Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league action…
The Dominican League’s last regular season games will be on Tuesday.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Leones de Caracas 3 (Game 1) — Los Tigres won this battle of the big cats with a 6-run 3rd inning. CF Jorge Cortes led off the inning with a single, was bunted to second base, and scored on an RBI single. SS Ronny Cedeno lined out, but the next two batters singled, driving in a run. 1B Hector Gimenez was hit by a pitch, then LF Lastings Milledge brought in two runs with his RBI single. A triple added two more runs. Cortes walked in his second at-bat in the inning, but a fly out ended the rally. Los Tigres added another run in the 5th on a single, Gimenez’s ground rule double, and Milledge’s sacrifice fly — his third RBI of the game. Milledge singled again in a rally in the 7th, when Aragua slipped in their 8th run. Caracas did all their scoring in the bottom of the 7th, leading off the inning with two singles and a 3-run homer.
Tigres 6, Leones 5 (Game 2) — It was Cortes who had 3 hits in the night-cap, while Cedeno, Gimenez, and C Raul Chavez were hitless. Wil Ledezma made the start for Los Tigres, and pitched 2 innings, allowing a run in the 1st. Aragua tied the score in the 2nd with a walk, a single by Milledge, and an RBI single by Cortes. Ledezma was relieved to begin the 3rd, and that was when Caracas scored 2 more runs on a walk, a single, and a triple. Another triple and a sacrifice fly gave Los Leones a 4-1 lead in the 5th. Los Tigres came roaring back in the top of the 6th, to take the lead. The inning began with 3 consecutive walks, including on Milledge and Gimenez. A triple cleared the bases, then Cortes’ double gave Aragua a 5-4 lead. Another single and a walk loaded the bases for Aragua, but a double play ended the inning and the rally. Caracas tied the score again in the bottom of the 7th, sending the game into extra innings. Jose Ascanio took the mound for Caracas in the top of the 7th, when he retired the side in order. In the bottom of the 8th, pinch-hitter Miguel Perez led off with a single, and Cortes bunted him to second base. A single drove in the speedy Perez from second base with the go-ahead run.
Navegantes del Magallanes 8, Tiburones de La Guaira 2 — Los Tiburones had the early lead, but Los Navegantes scored 7 of their runs in the final three innings, including a 4-run 8th. Jean Machi earned his 7th save with 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Cardenales de Lara 7 (Game 1) — Six runs in the 2nd inning gave Los Caribes enough runs to outlast Lara’s late-inning rallies. DH Jose Tabata singled and scored on a 2-run homer in the top of the 1st. Los Cardenales got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, but Los Caribes had their big 2nd inning. With one out, a walk and four straight singles, including Tabata’s second single, brought in two runs, then a grand slam by LF Juan Camacho gave Los Caribes an 8-1 lead.
Caribes 4, Cardenales 2 (Game 2) — Four runs in the 6th inning gave Los Caribes what they needed. The inning began with a double and a single, then Jose Tabata lined another single into center field, bringing in one run. Three more singles and a sacrifice fly added 3 more runs. Los Cardenales scored one run in the 2nd on a walk, a single, and an RBI ground out. A double, a wild pitch, and a single gave Lara their second run in the 4th. CF Ray Sadler went 0-for-3 for Lara.
Lots of Pirates and former Pirates pitching in Friday’s winter league action… This is the last week of regular season play for the Dominican and Puerto Rican leagues.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Tiburones de La Guaira 5 — (Game 1) A 5-run 6th inning gave Los Caribes the edge in the first game of the double header. Los Caribes started the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on a single, a walk by DH Jose Tabata, and a 3-run homer. The 6th inning began with a double, a hit batter, and a walk to load the bases. Two sacrifice flies, an RBI single, and a sacrifice bunt aided by a throwing error by Los Tiburones’ pitcher added four more runs. Tabata also singled in the inning. La Guaira scored 2 runs in the 4th and rallied for 3 in the bottom of the 7th, but could not catch up.
Tiburones 9, Caribes 2 — (Game 2) Ryan Vogelsong earned his 6th win for Los Tiburones. He allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk over 6 innings. Tabata did not get into the night-cap.
Leones de Caracas 6, Aguilas de Zulia 2 — Another former Pirate pitcher earned the win — Ronald Uviedo also pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs. He gave up 8 hits and a walk. Los Leones scored one run in the 1st, two in the 2nd, and 3 in the 5th. C Carlos Maldonado singled twice and walked, and scored one run.
Bravos de Margarita 9, Cardenales de Lara — Both teams put up big innings and posted a total of 12 hits each. Lara had a 5-run 3rd inning, which began with CF Ray Sadler being hit by a pitch. Three singles and a throwing error brought in 2 runs, a sacrifice fly plated a third run, and a 2-run homer made it 5 runs. Three consecutive doubles, including one by Sadler, plus a sacrifice fly gave Los Cardenales 3 runs in the 4th. Los Bravos began their scoring with a run in the 2nd, then 3 runs in the 3rd on three singles, an error, and a wild pitch. They added 4 more in the next inning, on three singles and three walks. After the bottom of the 4th, the score was tied at 8-8. Los Bravos scored what would turn out to be the winning run in the top of the 5th, on a walk, a double, and an RBI ground out. Romulo Sanchez pitched to three batters and got three outs in the top of the 9th for Los Cardenales. Anthony Claggett took the mound for Los Bravos in the bottom of the 6th, with two on and one out. He got two outs to end the inning, then pitched the next two innings, allowing only one walk, no hits, with three strikeouts. Ronald Belisario earned his 14th save with a scoreless 9th inning for Los Bravos.
