Altoona Gets Paid Back; Alderson’s Unhappy Bradenton Return; Rojas’ Debut

As usual on Sunday, the GCL Pirates were off.� Everyone else played games scattered through the afternoon and evening.

Harrisburg Senators� 13, � Altoona Curve� 4 (box)

Paybacks are… well, you know, and today the Senators got revenge for the Curve having scored 10 runs in the 9th last night.� Harrisburg sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 8th and scored 8 runs, to give them a total of 13 runs in the game.

Justin Wilson made the start for the Curve, and pitched 6 innings.� He did well for the first 5 of those innings, allowing only one run, on a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning.� Wilson allowed only a walk and a single over the next three innings.� In the 6th, Wilson gave up back-to-back singles to open the inning, then a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly brought in one run.� A walk and a single drove in a second run.� Wilson allowed 8 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 5 batters.

The Curve scored one run in the 3rd inning, when RF Miles Durham reached base on a fielding error, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Wilson, and scored on SS Chase d’Arnaud’s double.� 1B Matt Hague added a solo home run in the 4th, to briefly give the Curve a 2-1 lead.

After the Senators took a 3-2 lead in the 6th, Corey Hamman, just returned to the Curve after a stint with AAA Indianapolis, took the mound for the 7th inning.� It was Hamman’s first game action in nearly three weeks, so it wasn’t a big surprise when Hamman gave up a lead-off single followed by a 2-run homer, to give Harrisburg a 5-2 lead.

Then the wheels fell off in the 8th inning.� Hamman gave up two singles, two walks, another single (with a fielding error), then got a fielding error.� Three runs had come in at that point, and after another walk to load the bases (again), Hamman was relieved by Dustin Molleken. Molleken got a strikeout, then gave up two singles and a double, driving in 5 more runs (3 of which were charged to Hamman), before he struck out the 12th batter of the inning to end the bleeding.

The Curve made a valiant effort in the top of the 9th.� Matt Hague walked, and 3B Jordy Mercer singled.� A wild pitch moved both up one base, so that Hague scored on LF Brandon Jones’ single.� Durham bounced back to the mound, and the Senators traded another run for two outs in a double play, as Mercer scored.� A fly out ended the game, with the Curve not even close to catching up.

Other Curve news:� The Pirates and Curve have suspended reliever Diego Moreno for a period of “5 to 7 days” for unprofessional behavior.� The problem occurred while in Altoona on the Curve’s most recent home stand.� Pirates’ farm director Kyle Stark also hinted that it’s possible that Moreno will be returned to the Bradenton Marauders after his suspension.� Moreno had a 3-0 record and a 1.37 ERA in 16 appearances for Bradenton, with 39 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.� Since being promoted to Altoona and working around a month on the DL, Moreno has made 7 appearances for the Curve, but has allowed 6 runs on 10 hits in 7.2 innings, with 12 strikeouts.

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Bixler Returns; Krol Saves #21

IMG_3495The 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.

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Loss For Owens, Win for McSwain

The State College Spikes have a scheduled day off today, and the GCL Pirates were washed out again.

Binghamton Mets �9, �Altoona Curve �6 (box)

Three runs in the top of the 10th broke a 6-6 tie and gave the Mets the extra-inning win. �Ramon Aguero took the mound for the Curve to begin the inning, and he began by giving up a single. �The next batter dropped down a bunt, but C Kris Watts grabbed it fast enough to make the force out at second base, leaving a runner on first. �Aguero walked the next batter, then gave up a double that brought in both runners. �Moments later, another double drove in the third run of the inning.

Watts led off the bottom of the 10th with a double, and SS Chase d’Arnaud walked, but two ground outs ended the inning before either of them could score, and the Mets had the win.

Curve starter Rudy Owens could not get through the 5th inning tonight, as he gave up 5 runs on 13 hits, though he also struck out 6 batters. �The Mets got going right away in the top of the 1st, on two doubles and three singles, scoring 3 runs off Owens. �A double play got Owens out of a jam in the 2nd inning, after he’d given up another double and single pair. �Back-to-back doubles brought in a run for the Mets in the 3rd inning. �Owens did retire the side in order in the 4th, but got right back into trouble in the 5th. �A lead-off home run, followed by a strikeout and 3 consecutive singles to load the bases, and that was all for Owens. �Dustin Molleken came on in relief and left the bases loaded when he struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Curve began their comeback in the bottom of the inning. �They had put at least one runner on base in each of the first 4 innings, but could not get any of them around to score. �With one out in the bottom of the 5th, CF Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison hit back-to-back singles, with Hernandez going to third on Harrison’s hit. �1B Hector Gimenez’s sacrifice fly brought in Hernandez. �Three consecutive singles by 2B Jordy Mercer, LF Brandon Jones, and RF Miles Durham brought in two more runs, and the Curve had come within 2 runs of the Mets.

