Beckman’s Surprise Appearance

Pirates  10,  Rays  3

The Pirates posted 13 hits on their way to 10 runs in their McKechnie Field opener on Sunday afternoon.  CF Andrew McCutchen had three hits, including a solo homer for the Pirates’ first run of the game, and a double.  RF Garrett Jones also had three hits — 2 doubles and a single.  McCutchen began a rally in the 4th with a single, and doubles by Jones and C Ryan Doumit drove in 2 runs, all off former Pirate pitcher Chris Bootcheck.  Another former Pirate, Jonah Bayliss, came on to pitch the 5th inning for the Rays.  Bayliss got the first two outs, then gave up a triple to 2B Neil Walker, and doubles by McCutchen and 3B Pedro Alvarez, and the Pirates had 2 more runs.  Chase d’Arnaud came into the game for Walker in the 6th, and he led off the bottom of the 7th with a walk.  D’Arnaud moved to second base on a ground out, then scrambled around from second base, surprising the Rays, to score on an RBI ground out by 1B Steve Pearce.  The Pirates added another 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th.  That inning began with a solo homer by C Jason Jaramillo.  SS Josh Rodriguez singled, then with two outs and Rodriguez on third, d’Arnaud lined an RBI single up the middle.  CF Corey Wimberly walked, and 3B Andy Marte drove in both d’Arnaud and Wimberly with a double into right field.  

Kevin Correia made the start for the Pirates.  He gave up a run in the top of the 1st, with a lead-off walk and two ground outs.  Correia got into trouble in the 2nd inning, giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out.  That was all for Correia.  Minor leaguer Ryan Beckman, who pitched for State College in 2010, came on in relief of Correia.  Beckman got the first batter he faced to ground to second, which allowed the runner from third to score.  Another ground out ended the inning.  Usually that would be the end of the outing for a minor leaguer who is filling in.  But, Joe Beimel, who was scheduled to pitch after Correia, had some elbow soreness and did not pitch.  So, Beckman kept going.  He threw three more pitches, and retired three batters in the 3rd inning, with a line out and two ground outs.  Brian Burres earned the win with 2 scoreless innings following Beckman.  Joel Hanrahan, Jose Veras, and another minor leaguer, Tony Watson, each pitched one scoreless inning.  Watson worked around a lead-off single in the 8th.  Chris Leroux pitched the 9th, and gave up a solo homer and two singles, but ended the inning with a pop out and a double play.  

LF John Bowker and RF Andrew Lambo also got into the game.  

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Team USA Has A Hit-Fest Against Colombia

Team USA� 13,� Colombia� 6

Team USA recorded 19 hits on their way to 13 runs as they ran over Colombia.� SS Chase d’Arnaud collected 3 of the hits, with one RBI, and C Erik Kratz and DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) had 2 hits each.� Team USA got going with a big 7-run 3rd inning.� 2B Brian Barden (Marlins) opened the inning with a double into left center field.� D’Arnaud grounded to second base, moving Barden to third.� RF Brett Jackson (Cubs) and CF Mike Trout (Angels) both walked, loading the bases.� 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) drove in two runs (Barden and Jackson) with a single that slipped into right field.� Brad Eldred added a run with another RBI single that brought in Trout.� 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) also singled, plating Moustakas.� Then LF Jamie Hoffman (Dodgers) tripled into right center, scoring both Eldred and Hosmer.� Hoffman scored when Kratz grounded to short, and the Americans had a 7-0 lead.

Colombia scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd, on a walk, a triple, and an RBI ground out.� Team USA countered by scoring in the next 4 innings.� D’Arnaud singled to lead off the 4th inning, moved to second base on an error, to third on a ground out, and then scored on Trout’s double.� Kratz picked up an RBI with his double in the 5th, and d’Arnaud’s single drove in Kratz.� Doubles by both Trout and Moustakas added another run in the 6th.� D’Arnaud scored again in the 7th, when he doubled and LF Todd Frazier (Reds) brought him across the plate with a single.� Trout collected another RBI with a single that scored Frazier.

Mike Montgomery made the start for Team USA, earning the win with 5 innings of work.� He gave up the 2 runs in the third innings on a total of 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters.� Andre Lamontagne pitched 2 innings in relief.� He gave up Colombia’s other 4 runs (one earned), all in the 6th inning.� An error put the first runner on base, then a double, a single, another double, and another error brought in the runs.� Bruce Billings finished the game by retiring the side in order in the 8th and 9th innings.

Also playing:

Canada�� 13,� Argentina� 2 –� Starting pitcher Mike Johnson gave his bullpen a rest by pitching 7 innings and allowing only 2 runs on 10 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts.� The Canadians scored in 5 of the 7 innings, including a 6-run 6th inning.� The final stroke was a 2-run home run by RF Adam Loewen (Blue Jays) in the bottom of the 7th, which gave the Canadians the greater-than-10-run lead that ended the game early.

Puerto Rico� 7,� Panama� 6 — 3B Ramon Vasquez scored 3 of Puerto Rico’s runs, though he had only one hit — he also was hit by a pitch.� Former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had 2 hits and an RBI.� Puerto Rico scored 4 runs in the 2nd inning, but Panama caught up with 3 runs in the 4th, and had a 6-5 lead going into the top of the 9th.� That was when Puerto Rico scored 2 more runs to take the win.

