Friday the Thirteenth was lucky for the Curve and the Power….
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 2
The Curve posted a lucky 12 hits, as CF Starling Marte led the charge with 3 singles. Marte, along with 2B Brock Holt got the scoring started with back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the 1st. LF Eric Fryer’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice bunt plated Holt.
Erie came right back with a pair of doubles off Curve starter Jared Hughes to tie the game at 1-1. Hughes allowed only one walk over the next three innings. In the top of the 6th, he gave up a 2-out single, followed by a ground-rule double. Because it was ground-rule, the lead runner had to stop at third base, and Hughes was able to get out of the inning with a ground out, keeping the SeaWolves from scoring again.
The Curve missed out on scoring opportunities in two innings. Holt doubled and Marte singled in the 3rd, but both were left in scoring position. Both C Tony Sanchez and DH Kris Watts singled in the 4th, and they were also left on base. A pair of doubles got the scoring re-started in the 5th. Marte walked and Fryer singled with one out. Marte advanced to third base on a fly out by Mercer, then scored on 3B Jeremy Farrell’s double into left field. Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall to bring in both Fryer and Farrell, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.
Marte started another rally in the 7th with a liner to second base for a single. He stole second base, then scored on Fryer’s grounder into right field. That chased the Erie starter, but their reliever did not have any better success. Fryer had gone to second base on the throw in from the outfield, and he advanced to third when the new reliever balked. Farrell doubled in Fryer for a 6-1 lead.
Hughes finished his evening with a scoreless 7th inning, having allowed one run on 6 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts. Tim Alderson pitched a perfect 8th, then Noah Krol gave up one run in the top of the 9th on three singles, one of which ricocheted off Krol and into center field.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss. The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez. Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd. LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out. Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.
Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks. A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.
Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits. Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd. Then things fell apart in the 3rd. The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass. The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored. Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout. But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0. The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single. A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base. Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third. Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double. Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out. Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th. He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.
Sunday afternoon with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates…. the West Virginia Power were rained out in Charleston. They will try for two games with the Greensboro Grasshoppers on Monday, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 5
2B Brock Holt continued his hot hitting with two singles and a triple, as the Curve scored two runs in their last at-bat for the win. The game began with each team scoring 2 runs in the 1st inning. The SeaWolves began with a walk, a single, and a ground out, to put two runners into scoring position. A double lined into center field drove in both runners. Starter Aaron Thompson gave up another single, for runners on the corners, but he got out of the inning with a line out to third and a ground out.
Holt got the Curve rally started with a lead-off triple into right field. CF Starling Marte singled of the Erie third baseman’s glove and into left field, bringing in Holt. A balk moved Marte to second base, then he tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out. SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly plated Marte to tie the score at 2-2. A fielding error in center kept Mercer on the bases, but he was thrown out as he tried to get all the way to third base. The inning continued with 3B Jeremy Farrell hit by a pitch, then moving on to second with a stolen base and to third on a passed ball. DH Tony Sanchez was also hit by a pitch, but a ground out ended the inning with the two still standing on the corners. Two batters in a row being hit prompted the umpires to warn both benches.
The Curve took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then RF Brad Chalk replaced him at first with a grounder force out. Chalk stole second base, then scored on Marte’s RBI single into center field.
Thompson allowed only a one hit over the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a run in the 4th on a single, a stolen base, and a very wild pitch, as Erie tied the score at 3-3.
Fryer was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the 4th, and that resulted in both the Erie pitcher LJ Gagnier and the Erie manager Chris Cron to be ejected. Fryer was left on base as the new reliever Jared Gayhart retired the next three batters. But Gayheart began the 5th by hitting LF Quincy Latimore with a pitch (not sure why he wasn’t also ejected). Latimore was picked off first, though, and after a single by Mercer and a walk to Sanchez, Sanchez was also picked off first.
The Curve took the lead again in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham singled, moved to second on Fryer’s sacrifice bunt, on to third on a ground out, and scored on Holt’s single lined into right field.
Thompson finished with 6 innings of work, having allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He was relieved by Anthony Claggett to begin the 7th, with the Curve ahead 4-3. Claggett gave up two walks, but the first base runner was caught stealing, and the inning ended without a run scoring. Michael Dubee took the mound to begin the 8th inning. Dubee got a strike out, a ground out, and another strikeout — but strike three went wild, and the batter reached first base safely. Dubee walked the next batter, then a double scored both base runners, and Erie had a 5-4 lead, while Dubee had a Blown Save.
