Thompson And Curve Get The Win

It’s like they said in the movie “Bull Durham”:  some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains.  Again on Saturday, the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates experienced all three. 

It rained again in West Virginia.  The Power and the Savannah Sand Gnats will try for a double header again on Sunday.  As best as I can tell, Friday’s game has been “cancelled” and won’t be made up.

The win:
Altoona Curve  6,  Erie SeaWolves  2
(box score)

The Curve finally put one in the win column, as they out-hit the SeaWolves 14 – 3 on Saturday afternoon.  All but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit, and while C Eric Fryer didn’t smack a hit, he contributed two walks and scored a run.  CF Starling Marte, who had been hitless in the Curve’s first two games, led the onslaught with 4 hits — 3 singles and a double.  2B Brock Holt, DH Kris Watts, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had two hits, and Holt and Farrell each drove in two runs.  

Erie scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 1st, on an infield single by the first batter of the game, followed by a bunt and a balk by starter Aaron Thompson, and an RBI ground out.  Thompson settled in after that, and did not allow another run nor another hit.  He walked one and struck out two in his 6 innings of work.  

The Curve tied the game in the 3rd inning.  Fryer walked, then came around to score on a wild pitch.  They took the lead in the 6th, when Marte doubled.  SS Jordy Mercer singled, driving in Marte.  Watts also singled, and he scored moments later when Farrell singled.  RF Brad Chalk added another run in the 7th — he tripled, then came across the plate on Holt’s RBI single.  The Curve rallied again in the 8th, for two more insurance runs.  Watts started with his second single.  Farrell brought him home with a double, and Holt followed up with an RBI single to plate Farrell.  

Reliever Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 7th inning and began the 8th, allowing a single.  Michael Dubee took over for Leach, but the runner scored on an RBI single.  Dubee also pitched a perfect 9th, earning his first save.  Thompson earned the win.  

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2011 Prospect Watching: Cabrera, Marquez, Newton

More catchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Ramon Cabrera  —   Bats: Both / Throws: Right, 5′ 7″,  202 lb
The 21-year-old Cabrera made his US debut in 2009 with the GCL Pirates, and the organization thought well enough of him to promote him to West Virginia for 2010.  It worked out reasonably well for Cabrera, who took the job of the primary catcher for the Power.  He still needs work behind the plate, especially since he had only switched to catching shortly before going pro.  He threw out 22 of 158 baserunners (21%), and had 12 passed balls.  On offense, Cabrera started off well, hitting .286 in April with 3 RBI.  The average dropped to .269 in May, but the RBI’s increased to 11.  He dropped further to .208 for June, but came back to .284 in July and .286 in August.  He wrapped up his year by going 14-for-37 (.378) over the last two weeks of the season.  That came out to a .269 average for the season, with 14 doubles, 3 triples, one homer, and 40 RBI.  Not a lot of power, but that could improve over the next few years.  Cabrera struck out 42 times in 90 games (12.3%), though his walk rate dropped almost in half — from 28 walks in 2009 to 22 in 2010.   Cabrera should be ready for A+ Bradenton for the 2011 season.  

Jairo Marquez  —  R/R,  6′ 1″,  178 lb
Marquez, like Cabrera, is a Venezuelan native who also made his US debut in 2009.  Marquez started the 2010 season at State College, but after getting into just 4 games, he was moved up to West Virginia, where they needed a back-up catcher.  While Cabrera caught 90 games for the Power, Marquez caught just 21.  He has a little more power than Cabrera, hitting .303 with 7 doubles, one triple, 2 homers, and 9 RBI, though that’s a small sample.  He threw out 9 of 28 potential base stealers (32%) in his limited action.  It’s going to be crowded behind the plate at both the A and A+ levels, so it’s not clear where Marquez will fit into that mix.  

