Avila And Noris Homer In Power Loss; Baker Strikes Out 8

Lakewood BlueClaws  6,  West Virginia Power  5
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The Power played an early game today, but fell to the BlueClaws in the 10th inning.  Starter Jameson Taillon did not factor into the decision, though he pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, while striking out 2 batters.  The first two runs Taillon allowed came in the first two innings of the game.  In the top of the 1st, a single, a ground out, and another single gave the Claws their first run.  Two more singles, a double steal, and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0 in the top of the 2nd.

The Power tied the score in the bottom of the 2nd.  1B Matt Curry walked, and DH Justin Howard moved Curry to third with a double lined into left field.  C Kawika Emsley-Pai brought in Curry with an RBI single, and LF Rogelios Noris plated Howard with a sacrifice fly.   

Taillon walked a batter in the 3rd, and with a stolen base and a missed catch error by 2B Andy Vasquez on the throw to second, the runner reached third base.  Taillon escaped without a run scored, though, when the next batter flied out and RF Dan Grovatt made an on-target throw to Emsley-Pai, who tagged out the runner at the plate.  Taillon worked around a single in the 4th, but got into trouble again in the 5th.  A single and two ground outs again put a runner on third base, and an RBI single broke the tie, giving the Claws a 3-2 lead.  

The Power tied the score again in the bottom of the 5th.  3B Eric Avila led off with a walk, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  Pinch-hitter Kevin Mort sacrifice bunted Avila to third base, and SS Drew Maggi’s single through the hole into left field let Avila score.  

Tyler Waldron relieved Taillon to begin the 6th inning.  Waldron gave up a double in both the 6th and 7th innings, but both times left that runner on base for two scoreless innings.  Avila was next to break the tie with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 7th.  But back-to-back solo homers in the top of the 8th gave the lead right back to the Claws.  Noris was the next to homer, tying the score again, 5-5, in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extras.

With Waldron still on the mound in the top of the 10th, the Claws made two outs, then began a rally with a walk.  Waldron struck out the next batter, but strike three was a wild pitch, and the Claws got a second chance with the batter reaching first base safely.  They took advantage of the opportunity, with an RBI single to score the runner from second base.  Casey Sadler relieved Waldron and struck out the next batter to end the inning.  The Power had a chance in the bottom of the 10th, when Curry doubled with two outs.  Lakewood also brought in another reliever, who also got a strikeout (of Howard) to end the Power’s threat and the game.  

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Curve Split Double Header; Homers For Diaz, Baker, And Grossman

Thursday night’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league teams…..

Akron Aeros  6,  Altoona Curve  1      (Game 1)
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The Aeros began today’s double-header with a 5-run 1st inning, and the Curve could not catch up in Game 1.  2B Brock Holt went 3-for-3 with a triple and two singles.  

Curve starter Aaron Thompson did not get out of the first inning.  With one out, A pair of doubles drove in one run.  A catchers’ interference call on C Eric Fryer put the next batter on first base, and a single loaded the bases.  Thompson got a strikeout, but then walked in a run.  Two more singles drove in three more runs for a 5-0 lead.  Tim Alderson relieved Thompson, and Alderson ended the inning with a tapper back to the mound.  
 
Alderson gave up a double and a single in the 2nd inning, then retired the next three batters to get out of the inning without further runs scoring.  He went on to retire the next 11 batters in order (14 in order overall), before giving up a solo home run in the 6th.  

Holt recorded his first single in the top of the 1st, and CF Starling Marte reached base on an error, but they were not able to come around to score.  Holt singled again in the 3rd, with two outs.  That time he was out at second on a grounder force out.  SS Jordy Mercer singled in the 4th, and was left on base.  The Curve scored their only run in the 5th.  1B Miles Durham walked in the 5th, and moments later, Holt drove Durham in with his triple.  

