Looking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league action:
Estrellas de Oriente 6, Tigres del Licey 3 — Los Tigres posted only 5 hits, but they also hurt themselves by committing 4 errors. They scored all of their runs in the 3rd inning on a 3-run homer. DH Ronny Paulino, C Robinzon Diaz, and 1B Jake Fox were all hitless for Los Tigres. Los Estrellas took advantage of the errors to score 2 runs in each of the 1st, 5th, and 8th innings. Half of their runs were unearned.
Gigantes del Cibao 7, Leones del Escogido 3 – Mike Dubee earned his third Dominican League win for Los Gigantes. Dubee entered the game in the top of the 5th inning, with Los Gigantes leading 3-2, two runners on base, and two outs. The first batter he faced reached base on a fielding error at third base, allowing the tying run to score. The next batter singled up the middle, but the throw in from center field let C JR House tag the lead runner out at the plate to end the inning. House was the lead-off batter in Los Gigantes’ half of the inning, and he began a rally with a single into center field. A sacrifice bunt and a single brought in House with the go-ahead run, and another single and an RBI ground out gave Dubee and Los Gigantes an insurance run. Dubee pitched a scoreless 6th inning, and then was relieved. Los Gigantes added 2 more runs in the 8th on two singles, a walk, and a fielding error.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Leones de Ponce 0 – The Caguas pitchers allowed only 4 Ponce hitters to reach base, on three singles and a double scattered throughout the game, and two of the base runners were erased with double plays. Los Criollos scored their first run in the 4th, when 3B Ramon Vazquez led off with a walk, and scored on a single and an RBI double. A triple and an RBI single gave them another run in the 7th, and that was all they needed.
Checking in on some Pirates’ players and friends in Friday night’s winter league games:
Navegantes del Magallanes 7, Bravos de Margarita 5 – Jean Machi pitched a perfect 9th inning to earn his 6th Save for Los Navegantes. His teammates took a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 6th with a two-out rally, scoring 5 runs on two doubles, four singles, and a walk. They added 2 more runs in the 7th on four more singles. Los Bravos put their first run on the board in the 3rd with three singles. A grand slam by CF Frank Diaz in the top of the 8th brought Los Bravos closer, but Machi held them off in the 9th. Just released SS Argenis Diaz came into the game to play shortstop in the top of the 9th, and he scooped the grounder that was Machi’s first out.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Aguilas de Zulia 1 – Two Pirates’ teammates on Los Tigres…. one tendered a contract, one not… SS Ronny Cedeno was hit by a pitch in the top of the 1st, stole second base, then scored on a 2-run homer. C Raul Chavez’s home run in the 2nd inning gave Los Tigres a 3-0 lead. In the 5th, a throwing error and a single put two runners on base. Cedeno bunted them both into scoring position, then CF Lastings Milledge drove in one run with an RBI single into right field. Los Tigres capped their scoring with 4 runs in the 6th. A single and two walks loaded the bases. Chavez was hit by a pitch, forcing in the first run. A single brought in the second run, and Cedeno’s ground out plated the third run. A walk to Milledge loaded the bases again, and another walk forced in Chavez with the fourth run of the inning. Chavez had an embarrassing moment in the 5th — with runners on first and second bases, Chavez lined right to the Zulia third baseman, who started a triple play.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 4, Gigantes de Carolina 3 – Los Gigantes had the early lead, starting with a run in the 1st, when former Indy Indian LF Luis Matos doubled and scored. In the 2nd, a ground-rule double, a walk, a fielding error by 3B Ramon Vazquez, and a single gave them a 3-0 lead. An RBI single by SS Luis Figueroa drove in Los Criollos’ first run in the 5th. Then a single, a triple, and a 3-run homer in the 6th gave Los Criollos the win. Figueroa also singled in the 1st, and Vazquez singled in the 3rd.
Looking in on the Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league action…
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Gigantes de Carolina 1 – A low-hitting game, and Caguas scored their 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th on two singles and some mistakes by Los Gigantes. With the first two batters on base, SS Luis Figueroa bunted both into scoring position. That put the runner on third base in position to score on a wild pitch. Ramon Vazquez reached base on a fielding error at second base, which let the second run score. Another wild pitch and a walk put two runners on base again, but no more runs scored. Los Criollos also loaded the bases in the 3rd, on singles by Figueroa and Vazquez and a walk, and a walk and two more singles loaded the bases in the 6th, but both times the bases were left loaded. Vazquez also walked in the 1st inning. Los Gigantes’ only run came in the 5th, on a single, a double by Luis Matos, and a sacrifice fly.