But the Curve batters rescued Dubee in the bottom of the frame. Sanchez walked to begin the rally, and was bunted to second. Chalk doubled, and Sanchez scored, then Holt singled for his third hit of the game, and combined with a throwing error by the shortstop on the relay throw, Chalk also scored, giving the Curve the lead again. Dubee pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Curve and Dubee had the win.
Bradenton Marauders 12, St. Lucie Mets 6
For the second time in three days, the Marauders put up a big first inning — and this one was even bigger than the 6-run inning two games ago. Bradenton sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 1st, scoring 10 runs. The fun began with back-to-back singles by RF Robbie Grossman and 2B Jarek Cunningham. CF Evan Chambers loaded the bases with a walk, and 1B Aaron Baker brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly (1). After a strikeout by DH Adalberto Santos, C Ramon Cabrera walked to load the bases again, then LF David Rubinstein lined a single into left field, bringing in Cunningham and Chambers (2,3). 3B Elevys Gonzalez and SS Benji Gonzalez lined back-to-back doubles into center field, with Elevys driving in Cabrera and Rubinstein (4,5), and Benji plating Elevys (6). That brought Grossman up again. He walked, then Cunningham drove in Benji and Grossman with a 3-run homer (7,8,9). Chambers walked again, and Baker lined a single into right field, and with the help of a throwing error that sent the ball into the stands, Chamber came in with the 10th run of the inning. Santos’ second strikeout of the inning ended the rally
The Mets tried to come back, but fell far short. Starter Nate Baker scattered 6 hits over 5.2 innings, and the only run he allowed came in the 5th, on a double and an RBI single. Baker walked one and struck out 2. With one on and two out in the top of the 6th, Duke Welker relieved Baker, finishing that inning with a strikeout. Welker gave up 2 runs in the 7th, on two lead-off walks, a balk, and an RBI ground out, then an RBI single. He also walked a batter in the 8th, and had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez, but a timely double play got Welker out of that jam. Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 9th inning, and he gave up back-to-back doubles and a 2-run homer, but even that was not enough for the Mets to catch up.
The Marauders added another run in the 4th inning on a pair of doubles by Rubinstein and Elevys Gonzalez. Cunningham hit his second homer of the game (6th of the season) in the 7th inning to give the Marauders their final run.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 7, Altoona Curve 3
The Curve had a good start to their game, but lost their early lead in the 6th inning. LF Quincy Latimore drove in 2 runs in the top of the 1st. 2B Brock Holt and C Tony Sanchez had both walked, and with 2 outs, Latimore grounded to shortstop, where a throwing error let both runs score. Sanchez and Latimore both singled in the 3rd, with Latimore driving in Sanchez, who had moved up to second base on a ground out.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson allowed just 2 singles over the first 5 innings of the game. Things changed in the 6th inning, though. A single, a bunt, and another single gave the Squirrels runners on the corners. Thompson balked, allowing the runner from third to score. A stolen base and a walk put Squirrels on the corners again. This time, Thompson threw a wild pitch to let the runner from third score. Another walk and a single loaded the bases, and sent Thompson to the showers. Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to relieve Thompson. The first batter Claggett faced grounded to second, forcing out the runner coming from first base, as the runner from third scored. A walk loaded the bases again, and a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham let the fourth run of the inning score. Thompson was responsible for all 4 runs, 3 of which were earned.
Mike Colla took over for the 7th inning, when he gave up a lone single. Then in the bottom of the 8th, Colla gave up a walk and a single, and the lead runner scored when Sanchez made a throwing error on a steal attempt. Another walk and two singles drove in two more runs.
After the 3rd inning, the Curve could not push another run across the plate. They hurt themselves on base running plays, when Holt singled and was caught stealing in the 4th, and Sanchez walked and was caught stealing in the 5th. SS Jordy Mercer doubled in the 5th, and Durham singled in the 8th, but were left on base. Pinch hitter Kris Watts singled in the Curve’s last chance in the 9th, but he was left stranded when a ground out ended the game.