Marauders Sweep Series; Locke Gets 10 K’s

The Marauders had an early game today, for the school kids.  The Curve and the Power play later:

Bradenton Marauders  8,  Palm Beach Cardinals  1
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The Marauders swept a series for the first time this season with today’s win over the Cardinals.  It was an early game following a late night, but the Marauders were awake and ready to go at 10 am, less than 12 hours after last night’s rain-delayed game.  For the second game in a row, every member of the line-up reached base at least once.  

Phillip Irwin made his first start after coming out of extended spring training.  He went 2 innings, and allowed a run in the 1st, as he had to work around an error in each inning.  The top of the 1st began with a walk, then a stolen base, and the runner moved up to third when C Carlos Paulino’s throw to second base went wild for an error.  That runner scored on the first of two singles, but Irwin closed down the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.  A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez put another runner on base in the 2nd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cardinals had runners on the corners.  Irwin got out of the jam with a fly out.  

The Marauders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning without posting a hit.  LF David Rubinstein was hit by a pitch, then 1B Cole White walked.  Two wild pitches let Rubinstein score and put White on third base.  After a walk to 2B Kelson Brown, the third wild p itch of the inning let White come in to score.   A passed ball and two more walks, to CF Robbie Grossman and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases, but a fly out ended that inning without any further scoring.  The Marauders led 2-1.  

Brett Lorin took over for Irwin to begin the 3rd inning.  Lorin pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk, plus 4 strikeouts.  Palm Beach had 2 singles in the 4th, though the first runner was tagged out trying to reach third base on the second single.  The Cardinals also had 2 singles in the 6th, but Lorin was not worried by either of those threats.

The Marauders picked up some insurance runs in the 5th, with DH Aaron Baker having his second big-hitting game in a row.  Elevys Gonzalez walked and went to second on a wild pitch.  He scored on Baker’s RBI double into center field.  After a walk to Rubinstein, Paulino singled in Baker.  A wild throw by the Cardinals’ catcher on a pick-off throw allowed Rubinstein to score the third run of the inning, and the Marauders were up 5-1.  They added 2 more runs in the 6th.  Grossman lined a double into left field, and Elevys Gonzalez singled, moving Grossman to third.  Baker plated Grossman with a single into right field.  When the Cardinals’ right fielder went to catch Rubinstein’s fly ball and had his feet slip out from under him, that was ruled an error, and Gonzalez scored as well.  That gave the Marauders a 7-1 lead.  

The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when Grossman doubled into left field, Elevys Gonzalez singled, and RF Adalberto Santos brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly.  Porfirio Lopez finished the game for Bradenton with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single.  Lorin earned the win — his first win of the season.
 

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2011 Prospect Watching: Strickland, Irwin, And More

Continuing to look at the Pirates’ minor league pitchers, moving upward in the organization:

Hunter Strickland  –   R/R,  6′ 5″,  200 lb
Strickland was the Red Sox’ 18th round pick in the 2007 draft, and he was traded to the Pirates in July 2009 in the deal involving Andy LaRoche.  He joined the West Virginia team, and made 8 starts over the rest of the season (43 innings), going 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA for the Power.  Strickland returned to West Virginia to begin the 2010 season, where he made another 8 starts for another 43 innings.  His results were not as good — an 0-4 record and a 5.86 ERA, with 58 hits and 28 earned runs.  Both his walk rate (8, 1.7 walks/ 9 innings) and his strikeout rate (15, 3.1 K/ 9 innings) were low.  In mid-May, Bradenton needed a pitcher, and Strickland was promoted.  He made two strong relief appearances, combining for 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts.  Then he made two starts, and got blasted — 8 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2.1 innings, and 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings.  At that point, Strickland was having tightness in his right forearm (or maybe it had been there already, and that was why he had been struggling), and he went on the DL, missing the remainder of the season.  Strickland should be ready to go for 2011, and at age 22, he should be back in Bradenton, where he will need to get back on track.