Tigres de Aragua 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 5 — New Pirate Fernando Nieve made the start for Los Navegantes and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. A double and an RBI single by CF Jorge Cortes gave Los Tigres their first run in the 2nd inning. Nieve gave up a 2-run homer to 1B Hector Gimenez in the 3rd inning. Gimenez got to him again in the 5th, with an RBI single that followed a lead-off double. Los Tigres scored 3 more runs after Nieve departed. Cortes walked to lead off the 6th, then scored on a bunt and an RBI single. Two runs scored in the 7th. A double, Gimenez’s third hit of the game, a wild pitch, and LF Lasting Milledge’s sacrifice fly plated the runs. Los Navegantes also scored one run in the 2nd inning, when LF Mike Ryan led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error. Magallanes scored 3 runs in the 5th, on a pair of singles, a double, and a fielding error by Milledge. Reliever Wil Ledezma took the mound in relief for Aragua after those three runs had scored, and he worked around another error to get two outs and prevent further runs from scoring.
Cheering for some Pirates’ players and friends in Friday’s winter league action:
Leones del Caracas 6, Tigres de Aragua 4 — Caracas won this battle of the Big Cats. Los Leones scored first with a solo homer in the top of the 1st. Los Tigres tied it up in the 2nd inning. Two singles, including one by 1B Hector Gimenez, and a throwing error put runners on second and third bases. LF Lastings Milledge drove in the run with a ground out to third. Caracas took the lead again in the top of the 3rd, with a walk, a ground out, and an RBI single. The batter was out at second as he tried to advance on the throw to the plate: CF Jorge Cortes to C Raul Chavez to SS Ronny Cedeno, who tagged the runner out. Aragua took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd, with a 3-run homer, after Chavez reached on a fielding error, a single, and Cedeno’s sacrifice bunt. But Los Leones came right back with their own homer for 2 runs in the top of the 4th, then took the lead with another run on two singles. They added an insurance run in the top of the 9th, on two singles and a throwing error. Los Tigres did not score again, though Milledge singled in the 4th, Cedeno singled in the 5th, and Cortes singled in the 7th.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes de Carolina 8, Criollos de Caguas 3 — Los Criollos managed only 5 hits, and two of those were by SS Luis Figueroa. Figueroa singled in the 3rd, and along with two more singles and two walks, Los Criollos scored 2 runs. Figueroa also reached on an error in the 4th, and that allowed Los Criollos’ remaining run to score. He also singled in the 9th. 3B Ramon Vazquez went 0-for-4 for Caguas. Los Gigantes scored 2 runs in the 2nd and 4th innings, then added 4 runs in the 7th inning.
Aguilas Cibaenas 10, Tigres del Licey 3 — Los Tigres posted 10 hits but left 11 runners on base, scoring only 3 times. Licey scored a run in the 3rd on two singles and a sacrifice fly. LF Jake Fox and two others singled in the 7th, and one run scored when C Robinzon Diaz bounced into a double play. A single and a double gave Los Tigres their last run in the 8th. Diaz singled for Los Tigres in the 2nd inning, but DH Ronny Paulino (who just signed a contract with the Mets) went 0-for-3 with a walk. Los Aguilas put up their first run in the 4th, tying the game on two singles, a walk, and a wild pitch. Then they put the game out of reach with 4 runs in the 6th and 3 runs in the 7th. Denny Bautista came on to pitch for Licey in the 7th, and he gave up a walk and a 2-RBI double. Starling Marte scored one of those runs, since he had just come in to pinch-run. Marte remained in the game to play right field. He batted again in the 9th, and reached base on a fielding error, though was out on a force play at second. A walk and a single brought in two more Aguilas’ runs in the 9th. LF Kevin Melillo went 0-for-3 for Los Aguilas.
