 runs.  Three consecutive doubles, including one by Sadler, plus a sacrifice fly gave Los Cardenales 3 runs in the 4th.  Los Bravos began their scoring with a run in the 2nd, then 3 runs in the 3rd on three singles, an error, and a wild pitch.  They added 4 more in the next inning, on three singles and three walks.  After the bottom of the 4th, the score was tied at 8-8.  Los Bravos scored what would turn out to be the winning run in the top of the 5th, on a walk, a double, and an RBI ground out.  Romulo Sanchez pitched to three batters and got three outs in the top of the 9th for Los Cardenales.  Anthony Claggett took the mound for Los Bravos in the bottom of the 6th, with two on and one out.  He got two outs to end the inning, then pitched the next two innings, allowing only one walk, no hits, with three strikeouts.  Ronald Belisario earned his 14th save with a scoreless 9th inning for Los Bravos.  

Tigres de Aragua  7,  Navegantes del Magallanes  5  –  New Pirate Fernando Nieve made the start for Los Navegantes and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.  A double and an RBI single by CF Jorge Cortes gave Los Tigres their first run in the 2nd inning.  Nieve gave up a 2-run homer to 1B Hector Gimenez in the 3rd inning.  Gimenez got to him again in the 5th, with an RBI single that followed a lead-off double.  Los Tigres scored 3 more runs after Nieve departed.  Cortes walked to lead off the 6th, then scored on a bunt and an RBI single.  Two runs scored in the 7th.  A double, Gimenez’s third hit of the game, a wild pitch, and LF Lasting Milledge’s sacrifice fly plated the runs.  Los Navegantes also scored one run in the 2nd inning, when LF Mike Ryan led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error.  Magallanes scored 3 runs in the 5th, on a pair of singles, a double, and a fielding error by Milledge.  Reliever Wil Ledezma took the mound in relief for Aragua after those three runs had scored, and he worked around another error to get two outs and prevent further runs from scoring.  

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Three Hits For Cedeno, Two For Jaramillo

Sunday’s winter league action with the Pirates’ players and friends…
As usual, the Arizona Fall League has Sunday off.  Guess who is leading the AFL in RBI?  That’s right, it’s OF Andrew Lambo.
The Australian League also has a few days off, with the Adelaide Bite and Quincy Latimore back in action on Wednesday.

 VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
 
Tigres de Aragua  6,  Cardenales de Lara  4  –  
A 4-run 4th inning gave Los Tigres the edge over Los Cardenales.  A pair of singles opened the inning, then after a fly out, CF Jorge Cortes loaded the bases with a single into right field.   Lara changed pitchers, but he gave up three more singles.  The first drove in one run, then SS Ronny Cedeno singled in two more runs.  A passed ball put runners onto second and third bases, and RF/LF Lastings Milledge’s single drove in the fourth run of the inning.  Los Tigres’ first run came on a solo home run that opened the game in the top of the 1st.  Cedeno singled and Milledge walked after the home run, but they did not score in that inning.  Aragua added a run on a double and a fielding error in the 2nd inning.  Cedeno also singled in the 3rd inning, for a total of 3 hits in the game.  C Raul Chavez was hitless in 5 at-bats.  Lara also scored one run in the 1st inning, to tie the score.  Los Cardenales took a 3-2 lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd, but that lead lasted only a few minutes, until Aragua scored 4 in the 4th.  

Aguilas del Zulia  10,  Navegantes del Magallanes  4  –  Los Aguilas also had a 4-run inning, the 9th, to cap their scoring and take the win.  LF Mike Ryan singled in the 1st inning for Magallanes but did not come around to score.  Magallanes scored one run in the 3rd and another in the 4th.  In the 9th, Los Navegantes loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, then scored one run on SS Argenis Diaz’s sacrifice fly.  Another single plated one more run, but a double play ended the rally.  

Los Bravos de Margarita are reporting that manager Luis Dorante has been hospitalized with kidney failure.  He will be out for two weeks.

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