Jordan Newton —  R/R,  5′ 10″,  195 lb 
Newton was the Tigers’ 6th round pick in the 2006 draft.  After four seasons in the Tigers’ organization, he had reached as high as A+, where he hit .263 with 8 homers and 29 RBI.  When the Tigers released him, Newton began the 2010 season with the New Jersey Jackals in the Can-Am league.  The Pirates signed Newton when they needed more catchers to try to not get hit in the face by pitches in Bradenton.  The Kentucky native got into 27 games for the Marauders, including 10 behind the plate and 5 in left field.  He was ok behind the plate, throwing out just 2 of 25 potential base stealers.  Norton hit well in Bradenton:  .331 with 7 doubles, a homer, and 16 RBI.  He would be able to back up Cabrera in Bradenton in 2011, but will have to fight the rest of the crowd for a spot.   

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Marauders Clinch Playoff Spot

On Friday night, all of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost.� On Saturday night, all but State College won….

Bradenton Marauders� 4,� Charlotte Stone Crabs� 2 …���� (box)

The Marauders assured themselves at least a spot in the playoffs with this win tonight.� Nate Adcock won his 11th game of the season with 2 runs allowed in 5.2 innings of work.� He gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st, with a 2-out walk, a wild pitch, and two singles.� He surrendered another run on a walk and a double to lead off the 3rd inning.� He scattered 4 more hits, but left two stranded and erased two with double plays.� In the top of the 6th, Adcock got two outs and gave up a single, then that runner stole both second and third base.� He was relieved by Kyle McPherson, who finished that inning with a strikeout, then gave up just one hit over the next 2 innings, including 3 more strikeouts.� Noah Krol earned his league-leading 34th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning, working around a missed catch error.

Bradenton picked up one run in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then moved to second base on a groundout.� 3B Adam Davis’ RBI single brought in Fryer.� The Marauders were on the receiving end of several walks over the next few innings — one in the 3rd to SS Shelby Ford, one in the 4th to Fryer, three in the 5th to DH Jordan Newton, 2B James Skelton, and RF Robbie Grossman to load the bases — but all were left on base.� They did score again in the 6th, when LF Quincy Latimore led off with a single.� He was forced out at second on Fryer’s grounder, leaving Fryer at first.� Davis singled again, advancing Fryer to third bse, then Newton doubled in both Fryer and Davis, to take a 3-2 lead.� They added an insurance run in the 4th.� Grossman singled with one out, then scored on CF Starling Marte’s double.� The Marauders threatened again in the 8th, as Davis was hit by a pitch and Newton walked, then Skelton bunted them both into scoring position.� A strikeout and a ground out ended the inning, but it turned out to not matter, and the Marauders season is going to continue beyond the weekend.

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Watson Shines For Curve; Shut Out For Spikes’ Pitchers

Sunday in the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates… as usual for a Sunday, the GCL Pirates have a scheduled day off.

The Bradenton Marauders and the Fort Myer Miracle got just an inning and a half of baseball in before they had to stop.� C Eric Fryer was the only Bradenton batter to reach base, with a double in the top of the 2nd.� Marauders’ starter Nate Adcock had retired the side in order in the bottom of the 1st.� The suspended game will be resumed on Monday evening as part of a double header, weather permitting.

Altoona Curve� 9,� Binghamton Mets� 5 (box)

Two big innings boosted the Curve over the Mets, as starter Tony Watson pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits, while striking out 8 Mets.� Watson retired the first 9 batters he faced, then gave up a single and a walk in the 3rd.� He set down the next 6 batters, then gave up a lone double in the 5th.� Watson faced his biggest threat in the 6th,when he gave up a single and a double, putting two runners in scoring position.� But Watson got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out to finish the inning.

C Hector Gimenez led the Curve bats with 3 hits and 3 RBI.� He opened the scoring with a solo home run (his 16th of the season) in the 2nd inning.� He singled again in the 4th inning but was left on base, then reached on a fielding error in the 5th inning rally, and doubled in the 7th inning rally.

The 5th inning began with a solo home run by CF Anthony Norman. Watson worked a walk, then singles by 2B Chase d’Arnaud and 3B Josh Harrison loaded the bases.� A sharp line-out to third by LF Jim Negrych forced the base runners to freeze in place, but a grounder force out by 1B Matt Hague brought in Watson, with Harrison out at second base.� SS Jordy Mercer’s single plated d’Arnaud, and a fielding error on Gimenez’s ball to center field brought in both Hague and Mercer.� The Curve had a 6-0 lead.

