Homers By Marte, Rodriguez, Cunningham, And Rojas

Catching up with the action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates for Thursday….  several home runs

Trenton Thunder 8 ,   Altoona Curve  6
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A 3-run homer by CF Starling Marte and a solo blast by SS Josh Rodriguez were not enough to get past the Thunder. 

The Curve got the game started with a run in the top of the 1st on singles by RF Andrew Lambo and C Tony Sanchez, plus a fielding error by the Trenton center fielder, allowing Lambo to score.  Trenton came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, two singles, and two doubles, for a 4-1 lead.  The Curve took the lead back in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Matt Curry and 3B Greg Picart both singled, and Marte drove them in with his 5th home run of the season.  That tied the game, but the tie did not last long.  Five singles in the bottom of the 2nd brought in 3 runs for the Thunder, who were back on top, 7-4.  

Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up a single in the 3rd, then gave up an unearned run in the 4th on a fielding error by Picart, a single, scoring on a double play. That made Pribanic responsible for 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work.  Matt McSwain took over to begin the 6th.  He gave up a single in the 6th, but erased that runner with a double play, and then gave up a double and a walk in the 7th, but left those runners on base.  Anthony Claggett pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.  That runner moved up to second base on a throwing error by Rodriguez, but was out in a fielder’s choice run-down between second and third.  

Rodriguez led off the Curve part of the 6th with his solo homer.  LF Quincy Latimore followed the homer with a walk, and Curry singled, moving Latimore to third.  Curry was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Picart’s single drove in Latimore to give the Curve their final run.  

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Alvarez Joins Marauders; Harrison Back to Pirates

Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.

3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.  
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison.  Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh.  Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis.  INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.

Bradenton Marauders  8,  St. Lucie Mets  1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton.  Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders.  He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way.  Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.   

Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record).  The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double.  Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings.  He hit another batter and he struck out 5.  

The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th.  Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third.  DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases.  CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos.  LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again.  After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.  

Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning.  Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning.   Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.  

The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring.  Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field.  Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.  

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Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games.  Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings.  The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings.  The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base.  Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.  He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.  

The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings.  They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk.  He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down.  Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning.  Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play.  Farrell scored on the error.  CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.  

Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th.  He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single.  An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run.  Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.  

Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.  

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Indians Postponed; McPherson’s First AA Win

The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there!  The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed.  There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game.  The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm.  Both will be 9-inning games.  

The Pirates have signed two more draft picks:  3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono.  My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.

The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport.  The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
 
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
 

Thursday’s action:

Altoona Curve  3,  New Britain Rock Cats  1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game.  McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level.  Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners.  He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single.  McPherson also struck out 4 batters.  

The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st.  LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base.  Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer.  Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.  

The Curve went down in order over the next three innings.  They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles.  Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly.  1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base.  The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked.  They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.  

Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening.  Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning.  The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left.  After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases.  But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.  

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Curve Game Suspended With 10-Run Lead; Marauders And Power Need Extras

Saturday evening action for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:

Altoona Curve  11,  Reading Phillies  1  (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short.  The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game.  Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs.  R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning.  The first four Curve batters reached base safely:  a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases.  After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3).  C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again.  2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils’ first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out.  Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning.  That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.  

But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd.  With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in.  A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.  

Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st.  He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs.  Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd.  Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second.  Mercer singled, plating Norman.  After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base.  Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer.  Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott’s sacrifice fly.  A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1.  The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long.  Hope the Curve didn’t use up all their hits in those first three innings.  

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