Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in a few winter league games on Friday…
VENZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE
Tigres de Aragua 4, Cardenales de Lara 1 — Aragua starting pitcher Yorman Bazardo pitched 8 innings and allowed only one run on 7 hits, earning his 5th win for Los Tigres. That one run came in the 9th, on a bases-loaded ground out. Los Tigres scored their first run in the 4th on a walk and a double. They added 2 more runs in the 5th. After a pair of walks, CF Jorge Cortes bunted both runners up one base, then an RBI double brought both runs in. 1B Hector Gimenez started a 2-out rally in the 8th with a walk, followed by two singles, which brought in Gimenez. Gimenez also singled in the 6th inning, and Cortes walked in the 7th. SS Ronny Cedeno went 0-for-4 for Aragua.
The rest of Friday’s Venezuelan League games were all postponed.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 17, Gigantes de Carolina 4 — Los Criollos posted 20 hits and took advantage of 3 Carolina errors as they overwhelmed Los Gigantes. DH Javier Valentin had 4 hits for Los Criollos. 3B Ramon Vazquez contributed a hit and an RBI, and scored one run. SS Luis Figueroa had a hit and a walk, and he scored twice. Both Vazquez’s hit and Figueroa’s walk came in Caguas’ 7-run 3rd inning.
Leones del Escogido 3, Gigantes del Cibao 1 — Former Pirate farmhand C JR House had one hit for Los Gigantes, but he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in a critical situation in the 8th inning (despite his .375 average). The pinch-hitter was able to knock an RBI single, accounting for Los Gigantes’ only run. Los Leones scored on a solo homer in the 3rd, then added 2 runs in the 7th inning. Former Altoona Curve and Indy Indian SS Pedro Lopez had 2 hits for Escogido, but did not score. One more former Pirate farmhand, Gigantes’ reliever Juan Perez, pitched to one batter in the 8th inning, and got a ground out.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Caneros de Los Mochis 3, Venados de Mazatlan 2 — LF Rogelios Noris’ single in the 2nd inning loaded the bases for Los Venados, then a walk forced in the first run of the game. Mochis took the lead with 2 runs in the 6th and another run in the 7th. Mazatlan added one more run in the bottom of the 7th with a single, a throwing error, and an RBI ground out, but they couldn’t catch up.
(Early Sat. Morning)
Adelaide Bite 4, Perth Heat 2 (Game 1) — The Bite cruised through their opening series of the season, then ran into trouble with the Heat. They split the 4-game series last weekend in Perth, and when the two teams resumed play in Adelaide this weekend, Perth easily took the first two games of this series. This morning, the Bite salvaged a split of this series also, with a win of a double-header. There was only one inning of scoring in Game One. A single and a two-run homer gave Perth the lead in the top of the 4th inning. The Bite came back in the bottom of the 4th. Two walks, a grounder force out, and a third walk loaded the bases for RF Brendon Pett, who took the lead with a grand slam. A walk and a single followed the homer, but LF Quincy Latimore bounced into an inning-ending double play. Latimore singled in the 1st and walked in the 3rd, but both times was left on base.
Bite 11, Heat 4 (Game 2) — Adelaide’s Dushan Ruzic pitched a complete game in the night-cap, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 8 Perth batters. Ruzic faced only one batter over the minimum for the first 3 innings (fielding error), then got out of a 4th inning jam with a double play. Ruzic got plenty of run support, beginning with a 6-run 3rd inning by the Bite. Two singles and an error brought in the first run, and a walk and a double added the second run. LF Quincy Latimore smacked a 3-run homer over the left-center field wall to give the Bite a 5-0 lead. The next batter after Latimore was hit by a pitch, prompting the ejection of the Perth pitcher. A walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in the 6th run of the inning. Perth scored 2 runs in each of the 5th and the 6th innings. The Bite matched the 2 runs in the 5th on a 2-RBI double. In the bottom of the 6th, two lead-off singles, one by Latimore, set up C Brandon Bantz for his 3-run homer. Latimore’s batting average sits at .400 and he leads the league with 5 homers and 16 RBI.
Winter league action with the Pirates’ players and friends on Wednesday…
Tigres de Aragua� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� (Game 1) — SS Ronny Cedeno’s 3-run homer in the 4th inning put the game away for Los Tigres.� Aragua scored one run in each of the first three innings.� A single, a sacrifice bunt by Cedeno, and an RBI single by DH Hector Gimenez plated the run in the 1st inning.� A walk, a single by CF Jorge Cortes, and an RBI ground out brought in the run in the 2nd.� Gimenez also drove in the run in the 3rd with another RBI single.� LF/RF Lastings Milledge was hitless in this game, as was Margarita’s 3B Andy LaRoche. Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits.