Day Three of the Winter Meetings…the Rule 5 Draft will be tomorrow (Thursday)
Today, the Pirates added another player to their 40-man roster. Matt Diaz is an outfielder who was drafted by the Rays in the 17th round of the 1999 draft. He reached the major league level for the first time in 2003, but played in only 14 games for the Rays over the 2003 and 2004 seasons, and went 5-for-30 at the plate. The Oregon native was released by the Rays in February 2005 and a few days later was claimed off waivers by the Orioles, then signed by the Royals the next day. His 2005 season was shortened by injury, but he did hit .281 in 34 games for the Royals. The Royals traded Diaz to the Braves after the 2005 season, and he remained in their organization for the next 5 years. Diaz played full-time in 2006 and 2007, but a left knee injury prevented him from playing for most of the 2008 season. He was back in full swing in 2009, when he hit .313 with 13 homers and 58 RBI for the Braves. An infected thumb limited Diaz again in 2010. He was able to play in 84 games for the Braves, and hit .250, with 7 homers and 31 RBI. Diaz will turn 33 in early March. He’s expected to play in right field for the Pirates.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league action:
Leones del Caracas 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 0 — Corey Hamman had a better outing tonight than he did yesterday. He pitched 2 innings, taking the mound with a runner on second and no outs in the 7th. Hamman gave up a single and a sacrifice fly, to bring in one run (charged to the previous pitcher), then another single and a double play. In the 8th, Hamman worked around a single to keep Los Leones from scoring. Jose Ascanio pitched his first competitive inning since recovering from injury. He gave up a double to the first batter he faced, then retired the next three batters. Caracas’s 5-run 5th inning was all the firepower they needed.
Tiburones de La Guaira 4, Caribes de Anzoategui 3 — Jose Tabata made his Venezuelan debut, OK’ed by the Pirates, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. Los Caribes scored 2 runs in the 4th and another in the 5th, to take a 3-1 lead. Tabata’s RBI single drove in the run in the 5th. But Los Tiburones bit back with a 3-run 8th inning for the win.
Bravos de Margarita 7, Cardenales de Lara 3 — A 5-run rally in the bottom of the 1st inning, including a grand slam, gave Los Bravos a lead they would not give up. Starter Yusmeiro Petit pitched 7 innings for Los Bravos, allowing one run. He was relieved to begin the 8th inning, by Bobby Livingston (who pitched in one game for the Indy Indians in 2009. Livingston gave up 2 runs on two singles and a double, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett. Claggett ended the inning with a strikeout, then retired the side in the 9th.
Aguilas de Zulia 2, Tigres de Aragua 1 — SS Ronny Cedeno scored Los Tigres’ only run in the bottom of the 1st. After a double, Cedeno reached base on a fielder’s choice, then stole second base, and scored on an RBI single. Back-to-back home runs in the top of the 4th gave Zulia the lead in the 4th inning. Cedeno was hitless in his other 3 plate appearances. 1B Hector Gimenez singled in the 4th, when Los Tigres loaded the bases, but did not score. LF Lastings Milledge went 0-for-4, and C Raul Chavez went 0-for-2 for Los Tigres.
An Australian double header early on Friday morning:
Game One: Canberra Cavalry 3, Adelaide Bite 1
Pirate farmhand Rinku Singh earned his first win for the Cavalry, in a pitching-dominated game. Former Altoona Curve pitcher Paul Mildren pitched the entire (7 inning) game for the Bite. He allowed only one hit over the first three innings, and another single in the 4th. Mildren got out of a jam in the 5th — a walk and a double put two runners into scoring position with one out. The next batter tapped one back to the mound, and Mildren returned the ball to his catcher, who tagged the lead runner out at the plate. A pop out ended the inning. But in the bottom of the 6th, Mildren gave up a double, an intentional walk, and another double, which brought in 2 runs. Two more singles added a third run for the Cavalry.
The Bite were also scoreless in all but their last at-bat. They put runners on base in every inning, but could not bring them around to score. LF Quincy Latimore led off the 4th inning with a single, then moved to second base on a wild pitch. He got to third on an error, but was left there when the inning ended. The Bite also left two runners on base in the 5th inning. In the 6th, back-to-back singles put two Bite runners on base with one out. The Cavalry made a pitching change, bringing in Rinku Singh. Singh ended the inning with a strikeout and a ground out, stranding the two runners. Singh came out to begin the 7th inning with a 3-run lead (and so was the pitcher of record, to get the win). He gave up a walk, then got a strikeout. A fielding error and a single by Latimore loaded the bases, and Singh was replaced. The new pitcher, Chris Morgan, walked the first batter he faced, forcing in the Bite’s only run of the game, but then got a double play to end it.
Game Two: Cavalry 11, Bite 6
Latimore also had two hits in this game, but the Bite’s 5-run 7th inning couldn’t stand up to their total meltdown in the bottom of the 5th, when the Cavalry scored all 11 of their runs. The night-cap began like the first game, with pitchers in control. The Bite had only two hits and a walk scattered over their first 5 innings, though one of the hits was a solo homer by DH Brandon Bantz in the 4th. The Bite pitching allowed only 2 hits to Canberra over their first four innings. Then came the bottom of the 5th: walk, single, throwing error (2 runs), triple (run #3), double (#4), walk, missed catch error to load the bases, single (#5,6), single, single (#7), double (#8), wild pitch (#9), walk, triple (#10, 11), then finally, a ground out and a pop out to end the inning. Oh, and both of those triples were by pinch-hitter Donald Lutz, who came out of the game after that inning.
Latimore doubled with two outs in the 6th, but got no further. The Bite rallied in the 7th, but weren’t even close to catching up. With one out, three consecutive singles brought in one run, then a walk loaded the bases. A double drove in two runs, then Latimore brought in the fourth run by beating out an infield hit to short. Another single added run #5, but that was all they could get.
The same two teams play another double header on Saturday.