News and action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Sunday.� The GCL Pirates and the Bradenton Marauders had scheduled days off today.
Three members of the State College Spikes have been named to the National League squad for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, which will be played on August 17th at the home of the Staten Island Yankees.� IF Matt Curry, the Pirates’ 16th round pick in the 2010 draft, has a .331 batting average, with 3 homers and 19 RBI.�� OF Adalberto Santos was the Pirates’ 22nd round pick in this year’s draft.� He is hitting .313 with 2 homers and 29 RBI, and is tied for second in the league with 37 runs scored.� Reliever Jhonathan Ramos has a 3-1 record and one save, with a 1.54 ERA.� He leads the league in lowest number of baserunners allowed at 6.56/9 innings.� Opposing batters are hitting just .169 against him.
Tri-City Valley Cats� 4,� State College Spikes� 1 (box)
Tri-City took the early lead and never gave it up in this evening’s game.� CF Mel Rojas and 2B Gift Ngoepe led the Spikes with 2 hits each, but the team managed only one run.� Starter Zach Fuesser got into trouble right away in his 5th start for the Spikes.� Two singles, a stolen base, and a 2-RBI single gave Tri-City 2 runs in the top of the 1st.� They added another run in the 2nd on a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.� After a single, a wild pitch, a balk, and a walk in the 4th, Fuesser was relieved by Ryan Beckman, who finished the inning.� Beckman also gave up a walk and a wild pitch in the 5th, but kept Tri-City from scoring in that inning, but he surrendered a run on a single and a double in the 6th.
The Spikes had only one base runner over the first 3 innings, when Rojas walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st.� RF Adalberto Santos singled and stole second base in the 4th, and both C Miguel Mendez and DH Cole White singled with two outs in the 5th, but they were all left on base.� Ngoepe bounced a ground-rule double over the center field wall to begin the 6th, and Santos walked, but three strikeouts left both of them stranded also.� The Spikes scored their only run in the 7th.� 3B Kelson Brown led off with a double, and he scored on Rojas’ single.� Ngoepe also singled, and Santos walked, loading the bases with two outs.� A grounder ended the inning, though, and the Spikes were held to just that one run.� They threatened again in the 9th, when White walked and Rojas singled, but could not push the runner across the plate.
Mitch Fienemann pitched the last 3 innings for the Spikes, and allowed only one hit, while striking out 3 batters.
Thursday’s action…. I’ll be on the road for the next several days, and internet connections may be spotty.
Bradenton Marauders� 18,� Lakeland Flying Tigers� 5 (box)
The Marauders scored 13 runs in the final three innings of the game and posted a total of 19 hits, as they sent the Tigers flying.� Each member of the Marauders’ line-up had at least one hit, all but two walked at least once, and six recorded RBIs.� Four of them — 2B Shelby Ford, C Eric Fryer, DH Jordan Newton, and SS Adenson Chourio – had 3 hits each.� Of the 19 hits, only 5 were extra-base hits — 3 doubles, and 2 triples, but no home runs.
The game started out with some low-key scoring.� The Marauders put up one run in the top of the 1st, when Shelby Ford singled and scored on Eric Fryer’s triple.� Lakeland came back with 3 runs on 4 singles and a double in the bottom of the 2nd, to take a 3-1 lead.
The Marauders returned fire in the top of the 4th.� LF Quincy Latimore led off with a double.� After two outs, three consecutive singles by Newton, CF Austin McClune, and Chourio brought in two runs, and Ford doubled, plating two more runs.� Bradenton up, 5-3.
Brian Leach pitched the first 5 innings for the Marauders, allowing those 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts.� He was relieved by Craig Hansen to begin the 6th, Hansen’s first time back on the mound in a live game situation in over a year.� Hansen gave up a single, then got a strikeout, but followed that with three consecutive walks, forcing in a run.� He was relieved by Casey Erickson, who gave up a sacrifice fly for another run (charged to Hansen), then a single.� The throw in from McClune in center field to Fryer at the plate was right on target, and Fryer was able to tag out another runner as he tried to score.� Erickson was charged with a Blown Save, as the game was now tied at 5-5.
