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.
Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 6, Lakewood BlueClaws 1 (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th. The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out. They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single. Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single. DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped. When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score. That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.
Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension. He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning. Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners. The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored. Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score. He also struck out 3 batters.
The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th. RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base. Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate. Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases. Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.
Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring. Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.
Everyone in action on Thursday evening…. and the State College Spikes begin their season next week on Friday
Altoona Curve 5, Erie SeaWolves 4
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A 4-run 4th inning gave the Curve a big boost, and a run in the bottom of the 8th gave them the win over Erie. Starter Mike Colla held the SeaWolves to two hits in the 1st inning, and retired the side in the 2nd and 3rd, to get a good start. He gave up a walk and a 2-run homer in the top of the 4th, to put Erie onto the scoreboard.
The Curve had only two walks (3B Jeremy Farrell and CF Starling Marte) and a single by 2B Brock Holt over the first three innings. Then they too broke out in the 4th inning. LF Quincy Latimore led off the inning with a solo home run. After an out, Farrell singled and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch. RF Brad Chalk hit the first of three singles in the gmae, driving in Farrell from second base. Sanchez reached third base on the play, then stole home as Chalk stole second base behind him, both reaching safely. A wild pitch put Chalk on third base, and he scored on Holt’s double, to give the Curve a 4-2 lead.
Colla retired the side in order again in the 5th, then gave up a lead-off homer in the 6th, to bring Erie within one run of the Curve, 4-3. Colla allowed 5 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts in his 6 innings. He was relieved by Aaron Thompson, who pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. Thompson was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up the tying run in the 8th. A lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, a walk with a wild pitch on ball four, and an RBI ground out brought the game to a 4-4 tie.
Jeremy Farrell got the lead back for the Curve with a lead-off home run to begin the bottom of the 8th. Chalk also picked up his third hit of the game with a single after the home run, but he was thrown out at second base. Noah Krol pitched the 9th inning, and earned his 12th save with a perfect inning.
The West Virginia Power have a scheduled day off on Tuesday, but the Marauders and the Curve are in action:
Jupiter Hammerheads 4, Bradenton Marauders 3
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The Marauders had the luck to pull off a rare triple play, but Jupiter broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 8th to take the win.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. RF Robbie Grossman opened the game with a walk, then went to third on 2B Kelson Brown’s single up the middle. Grossman scored on 1B Aaron Baker’s sacrifice fly. 3B Elevys Gonzalez also singled, sending Brown around from second, but he was thrown out at the plate. In the bottom of the frame, with Nate Baker on the mound for the Marauders, two lead-off walks and a grounder force out at second put Jupiter runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly brought in the lead runner, and Nate Baker and Aaron Baker combined to pick off and catch stealing the second runner.
Nate Baker retired the side in the 2nd inning, but gave up another run in the bottom of the 3rd, on a single and an RBI double. The double would have been a triple, but an on-target throw from LF David Rubinstein to Elevys Gonzalez at third let Gonzalez tag him out.
The Marauders loaded the bases in the top of the 2nd, when CF Evan Chambers reached on a fielding error, and both DH Calvin Anderson and Grossman walked. But with two outs, a pop out by Brown ended the threat. Both C Ramon Cabrera and Elevys Gonzalez singled in the 3rd, but both were left on base. In the top of the 4th, the Marauders scored twice, courtesy of two wild pitches. Anderson and SS Benji Gonzalez both walked to lead off the inning, and Grossman loaded the bases with a grounder through the hole into left field. A wild pitch let Anderson score from third base, while the other two runners both moved up a base. After two outs, another wild pitch allowed Benji Gonzalez to come across the plate, and the Marauders had a 3-2 lead.
Two strikeouts and a ground out gave Nate Baker a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 4th. He got into trouble again in the 5th, though, with a lead-off double and a hit batter. A sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by Elevys Gonzalez loaded the bases, and an RBI single pushed the lead runner in to tie the score again. With the bases still loaded, the Marauders had a rare triple play: Jupiter’s CF Jose Duarte lined right to Brown, who fired to first, where Aaron Baker doubled off the runner and fired back to Brown, who doubled off the runner at second base. Nate Baker also retired the Hammerheads in order in the 6th. He finished with 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, with 2 strikeouts, but left the game with the score tied, so did not figure into the decision.
The Marauders had 3 batters reach base over the 5th and 6th innings, all on walks. Elevys Gonzalez worked a walk to lead off the 5th, and stole second base. Grossman and Brown both walked with one out in the 6th. None of them came around to score, though. The only other Marauder to reach base was Aaron Baker, who singled with two outs in the top of the 9th. Adalberto Santos came in to pinch-run for Baker, but he did not have a chance to do anything, as a ground out ended the inning.
Brian Leach relieved Nate Baker to begin the 7th inning, and he retired the side on three fly outs. Jhonathan Ramos came on for the 8th inning, and he was charged with the loss when he gave up the winning run. A single and a sacrifice bunt began the inning, then a passed ball put the runner on third base. After an intentional walk, a sacrifice fly brought in the runner from third, to give Jupiter a 4-3 lead. The Marauders could not respond, and Jupiter had the win.
Thursday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers…
Altoona Curve 5, Trenton Thunder 1
Starter Jeff Locke struck out 8 Trenton batters in his 5.1 innings of work, while getting plenty of run support — 3 home runs from his offense. The only run Locke surrendered came in the bottom of the 2nd, when Trenton loadd the bases on a walk, a hit batter, and a single. Another walk by Locke forced in the run, then a strikeout and a double play got him out of the inning. Locke allowed only a walk and a double over the next three innings. He began the 6th with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Diego Moreno.
Meanwhile, the Curve were pounding out the hits — a total of 15, including 3 by 2B Brock Holt. Each Curve batter had at least one hit. 1B Matt Curry, who had two hits in the game, began the Curve scoring with a solo home run to lead off the top of the 2nd. Holt led off the 3rd with a line drive single to short, then moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s walk, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.
Back-to-back solo homers by Latimore and Mercer added another 2 runs in the 5th inning. The Curve loaded the bases on three consecutive singles in the 6th — by RF Jose Hernandez, Holt, and CF Brad Chalk, but Latimore struck out to end the inning and leave all three runners on base. The final Curve run scored in the 8th. The inning began with back-to-back singles by DH Travis Scott and 3B Greg Picart. Picart was picked off first and caught stealing, but Scott advanced to third, and he was plated by Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. Holt also tripled in that inning.
Moreno finished the 6th inning for Locke with a strikeout and a pop out. Then he struck out the side in the 7th inning. Michael Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He loaded the bases with a double, a single, and a walk in the 8th, but got out of that jam with a strikeout and a force out. Then he worked around a single for a scoreless 9th.