Phillip Irwin  –  R/R,  6′ 3″,   220 lb 
Irwin was the Pirates’ 21st round pick in the 2009 draft.  He pitched well for State College in his pro debut in 2009, with a 2.12 ERA despite a 1-2 record in 29.2 innings for the Spikes.  Irwin was assigned to West Virginia to begin the 2010 season.  He had a solid month of April, making one relief appearance and 3 starts.  In 15 innings, he allowed 3 earned runs (1.80 ERA) on 11 hits and struck out 13 batters for the month.  Then Irwin went onto the DL for a month (injury not specified).  When he returned, he made two relief pitches, for 3 combined scoreless innings), then got back into the starting rotation.  He had an up-and-down rest of the season, finishing with a 6-3 record and a 3.35 ERA.  In a total of 113 innings, he allowed 99 hits and 42 earned runs with just 20 walks and 111 strikeouts.  Irwin said that his tougher starts allowed him to remain focused and kept him motivated during the season.  He was rewarded with a promotion to Bradenton for their brief playoff run, and got into one game.  He threw 1.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, with 2 strikeouts.  Irwin enjoyed his time in Bradenton, and said that he had fun and learned from some of the more experienced players.  The 24-year-old should get a return to Bradenton for the 2011 season, where he says his goal is to “stay healthy and focused”.  

 

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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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Irwin: Another 7 No-Hit Innings;

Thursday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:

West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 …��� (box)

On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin’s toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.

The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder’s choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris’ RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez’s double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.

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Watson Shines For Curve; Shut Out For Spikes’ Pitchers

Sunday in the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… as usual for a Sunday, the GCL Pirates have a scheduled day off.

The Bradenton Marauders and the Fort Myer Miracle got just an inning and a half of baseball in before they had to stop.� C Eric Fryer was the only Bradenton batter to reach base, with a double in the top of the 2nd.� Marauders’ starter Nate Adcock had retired the side in order in the bottom of the 1st.� The suspended game will be resumed on Monday evening as part of a double header, weather permitting.

Altoona Curve� 9,� Binghamton Mets� 5 (box)

Two big innings boosted the Curve over the Mets, as starter Tony Watson pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits, while striking out 8 Mets.� Watson retired the first 9 batters he faced, then gave up a single and a walk in the 3rd.� He set down the next 6 batters, then gave up a lone double in the 5th.� Watson faced his biggest threat in the 6th,when he gave up a single and a double, putting two runners in scoring position.� But Watson got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out to finish the inning.

C Hector Gimenez led the Curve bats with 3 hits and 3 RBI.� He opened the scoring with a solo home run (his 16th of the season) in the 2nd inning.� He singled again in the 4th inning but was left on base, then reached on a fielding error in the 5th inning rally, and doubled in the 7th inning rally.

The 5th inning began with a solo home run by CF Anthony Norman. Watson worked a walk, then singles by 2B Chase d’Arnaud and 3B Josh Harrison loaded the bases.� A sharp line-out to third by LF Jim Negrych forced the base runners to freeze in place, but a grounder force out by 1B Matt Hague brought in Watson, with Harrison out at second base.� SS Jordy Mercer’s single plated d’Arnaud, and a fielding error on Gimenez’s ball to center field brought in both Hague and Mercer.� The Curve had a 6-0 lead.

They added 3 more runs in the 7th.� With one out, Hague singled, and Mercer reached on an error.� Gimenez’s double brought in both of them, then after a single by RF Miles Durham, Gimenez scored on a sacrifice fly by Norman.

The Curve were leading 9-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, when Derek Hankins relieved Watson.� Hankins gave up 2 runs on a double, two singles, and two wild pitches.� He retired the side in the 8th, but gave up a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th.� Hankins still earned his 6th save of the game, because he’d pitched 3 innings.� Watson’s win was his 5th of the season for the Curve.

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