They added 3 more runs in the 7th.� With one out, Hague singled, and Mercer reached on an error.� Gimenez’s double brought in both of them, then after a single by RF Miles Durham, Gimenez scored on a sacrifice fly by Norman.

The Curve were leading 9-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, when Derek Hankins relieved Watson.� Hankins gave up 2 runs on a double, two singles, and two wild pitches.� He retired the side in the 8th, but gave up a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th.� Hankins still earned his 6th save of the game, because he’d pitched 3 innings.� Watson’s win was his 5th of the season for the Curve.

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Curve Lose In Extras; Marauders Split Twin Bill

Sunday’s games in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues were partially hampered by rain…. The GCL Pirates again had today off.

The State College Spikes and the Aberdeen IronBirds fell victim to rain.� That game will not be made up, as the Spikes are not scheduled to play Aberdeen again this season.� Tomorrow is an off day for the Spikes, then on Tuesday, Matt Curry, Adalberto Santos, and Jhonatan Ramos will be participating in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

West Virginia Power 3,� Lexington Legends 3 — suspended (box)

The Power and the Legends were supposed to play 2 games today, making up for last night’s rainout.� They got started on Game 1, but got only into the third inning (of a 7-inning game) before the rain returned.� That game was suspended and the second game was postponed.

The game began with a scoreless first inning for both teams.� In the top of the 2nd, LF Rogelios Noris and C Ramon Cabrera both singled, then with two outs, 1B Kyle Morgan blasted a 3-run homer.� The Legends responded with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame on four singles.� With one out in the top of the 3rd, the game was suspended.� They will try to finish this one, then play a second game tomorrow.

New Hampshire FisherCats� 3,� Altoona Curve� 2 (box)

More extra innings for the Curve and the FisherCats, but this one went New Hampshire’s way.�� The Curve threatened in the 2nd inning, when both 1B Matt Hague and 2B Jordy Mercer led off with back-to-back singles.� DH Jim Negrych’s grounder forced out Hague at third, and C Kris Watts walked to load the bases.� Another ground out ended the inning, though.�� A triple by SS Chase d’Arnaud and a sacrifice fly by 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd inning did put the Curve onto the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead.� They scored again in the 5th on an exciting play.� CF Jose De Los Santos began with a single.� D’Arnaud grounded to short, for what should have been a double play, but the New Hampshire second baseman missed the catch, and both runners were safe.� De Los Santos tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out, then stole home in a double steal.

Rudy Owens pitched 5 scoreless innings in his start for the Curve, striking out 6 batters.� He scattered 5 hits, no walks, and only had more than one runner on base at a time in the 3rd, but got out of it with a strikeout and a ground out.� Jared Hughes relieved Owens to start the 6th.� Hughes walked a batter then erased him with a double play in the 6th.� In the 7th, Hughes hit the first batter, CF Callix Crabbe with a pitch.� Crabbe stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI single.� That batter was thrown out at second base by RF Miles Durham when he tried to stretch his single into a double.� Moments later, a solo home run tied the game at 2-2.� Hughes also pitched the 8th, and again gave up a walk and erased the runner with a double play.

The tie continued as the Curve went down in order in the 7th.� D’Arnaud was hit with a pitch in the 8th, was bunted to second by Harrison, then stole third base, but was left stranded.� Daniel Moskos worked around a lead-off single to keep the tie going in the top of the 9th.� Jim Negrych singled in the bottom of the inning, but was erased in a double play.� Derek Hankins retired the FisherCats in order in the top of the 10th.� Kris Watts singled in the bottom of that inning, and was replaced by pinch-runner Anthony Norman, who was also left on base.

Hankins came out again for the 11th.� With two outs, he gave up a single, then an RBI double to Crabbe, and the FisherCats had the 3-2 lead.� Matt Hague walked with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, but a grounder off the bat of Negrych forced out Hague at second base to end the game.

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