Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:
GCL Pirates 3, GCL Blue Jays 2 (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum. After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play. He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base.
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning. CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. 1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa. LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second. A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.
David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th. He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. 3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases. Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third. RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate. The Pirates were up 3-1.
Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez. The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2. Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game. Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Blue Jays 0 (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters. In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play. Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base.
The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play. DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base. Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded. The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind. RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.
Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.
The Altoona Curve have a scheduled day off today (Monday), and the West Virginia Power are off for the first day of their All-Star Break. The All-Star Game will be played in Delmarva on Tuesday, with Brandon Cumpton, Jameson Taillon, and Dan Grovatt representing the Power.
Auburn Doubledays 7 , State College Spikes 6
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Pirates’ 2nd round draft pick from 2010, Stetson Allie, made his professional debut tonight, as the starting pitcher for the State College Spikes, though he did not factor into the decision. Allie struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a single, struck out the next batter, and gave up an RBI double. A line out ended the inning. The second inning went better, as Allie retired three Auburn batters in order, including another strikeout.
The third inning was another tough one for Allie. A single and a walk opened the inning. After a fly out, both runners stole the next base, and a walk loaded the bases. Allie also walked the next batter, forcing in a run. That signaled the end of his evening. Cliff Archibald relieved Allie, but Archibald also walked in a run (charged to Allie), before getting the inning-ending double play. Allie was responsible for 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts, in 2.1 innings.
State College got onto the scoreboard with a run in the 3rd. SS Kirk Singer led off with a double, then DH Carlos Mesa singled, moving Singer to third. C Samuel Gonzalez’s RBI single brought in Singer, to cut the Auburn lead to 3-1. The Spikes tied the game in the 4th. 1B Walker Gourley led off with a single and moved to second base on a wild pitch, then to third on a ground out. Singer walked, then CF Taylor Lewis’ sacrifice fly scored Gourley. Singer stole second base, then scored on RF Justin Benscko’s RBI single.
Archibald went on to pitch the 4th and 5th innings, allowing a walk and a single, but keeping Auburn scoreless. Emmanuel De Leon relieved Archibald to begin the 6th inning, and gave up only a double in that inning. With two outs in the 7th, De Leon gave up a double and a 2-run homer. The Spikes got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, with a single by Benscko, a stolen base and a missed catch error to put Benscko onto third, and a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez.
De Leon started the top of the 8th by giving up a walk and a stolen base. After two outs, a single, a throwing error by Singer, and a double gave Auburn 2 more runs, for a 7-4 lead. Jesus Brito relieved De Leon and ended the 8th inning with a fly out. Singer tried to make up for his error with an RBI double after a single by 3B Brian Sharp, bringing the score to 7-5. Brito pitched a scoreless top of the 9th. The Spikes tried for another rally in the bottom of the 9th. With one out, Benscko singled, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a second wild pitch. After a walk to Mesa, Gonzalez brought in Benscko with a sacrifice fly. But a strikeout ended the inning and the game without the Spikes being able to catch up.
All of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost on Tuesday evening…..
New Britain Rock Cats 10, Altoona Curve 4
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It was a tough night for Curve starter Bryan Morris, who gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings of work. Morris got into trouble in the top of the 1st. He gave up a lead-off single, then set down the next two batters on fly outs. Three straight singles and his own throwing error on the final single (a bunt) brought in two runs. The top of the 2nd was worse — three singles and three walks, with a throwing error by LF Quincy Latimore, and an RBI ground out brought in another 5 runs for New Britain, for a 7-0 lead. Morris gave up a single in each of the next two innings, but retired those two runners with a pair of double plays.
The Curve got three of the runs back in the 3rd inning. DH Jose Hernandez doubled, and scored on RF Brad Chalk’s single. Chalk came in on 2B Brock Holt’s triple, then SS Jordy Mercer doubled, plating Holt. That cut the Rock Cats’ lead to 7-4.
But the Rock Cats added to their lead with 3 runs off reliever Tim Alderson. A single, a ground out, and a wild pitch put the lead-off batter on third in the 5th, and two more walks and a wild pitch brought him in. A walk, another wild pitch, an RBI single and an RBI double gave the Rock Cats 2 more runs in the 6th, for a 10-3 lead.
The Curve put base runners on in most of the remaining innings of the game, but they were left stranded. Holt singled and CF Starling Marte walked with two outs in the 5th, and the Curve did not put two runners on base again until the 9th. 1B Matt Curry walked to begin the 9th, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled. Curry went to third on the hit, and he scored on Hernandez’s sacrifce fly.
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.
West Virginia Power 5, Lexington Legends 4
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Jameson Taillon surrendered 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, but he still pulled out his second win of the season. The 4 runs all came in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Legends started the inning with back-to-back doubles, driving in one run. A single and a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris added a second run, then a 2-run homer made the score 4-0.
The Power tied the score in the top of the 4th. RF Dan Grovatt started the rally with a walk, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. DH Kawika Emsley-Pai and C Elias Diaz also walked, loading the bases. With two outs, 2B Andy Vazquez lined a single into center field, bringing in Grovatt and Emsley-Pai, and leaving runners on the corners. Another walk, to 3B Eric Avila, loaded the bases again. Then SS Drew Maggi lined another 2-RBI single into right field, plating Diaz and Vasquez to tie the game at 4-4.
Grovatt began another rally in the 5th, with a single. A passed ball advanced Grovatt to second base, and he moved up to third base on 1B Justin Howard’s ground out. Emsley-Pai drove Grovatt in with a single up the middle, and Grovatt came in with the go-ahead run.
Taillon worked around at least one runner on base in 4 of his 5 innings. He had a batter reach on a throwing error by Avila in the 1st, and he also gave up a single in the bottom of the 1st. Taillon allowed a single and a double in the 3rd, but a double play helped him out of that jam. He also gave up a lead-off single in the 5th, but retired the next three batters on three ground outs.
Casey Sadler relieved Taillon to begin the 6th. Sadler pitched 3 scoreless innings and allowed just one single in the 6th, and a walk in the 8th. He struck out 3 Legends’ batters. Jason Townsend earned his 5th Save of the season with a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.
After taking the lead in the 5th, the Power put at least one runner on base in every inning for the rest of the game. Maggi tripled in the 6th, and Howard singled in the 7th. Noris reached base on a fielding error in the 8th. Both Grovatt and Howard walked in the 9th inning. None of them could push around to score.