The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….
Greensboro Grasshoppers 5, West Virginia Power 0
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The Power were held to just one hit — a single by CF Mel Rojas, which came in the 5th inning. The only other Power base runner was SS Drew Maggi, who walked to lead off the 4th, but was quickly picked off first base. After Rojas’ two-out single in the 5th, the remaining 13 batters were retired in order. It took three Grasshopper pitchers to do it, and their starter, Kyle Winters, pitched 7 one-hit innings, with 7 strikeouts, including striking out the side in his final inning.
Greensboro did all the damage they needed in the bottom of the 1st. A pair of doubles started the inning, and after a fly out, a 2-run homer gave the ‘Hoppers a 3-0 lead. Tyler Waldron had only one batter reach base in the next two innings, and that was on a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris in the 3rd. That runner was erased with an inning-ending double play. Waldron gave up 2 more runs in the 4th. Two singles and a wild pitch put two runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly and an RBI single drove in the two runs.
Victor Black relieved Waldron and ptiched a scoreless inning, with two walks and two strikeouts. Then 19-year old Orlando Castro made his US debut with 3 scoreless innings of work. The Honduras native gave up a 2-out single in the 6th, and a lead-off single and a walk in the 7th. The lead-off runner was eliminated in a double play. Then he retired the side in the bottom of the 8th.
Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.
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 Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday, but the Power and the Marauders were in action.
Delmarva Shorebirds 10, West Virginia Power 7
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A 6-run offensive blast by the Power was enough to tie the score, but not enough for the win. Delmarva got the game started with a 3-run homer off Zack Von Rosenberg in the top of the 1st, after a double and a single. Von Rosenberg put runners on base in the next two innings but did not let them come around to score. A walk and a 2-run homer increased the Shorebirds’ lead to 5-0 with one out in the 4th. A single and a walk followed that homer, and Von Rosenberg was relieved by Porfirio Lopez. Lopez finished the 4th, but gave up two more runs in the 5th on a single, a walk, a balk, another single, and a fielding error by SS Drew Maggi.
The Power led off each of the first four innings with a hit: singles by Maggi (1st), 1B Chase Lyles (2nd), and 3B Eric Avila (3rd), and a double by LF Dan Grovatt (4th). Grovatt was the only one who scored, on RF Justin Howard’s RBI single. The Power went into the bottom of the 5th trailing 7-1, and that’s when the fireworks started. With one out, Avila walked, Maggi doubled, and 2B Kevin Mort walked, to load the bases. Grovatt tapped back to the mound, where the Shorebirds’ pitcher thought he could get a force out at the plate. Instead, he made a fielding error, and Avila scored. A wild pitch brought in Maggi, then Howard walked to load the bases again. Lyles’ RBI single into center field plated Mort with the third run of the inning. C Kawika Emsley-Pai was hit by a pitch, forcing in Grovatt, and after a pitching change, DH Elias Diaz brought in both Howard and Lyles with a 2-RBI single, to tie the score at 7-7. After a fly out, Avila’s second walk of the inning loaded the bases again, but a ground out by Maggi ended the inning.
Zac Fuesser took over on the mound for the 6th, which was scoreless (for both teams). The top of the 7th began with a missed catch error by Lyles at first. Fuesser’s balk pushed that runner to second base, and a bunt advanced him to third. He scored on an RBI double, then a walk, two singles, and a fielding error by RF Howard added two more runs.
Casey Sadler pitched the 8th inning for the Power. He gave up a double and hit a batter, but got out of the inning without a run scoring. The Power put two runner on in the 7th, when Lyles and Diaz both walked, but a double play and a fly out ended that inning. They threatened again in the bottom of the 9th. Grovatt singled, but was erased in a double play. Then Lyles walked and Emsley-Pai and Diaz singled to load the bases, but a strikeout ended the game.