Mercer and Curry Homer; Boyer And Sinkbeil Sign

Both the Curve and the Power played early games today…. 

Altoona Curve  3,  Harrisburg Senators  2
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A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg.  Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings.  A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer’s throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play.  A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.  

The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings.  1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play.  Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd.  But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th.  Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis.  Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte.  Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead.  The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar:  Jimmy Barthmaier.  With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.  

The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th.  Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners.  He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate.  A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run — both runs charged to Locke.  

With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field.  He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg’s right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer’s fly ball.  The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings.  Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th.  Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.  

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Thompson Is POW; Ngoepe Homers In Wild Power Game

It’s a rainy night for half of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:

The Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens had the first game of their 4-game series postponed due to an all-day-long rain.  Yesterday it was snowing in Toledo, and this was not totally unexpected.  The Tribe and the Hens are scheduled to play at 10:30 am on Wednesday, then play a double-header on Thursday at 5:30 pm to make up for today.

Pitcher Jose Ascanio was supposed to join the Indians today, to begin a rehab assignment, but that has obviously been washed away too.  

The Altoona Curve and the Harrisburg Senators were also rained out in Altoona.  They are also playing at 10:30 am on Wednesday, and that is the last scheduled game of this series with the Senators, so they will make up the rain out in June.

Curve pitcher Aaron Thompson was named the Eastern League for last week.  He made two starts in the week, and won both games, earning a 0.75 ERA, with just 3 hits allowed in 12 innings.  

Jupiter Hammerheads  1,  Bradenton Marauders  0
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The Marauders came out on the short end of a pitching duel today.  Quinton Miller pitched well, but was charged with the loss, as he allowed the only run of the game on 5 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings of work, with 2 strikeouts.  Miller gave up the run in the bottom of the 1st.   The inning began with back-to-back singles, then both runners stole a base.  An RBI ground out brought in the run.  A walk and another single had another runner heading for the plate, but CF Evan Chambers made an excellent throw in to the plate, where C Ramon Cabrera tagged out the runner.

Miller scattered a walk and two singles over the next 5 innings, but did not let any further runs score.  He was relieved by Jason Erickson to begin the 7th.  After a 1-2-3 7th, Erickson worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless 8th inning.  

Unfortunately, the Hammerheads’ pitchers were having even better luck against the Marauders’ batters.  Bradenton put two runners on base in the 2nd, when LF David Rubinstein and Cabrera both singled, but Rubinstein was tagged out at third as he tried to pick up two bases on Cabrera’s single.  The Marauders went down in order in the next 3 innings, then RF Adelberto Santos singled to open the 6th, but was left on base.  With their last chance in the bottom of the 8th, 2B Jarek Cunningham lined a 2-out single into center field, and Chambers walked.  But a ground out ended the threat and the game.  

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Cain Throws Six Scoreless Innings

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:

West Virginia Power  7,  Augusta Green Jackets  0
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Three Power pitchers powered up to shut out the Green Jackets.  Colton Cain made the start and earned his first win of the season.  He allowed just one hit and one walk in 6 innings.  Cain retired the first 9 Augusta batters in order, then gave up both the hit (a double) and a walk to begin the bottom of the 4th.  A double play and a pop out got Cain out of that little jam, then he retired 6 more batters to end his outing.  Kevin Decker allowed a single in each of his two innings, but maintained the shutout.  Ryan Beckman gave up two singles in the 9th, but left both on base to end the game.  

The Power began their scoring with an unearned run in the top of the 2nd.  C Elias Diaz reached on a fielding error in right field, then advanced to third base on RF Dan Grovatt’s single.  2B Kevin Mort brought Diaz in with a sacrifice fly.  Grovatt led off the 5th with a walk.  He was forced out at second on Mort’s grounder, though Mort avoided the double play and was safe at first.  LF Andy Vasquez plated Mort with a triple into right field.