Other news:

Pedro Alvarez, last week’s Player of the Week, is now also the September Rookie of the Month for the National League.� The former Indy Indian hit .311 in September, with 10 doubles, 5 homers, and 26 RBI.

The Arizona Fall League begins play next week.� Also starting play on Tuesday of next week:� The Mexican Pacific League and the Venezuelan Winter League.� The Dominican and Puerto Rican Leagues begin play on October 22nd.� Pirates’ farmhand Rogelios Noris is slated to join his hometown Venados de Mazatlan.

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The Confusing Case of Matt Walbeck

The confusing case of Matt Walbeck, the Eastern League Manager of the Year, now jobless since the Pirates have declined to renew his contract….� I have no direct knowledge, not being in or around Altoona.

From Corey Giger of the Altoona Mirror:� “It’s simple and complicated”,�� and� it’s going to give Walbeck the opportunity to find a AAA position elsewhere.�� And, “it was a communication issue”, and maybe even a personality issue, with some players really liking Walbeck, and others not liking him at all.

From Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:� “not following the prescribed development programs and a lack of communication”.

There are two sides to every story — and there may even be more than two in this instance.� It does seem like there’s more to this than we’re going to hear about.

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Brad Lincoln needed 15 pitches (11 strikes) to strike out the side in the bottom of the 7th in last night’s Pirates’ game against the Marlins.� Joe Martinez pitched 2 innings in relief for Pittsburgh.� He gave up a 2-out double in the 5th, but left the runner on base.� Then he gave up another double and an RBI single in the 6th.

Brandon Moss was 1-for-19 when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 8th, but he added 2 hits in the game — a slow dribbler down the third base line for an infield single to load the bases.� He came around to score in that inning, then doubled in the 9th, scoring again on Pedro Alvarez’s homer.� John Bowker played both right field and first base, and went 1-for-4, with a walk in the 8th to force in a run.� Argenis Diaz also walked to force in the next run in the inning.� Alex Presley came in to play center field in the bottom of the 7th, but he struck out in the both of his plate appearances.� Pedro Ciriaco had a pinch-hit single in the 5th inning.

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Team USA begins their first game in the Pan American Games/World Cup Qualifying Tournament tomorrow at 7:30 pm in Ponce, Puerto Rico, facing the Puerto Rican team.

The Arizona Fall League, with the Pirates’ farmhands playing with the Mesa Solar Sox, begins play in 11 days.

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Curve and Marauders Both Fall To Big Innings

Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ….������ (box)

Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.

The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.

It didn’t last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators’ pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder’s choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter — and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.

Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D’Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg’s reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.

Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings — he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison’s glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison’s glove.

Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison’s throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.

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Alvarez Called Up; McCutchen Takes Tough Loss

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees �4, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_3176A 3-run homer in the bottom of the 8th broke a 1-1 tie, handing starter Daniel McCutchen a hard-luck loss at PNC Field in Scranton, PA. �But there was a piece of good luck, at least for Pirates fans, after the game: �3B Pedro Alvarez (photo) was called up to Pittsburgh, to join the Pirates.

In just his second season of professional baseball, Alvarez has played in 66 games with the Indians, hitting .280 with 15 doubles, 4 triples, 13 homers, and 53 RBI. �He leaves the International League with the league’s third- highest RBI total, tied for second in triples, and tied for fourth in home runs. �Alvarez, like most of the Indians, has had trouble against the S/WB Yankees, going 1-for-15 in this 4-game series, with 2 RBI and 6 strikeouts. �The hit he had was a home run on Saturday. �Alvarez had started off the season with a slow month of April, hitting .224 though with 5 homers and 15 RBI. �He improved that average to .294 in May, with 6 more homers and 30 more RBI. �In half of June, he has hit .346 — and that counts the 1-for-15 series — with 2 home runs and 8 RBI. �The Pirates had challenged Alvarez to improve his average against left-handed pitchers, and he has done that. �His current splits have him hitting .266 against right-handed pitchers and .323 against southpaws.

IMG_3467Daniel McCutchen (photo) began tonight’s game by retiring the first 6 batters he faced. �He gave up a run in the 3rd inning, which began with Yankees’ 3B Matt Cusick lifting a fly ball over Tribe LF Kevin Melillo’s head for a double. �2B Reegie Corona’s ground out to second moved Cusick to third base. �McCutchen hit the next batter, RF Greg Golson, who then stole second base. �LF Reid Gorecki’s fly ball to left field became a sacrifice fly, scoring Cusick with the first run of the game.

McCutchen gave up only one hit over the next three innings. �1B Jorge Vazquez lined a 2-out single into the right-center field alley in the 4th, and was left on base when C Jesus Montero popped out to end the inning. �The next 6 batters, over the 5th and 6th innings, all went down in order.

Yankees’ starter Ivan Nova was letting Indians’ batters get on base in the first half of the game, but he was getting help from his teammates, specifically in the form of double plays. �DH Brian Myrow reached base on a fielding error in the top of the 1st, when his grounder skipped off the glove of 2B Corona and into right field. �In the 2nd, 1B Jeff Clement and C Luke Carlin opened the inning with back-to-back singles, but RF Brandon Moss bounced into a double play. �That put Clement on third base and erased Carlin. �A fly out by CF Jonathan Van Every ended the inning.

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