Dustin Molleken reached base on a throwing error to begin the 6th inning. �He moved to second base on Chase d’Arnaud’s single and then to third on Hernandez’s ground out. �Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly brought Molleken in to score, and the Curve crept closer. �They took the lead in the bottom of the 8th. �Kris Watts led off with a single, and he was bunted to second by LF Anthony Norman, who entered the game in a double-switch. �D’Arnaud walked, and a ground out by Hernandez moved both runners into scoring position. �Harrison obliged with a single lined into center field, scoring both Watts and d’Arnaud, to give the Curve a 6-5 lead.

Binghamton tied the score again in the top of the 9th, on back-to-back doubles off reliever Diego Moreno. That took the game into extra innings, when the Mets got the win.

The two teams combined for 33 hits in the game — 19 for the Mets and 14 for the Curve. �Gorkys Hernandez, Josh Harrison, and Kris Watts had 3 hits each.

Curve starter Bryan Morris has been selected to play in the Futures’ Game on the US team. �He will be facing teammate Gorkys Hernandez, who will be on the World team. �Bradenton’s Tony Sanchez was also named to the US team, but will have to miss the game due to his fractured jaw.

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Spikes’ Walk-Off Win; Welker Makes A+ Debut

Bradenton catcher Eric Fryer, who was hit in the face by a pitch on Thursday night, has broken facial bones around his eye. �That will require surgery to fix — get the bones properly aligned and stabilized. �He’s going to be out of action for at least several weeks and possibly for the rest of the season. �This is the same type of injury that Paul Maholm had years ago, though his injury occurred when he was hit in the face by a line drive while on the mound.

Friday night’s action:

State College Spikes �5, �Williamsport Crosscutters �4 (box)

Late inning rallies gave the Spikes the walk-off win over Williamsport. � The Spikes got on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning when C Matt Skirving singled and SS Gift Ngoepe blasted his first home run of the season, a 2-run homer. �Williamsport tied it up in the top of the 5th. �The first run, off starter Tyler Waldron, came on a double and a single. �A throwing error and a sacrifice fly brought in an unearned run to tie the score.

Waldron pitched 5 innings and allowed the two runs (one earned) on 6 hits, no walks, with 3 strikeouts. �He was relieved by Trent Stevenson, who pitched the next 3 innings. �He gave up a run in the 6th, on a single, a stolen base with a throwing error, and a double, to give the Crosscutters the go-ahead run. �The Spikes caught up and tied the score again in the bottom of the inning. �Singles by Ngoepe and LF Adalberto Santos and a walk to 3B Chase Lyles loaded the bases. �1B Gerlis Rodriguez drove in Ngoepe with a sacrifice fly.

Williamsport took the lead yet again in the top of the 7th with an unearned run. �A throwing error by Stevenson put the lead-off runner on base, and he scored on a triple. �Rodriguez tied it up again in the bottom of the 8th with a solo home run.

Justin Ennis took the mound for the Spikes for the 9th, and he mantained the tie with a scoreless inning, allowing only a walk while striking out two batters. �That gave the Spikes the chance in the bottom of the inning. �The first two Spikes’ batters struck out. �CF�Kyle Saukko kept the inning going with a line drive into left field for a single. �A passed ball put Saukko on second base. �Ngoepe worked a walk, and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. �2B Walker Gourley grounded towards first base, and when he was safe on a fielding error, Saukko scored to win the game.

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Spikes Open The Season With A Loss; Hughes Wins #9, Krol Saves #17

Williamsport Crosscutters �5, �State College Spikes �3 (box)

The Spikes opened their season on the road tonight, unfortunately on the losing end. �Starter Zack Von Rosenberg, who had pitched just one inning in the 2009 season, was charged with the loss. �He pitched 4 innings, and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk, with 2 strikeouts.

Williamsport struck first, with a run in the bottom of the 1st inning, on two doubles. �The Spikes took the lead in the top of the 3rd, with a 2-out rally. �SS Walker Gourley doubled, and 2B Gift Ngoepe singled, driving in Gourley. �Ngoepe stole second base, and he scored on 3B Chase Lyles’ RBI single (his first professional hit), giving the Spikes a 2-1 lead.

A 2-run homer, followed by a walk and an RBI double gave the Crosscutters 3 more runs and the lead in the 4th inning. �Another single nearly brought in another run, but RF Andury Acevedo’s throw in to the plate to C Miguel Mendez had the lead runner out at the plate. �Those 4 Williamsport runs were all charged to Von Rosenberg.

The Spikes got within one run again in the 6th. �DH Kelson Brown and CF Justin Bencsko’s each collected his first professional hit — a single for Brown, and an RBI triple for Bencsko.

Ryan Beckman took over on the mound for Von Rosenberg for the 5th inning. �He gave up a single and hit a batter, but did not allow a run to score. �Eliecer Navarro pitched the next 2 innings. �He loaded the bases in the 6th with a walk and two singles, but struck out the next batter to end the inning without a run scoring. �Navarro gave up a solo home run in the 7th, giving the Crosscutters an insurance run. �Justin Ennis made his pro debut with a perfect 8th inning — a strikeout and two ground outs.

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