At that point, the Marauders really got going.� They took the lead back again (and gave Erickson the win) with 2 runs in the top of the 7th.� Three walks, to Grossman, Fryer, and 1B Calvin Anderson, loaded the bases.� Newton singled up the middle, scoring both Grossman and Fryer.� The 8th inning began with a single by Chourio, a triple by Ford (one run in), and a single by Fryer, scoring Ford (2).� After a pitching change, Latimore and 3B Adam Davis both walked.� A wild pitch and a throwing error allowed Fryer and Anderson to score (3, 4), and a single by Newton brought in Davis (5).� Eight batters had come to the plate in the 8th, and the score was 12-5.
Twelve Marauders’ batters came to the plate in the 9th, and 6 more runs came in.� With one out, Chourio walked and Ford reached on a throwing error.� Grossman’s double scored Chourio and Ford (1,2).� Four singles follwed, by Fryer (Grossman scores — 3), Latimore, Anderson, and Adams.� Adams’ single brought in Fryer and Latimore (4, 5).� After a pop out, McClune and Chourio singled, plating Anderson (6).
Erickson pitched 2 more scoreless innings, and Noah Krol pitched a scoreless 9th inning, with a walk and a single, plus 2 strikeouts.
A few roster notes:� RHP Teddy Fallon and LHP Justin Ennis were both promoted from State College to West Virginia.� Fallon was the Pirates’ 43rd pick in the 2009 draft, and Ennis was the 33rd round pick in this year’s draft.� RHP Tom Boleska has been promoted from Bradenton to Altoona.
Altoona’s Bryan Morris has skipped a start, which the Pirates are calling just a “breather”.� He has struggled in his last few starts, but has also stacked up the innings so far this season (103) and the Pirates want him to stay below 140 innings this season.
West Virginia Power� 9,� Hagerstown Suns� 1 (box)
Phillip Irwin pitched 7 no-hit innings for the Power tonight, before he had to be relieved due to his increasing pitch count.� Irwin struck out 8 batters in his 7 innings, and he allowed 2 walks.� He got off to a strong start when he struck out the side in the 1st inning, then struck out 2 more in the 2nd.� The first walk came in the 3rd inning, but that runner was immediately erased when the next batter lined right to 1B Aaron Baker, who stepped on first base for a double play.� The next 7 batters went down in order, until the 6th, when that same batter, C Sandy Leon, walked again.� This time Leon was forced out at second on a grounder, and another ground out ended the inning.� Irwin wrapped up his amazing evening with two more strikeouts in the 7th inning.
Ryan Kelly relieved Irwin and pitched the final two innings.� He allowed one hit, but it was a solo home run.� He also walked a batter in the 9th, and struck out 2 batters.
The rest of the team was busy giving Irwin and Kelly plenty of run support.� They piled up 16 hits, with everyone in the lineup reaching base at least one time, and all but SS Benji Gonzalez picking up at least one hit (Gonzalez had a walk).� 3B Elevys Gonzalez, Aaron Baker, and LF Rogelios Noris each had 3 hits.� Baker led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run.� CF David Rubinstein followed the homer with a double, and Noris added a single to put runners on the corners.� C Jairo Marquez lined a single into center field, scoring Rubinstein to give the Power an early 2-0 lead.
They boosted that lead in the 3rd inning, as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 7 runs.� Six of the first seven batters reached base safely:� 2B Jarek Cunningham and RF Jose Hernandez began with back-to-back singles, and Baker’s double scored Cunningham (#1 run).� Rubinstein’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez (#2).� Noris and DH Kyle Morgan goth singled, and Baker scored (#3).� Marquez doubled in Noris and Morgan (#4, 5), and sent the Hagerstown pitcher to the showers.� Benji Gonzalez flied out, but Elevys Gonzalez singled, plating Marquez (#6).� A fielding error on that play moved Elevys G to second base, and a wild pitch put him on third.� Cunningham’s second single in the inning brought in Elevys G (#7), before a line out ended the inning.
The Power put at least one baserunner on in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them were able to come around to score.
Friday evening’s news….
Altoona Curve� 3,� Harrisburg Senator� 0 (box)
Three Curve pitchers combined for a shutout, as starter Jeff Locke earned the win in his Curve debut.� Locke pitched 5 scoreless innings and struck out 5 batters.� He scattered 4 hits, and did not allow a walk.� Tony Watson relieved Locke to begin the 6th.� Watson allowed only one hit and one walk, both in the 6th inning, then retired the side in the 7th and 8th.� Derek Hankins earned his 4th save with a scoreless 9th, as he worked around a lead-off double.