Navegantes del Magallanes 4, Tigres de Aragua 0 — Los Tigres could not score despite 7 hits and 2 walks. RF Alex Romero had 3 of those 7 hits, and 1B Hector Gimenez had a single. SS Ronny Cedeno, CF Jorge Cortes, and C Raul Chavez were all hitless in the game. Los Navegantes scored all 4 of their runs in the top of the 2nd, on a solo homer, followed by four singles. Corey Hamman pitched to one batter in the 6th, and gave up a single. Two more walks loaded the bases for Magallanes, but the runners were left stranded. Jean Machi pitched the 9th inning for Magallanes and gave up the single to Gimenez, but a double play erased Gimenez and ended the game.
Bravos de Margarita 6, Aguilas del Zulia 4 — Anthony Claggett earned his first Venezuelan League win with 1.1 scoreless innings for Margarita. Los Bravos scored first, with a run in the bottom of the 1st, and Los Aguilas tied the score with one run in the top of the 2nd. Zulia scored 2 more runs in the top of the 3rd on two walks and three singles, and Claggett was brought into the game with 2 runs in, one out, and the bases loaded. he faced just one batter, and got the double play to end the inning. Los Bravos’ batters responded with 4 runs in the bottom of the 4th, on 4 singles, a walk, and a bases-clearing 3-RBI double. That gave Los Bravos the lead, which they would not give up, and Claggett was the pitcher of record. He began the top of the 4th with two outs, then a throwing error and a single put two runners on for Los Aguilas. Claggett was relieved at that point, but those runners did not score. Ronald Belisario earned his 9th save for Margarita.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Everyone has probably seen that Zach Duke has been traded to Arizona for a player to be named later.
Also, former Pirate Bryan Bullington, who was removed from the Kansas City Royals’ 40-man roster last week, was released by the Royals yesterday. Then Bullington signed a contract to play in Japan for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for 2011.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in the winter leagues on Wednesday…..
Tiburones de La Guaira 4, Bravos de Margarita 1 (Game 1) – This was supposed to be a 7-inning game, but the score was still tied at 1-1 after 7. A bases-loaded walk forced in Los Bravos’ run in the bottom of the 1st. Los Tiburones tied the score with a run on a single, a ground out, and another single in the 3rd. Anthony Claggett had pitched a scoreless 7th inning — he gave up a single, but then picked the base runner off first. But he started the top of the 8th with a single and a sacrifice bunt, and was then relieved. The next pitcher loaded the bases with a pair of walks, then he was relieved too. Two singles and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for Los Tiburones, with the first one charged to Claggett, making him responsible for the loss. Margarita won the second game 3-0, holding Los Tiburones to just 3 hits in the 7-inning game. Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario allowed one of the hits along with a walk in the 7th inning, earning his 8th save.
Tigres de Aragua 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 5 – Both SS Ronny Cedeno and 1B Hector Gimenez hit 2-run homers for Los Tigres in this win. Gimenez’s blast got Aragua going in their 4-run 1st inning, and Cedeno’s homer made the score 6-1 in the 2nd inning. Gimenez also doubled in the game. CF Jorge Cortes walked and scored for Los Tigres, and C Raul Chavez was 0-for-3 at the plate.
A quick look at what some of the Pirates’ players and friends were up to in the Venezuelan League recently:
Anthony Claggett joined Los Bravos de Margarita, and has made two relief appearances. On the 17th, he pitched one inning, giving up only a 2-out double, then finishing the inning with a groundout. On the 21st, Claggett pitched 2 innings and allowed only a single to former Indy Indian Jorge Cortes, who he then erased in a double play.
Los Tigres de Aragua got two hits each from1B Hector Gimenez, SS Ronny Cedeno, and C Raul Chavez on the 17th. Unfortunately their only run in the game was Gimenez’s solo home run. Brian Bass made the start for Los Tigres on the 19th. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs — one run on a pair of singles and his own throwing error in the 1st inning, and 3 runs on a homer then two walks and 3 singles in the 3rd. The score was tied when Bass left the game. Lastings Milledge contributed a 2-run homer for Los Tigres in the 1st. Aragua won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off RBI single by Cortes.
Also on the 19th, Sean Gallagher suffered his third loss of the season for Los Navegantes. He pitched 4 innings against Los Aguilas del Zulia and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits. In the 3rd inning, he allowed a 2-run homer, then in the 4th, Gallagher gave up 2 more runs on a walk and 3 singles.
Justin Thomas earned the win (his first in Venezuela) for Los Bravos de Margarita on Saturday the 20th. He was first charged with a blown save when he gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th to Los Navegantes del Magallanes. But he was then credited with the win when Margarita hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 7th. Corey Hamman also was charged with a blown save for Magallanes in that same game, when he faced 3 Margarita batters in the 5th inning and gave up a homer, a single, and a double. Jean Machi pitched the top of the 9th for Magallanes and got three ground outs.