The 6th was the big inning for the Power.  CF Mel Rojas and 1B Matt Curry started the frame with back-to-back singles, and after two outs, Diaz walked to load the bases.  Another walk to Grovatt forced in Rojas, then Mort drove in Curry and Diaz with a line drive single into center field.  The Power tacked on another run in the 7th, when SS Gift Ngoepe doubled, Rojas singled (his third hit of the game), and a fielder’s choice on Curry’s ball let Ngoepe score.  It was Curry’s turn to double in the 9th, and he scored on Avila’s RBI single.  

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Curve’s Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short

The Curve played an early game on Wednesday…

Akron Aeros  3,  Altoona Curve  2
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Down 3-1 going into the top of the 9th, the Curve rallied, beginning with 3B Jeremy Farrell reaching base on a fielding error by the Akron shortstop.  A passed ball put Farrell on second base.  Strikeouts by LF Shelby Ford and RF Brad Chalk made the Curve’s situation even more desperate.  2B Brock Holt hit his third single of the day, and CF Starling Marte also singled, loading the bases with two outs.  But the Curve’s hopes ended when SS Jordy Mercer also struck out.  

Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve, and he was charged with the loss.  Locke worked his way out of a jam with runners on the corners in the 1st inning, and worked around a lead-off single in the 2nd.  Another single led off the 3rd inning, and back-to-back doubles, one zipping just out of reach of Farrell’s backhand dive, drove in 2 runs.  After a single, a walk, and two strikeouts in the 5th, Locke was relieved by Anthony Claggett.  Claggett finished up the 5th with a ground out, leaving two runners on base.  He also pitched the 6th and 7th innings, and surrendered a solo home run to lead off the 6th.  Tom Boleska pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Aeros from scoring again, despite a single and a walk.

The Curve scored their first run in the 4th.  1B Miles Durham and C Kris Watts worked back-to-back walks, and when Farrell lifted a soft single into right field, Durham scored from second base.  Farrell and Holt each walked once, and Farrell also singled in the 6th inning.  Holt singled to open the game, then again in the 5th.  

The Curve will have their home opener tomorrow.

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Morris Shines For Curve; Marauders Blast Jupiter

Three wins for the Pirates’ lower minor league teams on Tuesday:

Altoona Curve  2,  Akron Aeros  0
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Starter Bryan Morris threw 6 shutout innings to lead the Curve over the Aeros in Akron.  Morris scattered 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 3 for his first win of the season.  The only real trouble he had was in the bottom of the 1st, when rehabbing Grady Sizemore began the inning with a walk.  After two grounder force outs, a single, Akron had runners on first and second.  A single lined into center field had the runner from second charging for home, but CF Starling Marte fired in to C Eric Fryer, who tagged out the runner at the plate.  Morris sailed through his remaining 5 innings, allowing just two more hits — singles in the 2nd and the 5th.  Brian Leach, Michael Dubee, and Noah Krol each pitched one scoreless inning of relief.  Leach and Dubee each allowed one walk, but Dubee struck out the other three batters he faced.  Krol earned his second Save of the season.  

Both of the Curve’s runs scored in the 3rd inning.  3B Jeremy Farrell began the rally by being hit by a pitch.  Fryer singled, and RF Jose Hernandez sacrifice bunted both runners into scoring position.  2B Brock Holt grounded to first, but a fielding error let him reach safely and gave Farrell the chance to score.  An RBI grounder by Marte brougth in Fryer with the second run.  Marte stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, but the inning ended before he could come around to score.  

Marte singled after Holt walked in the 5th inning, and both Farrell and Fryer singled in the 7th, but neither of those threats yielded any runs.  Farrell lined into right field in the 9th, and rounded second easily, but was thrown out when he tried to stretch it into a triple.  He would have scored if he’d stopped at second, because Fryer followed with his own double.  Fryer was 3-for-4 in the game, and Farrell went 2-for-3.  

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