The pitching trio got their first bit of run support before Locke even took the mound.� SS Chase d’Arnaud began the game with a double into center field.� CF Gorkys Hernandez followed with a single up the middle, driving in d’Arnaud.� Hernandez stole second and reached third on a ground out, but was left stranded.� The Curve scored again in the 3rd.� D’Arnaud walked, and his base running blunder was erased by an error by the Harrisburg first baseman.� D’Arnaud was picked off first base and caught stealing, but when the first baseman missed the catch for an error, d’Arnaud advanced to second safely.� 2B Josh Harrison lined a single into right field, and d’Arnaud scored.
One more run scored in the 7th.� Back-to-back singles by RF Miles Durham and LF Brandon Jones put two runners on base, and Tony Watson’s sacrifice bunt moved them both into scoring position.� A wild pitch let Durham race home from third with the Curve’s final run.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have reaquired infielder Brian Bixler (photo) from the Cleveland Indians’ organization.� Bixler, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2004 draft, played in the Pirates’ organization for all of his career until he was traded to Cleveland in January 2010 for infielder Jesus Brito. Bixler did not make the Cleveland major league team out of spring training, and he was removed from their 40-man roster.� He has been playing for AAA Columbus, and has appeared in several games against the Indy Indians.� For the Clippers, the 27-year-old Ohio native has been hitting .278 with 13 doubles, one triple, 3 homers, and 27 RBI.� That’s about the same average but with a little less power than he showed with the Indy Indians in 2009.� Bixler has not been able to take his AAA level success up to the major league level.� In a total of 68 games with the Pirates, Bixler hit .178 with 7 doubles, one triple, and 5 RBI, and struck out 62 times.� Bixler will join the Indy Indians after the All-Star break.
The Indy Indians are off for their All-Star break.� The AAA All-Star game will be played on Wednesday in Lehigh Valley.� The game will not be on ESPN2 as in past years, but will be televised on the MLB network.� It will also be on-line on milb.com.�� More Monday action in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Richmond Flying Squirrels� 6,� Altoona Curve� 3….. suspended (box)
They got into the 4th inning before rain halted play in Altoona this afternoon.� The Curve got busy in the bottom of the 1st, with a double by 3B Shelby Ford, and an RBI single by 2B Jordy Mercer. Mercer stole second, then went to third on walks to C Kris Watts and LF Brandon Jones. RF Miles Durham drove in both Mercer and Watts with a line drive single into left field.� Durham also stole second, but was left there when the inning ended.
Starter Tim Alderson retired the side in the top of the 1st, but struggled after that.� The Squirrels came right back in the top of the 2nd to tie the score.� The inning began with three consecutive singles, which brought in one run.� A throwing error by 1B Matt Hague loaded the bases, and another single drove in two more runs.� A sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position — and provided the first out of the inning.� A hit batter loaded the bases again, but an infield fly rule pop out and a grounder force out ended the inning.� The second inning did not go any better.� A double, a walk, and a double opened the inning, bringing in 2 runs.� After two ground outs, another double drove in the Squirrels’ 6th run.� Alderson was relieved by Dustin Molleken to begin the top of the 4th, and Molleken retired the side in order.
The Curve went down in order in the 2nd.� Mercer and Watts both singled in the 3rd, though neither scored.� The bottom of the 4th began with a walk to Durham and a single by CF Anthony Norman, moving Durham to third.� Molleken’s sacrifice bunt moved Norman to second base, and that’s how things stood when play was halted.� The game will be resumed on August 26th.
After the game, Alderson was reassigned to A+ Bradenton.� He had made 17 starts for the Curve, and in 86.2 innings, Alderson had allowed 105 hits and 54 earned runs (5.30 ERA).� He had 26 walks and 57 strikeouts, and batters hit .307 against him. His record:� 7-5.
Jeff Locke is being promoted from Bradenton to Altoona — a pitcher swap.� Locke has a 9-3 record with the Marauders.� He also has 17 starts, for 86.1 innings, allowing 82 hits and 42 earned runs (3.54 ERA).� Locke has walked 14 and struck out 83, and batters hit .248 against him.