Tigres de Aragua� 2,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� (Game 2)� – RF Lastings Milledge blasted a solo homer over the left field wall in the top of the 1st, and that was all the scoring Los Tigres needed.� Milledge added another RBI in the 7th inning with a single to give Aragua some insurance, and he also walked in the 3rd inning.� Los Tigres needed only 5 hits in the game, with 1B Hector Gimenez getting one of those.� CF Jorge Cortes walked in three trips to the plate, but SS Cedeno and C Raul Chavez were both hitless.� 3B Andy LaRoche singled to lead off the 2nd inning for Margarita, but did not score.
Aguilas de Zulia� 5,� Navegantes del Magallanes� 1� — DH Mike Ryan scored Magallanes’ only run, which came in the 6th inning, when he singled, then scored on an RBI double.� Ryan also singled in the 1st inning.� Zulia scored one run in both the 1st and 2nd innings, then 2 more in the 6th, and one in the 7th.� Corey Hamman took the mound in relief in the 7th, with two outs and a runner on 2nd base.� He gave up an RBI single to the only batter he faced, though the run was charged to the previous pitcher.
Cheering for some Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league action…�� The Australians are back in action on Thursday, which will be late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning for most of us.
Tigres de Aragua� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� — A Pirate-filled game… 2B/3B Andy LaRoche singled twice and walked for Los Bravos, but his teammates could not get him or anyone else pushed across the plate.� LaRoche singled to lead off the 2nd inning, went to second on a fielding error, and to third on a wild pitch, but he was out at the plate on what seems to have been a wild pitch or passed ball.� LaRoche worked the second of two walks in the 4th inning, but was erased in an inning-ending double play.� Another double play took him off the bases in the 9th, after another lead-off single.� Meanwhile, the Pirates playing for Los Tigres also got off to a frustrating start.� DH Hector Gimenez walked in the 2nd, and LF Lastings Milledge followed by beating out a tapper back to the mound.� But a double play ended that inning without a run scoring.� It got better in the 5th, when Milledge walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on CF Jorge Cortes’ RBI double into right field.� A single and a home run by C Wilson Ramos gave Los Tigres 2 more runs in the 6th.� In the 8th, with two on (walk and single) and two outs, Jhonathan Ramos came on to pitch for Los Bravos.� Gimenez was the first batter he faced� — and he blasted a 3-run over the left field wall, to give Aragua a 6-0 lead.� Ramos got Milledge to ground out to end the inning, and he was relieved for the next inning.� So, one hit each for Gimenez, Milledge, and Cortes, but an 0-for-4 night for SS Ronny Cedeno.
Caribes de Anzoategui� 7,� Tiburones de La Guaira� 1� — The score was tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the 8th, when Los Caribes exploded for 6 runs.� After a lead-off double, Adenson Chourio was brought in to pinch-hit.� He was intentionally walked, and a sacrifice bunt put both runners into scoring position.� Another intentional walk loaded the bases, then an unintentional walk forced in the go-ahead run.� An RBI grounder plated Chourio, then back-to-back homers, 3-run and solo, gave Los Caribes all the insurance they would need.
Indianapolis Indians 4, �Columbus Clippers 3 (box)
Indians’ outfielder Brandon Moss admitted that he’d had a “rough Spring Training”. �That was followed by 10 days off while he waited to go through waivers. �He was more than ready to come to Indianapolis, where he was much more likely to get some regular playing time. �Moss went 0-for-5 on Opening Day and sat out yesterday’s game. �Tonight, though, it was time to get going. �Moss said after the game that he “felt really good coming into the game tonight.” �It showed, too, as he singled, doubled, and hit the game-winning home run in the Indians 4-3 win over the Clippers at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.
Moss said that he made good use of his forced time off. �He went to Loganville, Georgia, where he sought out his high school baseball coaches. �He worked with the coaches, who pitched to him for hours and hours. �They talked about temp and about keeping his hands back. �It put Moss back into his right place, where he could feel confident with his swing, and as we saw tonight, the extra work paid off.
Playing conditions tonight at Huntington Park were very different from those of the past two nights. �For two games, the Clippers and the Indians pounded out the hits and especially the home runs. �After combining for 14 home runs in the first two games of the series, tonight the only home run was Moss’s. �The wind had wreaked havoc for the outfielders, particularly the left fielders in the first two games, but it was mostly quiet tonight.
The Indians got the game started with two runs in the top of the 1st. �With one out, RF Brandon Jones and DH Brian Myrow worked back-to-back walks. �They both advanced a base on a wild pitch by Columbus starter Jeanmar Gomez, and 3B Pedro Alvarez filled the void at first with another walk. �Gomez had a full count on the lead-off batter Jose Tabata before he grounded out, then another full count on Jones. �Myrow walked on a 3-1 pitch, and Alvarez walked on four straight balls, including the wild pitch. �Gomez also had a full count on 1B Steve Pearce, when Pearce lined a single into left field, scoring both Jones and Myrow. �The inning finished with a strikeout by Moss (2-2 pitch) and a fly out by C Luke Carlin (mercifully, on the first pitch). �Gomez had thrown 33 pitches. �(If he had been in the Pirates’ organization, he would not have been permitted to go back out for the second inning.)