Altoona Curve  2,  Akron Aeros  1     (Game 2)
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Jared Hughes pitched into the 6th inning, and kept the Aeros scoreless in the night-cap.  Hughes gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, and worked around runners on base in four of the innings he pitched.  He left two runners in scoring position in the 1st, and allowed another single in the 2nd.  In the 4th, the Aeros doubled, and the runner advanced to third on a bunt.  A grounder to 3B Shelby Ford became a fielder’s choice when Ford’s throw home let C Kris Watts tag out the runner at the plate.  Hughes gave up another single and a walk in the 6th, and was relieved by Michael Dubee.  Dubee moved both runners into scoring position with a wild pitch, but ended the inning with a strikeout.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the 2nd inning.  DH Jeremy Farrell doubled into center field, and 1B Miles Durham walked.  Ford lifted a single into left field, allowing Farrell to score from second base.  A pair of doubles added another run for the Curve in the 3rd.  With one out, CF Starling Marte doubled into center field.  Marte scored on LF Quincy Latimore’s double into left.  Latimore also singled and Farrell walked in the 6th, but the Aeros changed pitchers, and two strikeouts ended the inning.  

Akron’s only run came in the bottom of the 7th.  Dubee gave up a lead-off double and a walk, and with two outs, an RBI single up the middle brought in the lead runner.   

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8th Inning Rally For Power; Marauders Win On Chambers’ Homer

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….

West Virginia Power  9,  Kannapolis Intimidators  8
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Late inning rallies for a total of 7 runs gave the Power the win over Kannapolis.  1B Matt Curry got the scoring started with a solo home run to begin the bottom of the 2nd.  That run was overwhelmed, though, when the Intimidators exploded for 6 runs in the top of the 3rd.  Power starter Zack Von Rosenberg had allowed only one walk over the first two innings, but that fell apart in the 3rd inning.  A single, a walk, and a triple brought in two runs.  A sacrifice fly gave Von Rosenberg the first out of the inning, but it also scored the runner from third, for a 3-1 lead.  Two more singles, another triple, and another single brought in 3 more runs, for a 6-1 lead, and sent Von Rosenberg to the showers.   Zac Fuesser relieved Von Rosenberg, and Fuesser’s first move was to pick off the runner on first base and get him out in a run-down.  A walk and a strikeout ended the inning.  

The Power got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3B Eric Avila’s double and a fielding error on LF Dan Grovatt’s bouncer to short.  Fuesser gave up a pair of walks and a single in the 4th, but a timely double play kept any runs from scoring.  He also gave up a pair of singles in the 5th, but was aided by an outfield assist from Grovatt.  Kannapolis scored again in the 6th, with a two-out ground-rule double and an RBI single.  Two more doubles gave Kannapolis another run in the top of the 7th, for an 8-2 lead.

Then the Power burst out with 7 unanswered runs over their last two at-bats to take the lead and the win.  With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a single into left field, and Avila drove him in with a triple.  SS Drew Maggi’s ground out plated Avila.  2B Kevin Mort singled and pinch-hitter Rogelios Noris walked, but they did not score in that inning.  The Power continued the surge right where they left off in the 8th.  RF Justin Howard led off with a double and CF Mel Rojas was hit by a pitch.  C Kawika Emsley-Pai loaded the bases with a walk.  Marquez drove in Howard with a single grounded into right field, leaving the bases still loaded.  Avila bounced to short, for a force out at second base, but Rojas scored the second run of the inning on the play.  After an out, Mort singled, plating Emsley-Pai, then Noris tripled in both Avila and Mort, for the tying and go-ahead runs.  

Zach Foster relieved Fuesser for the final two innings.  Foster allowed a double and hit a batter with a pitch in the 8th, but two strikeouts left them stranded.   He also walked a batter in the 9th, but got two more strikeouts to preserve the Power lead and earned his first win of the season.  

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Big 6th Inning For Curve; Miller’s Second Win

Fun with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Thursday night…

Altoona Curve  7,  Erie SeaWolves 2
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A big 6-run 6th inning gave the Curve the win over Erie, despite the SeaWolves out-hitting the Curve 15 – 6.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  C Tony Sanchez reached base and got all the way to second on a throwing error by the Erie shortstop.  A ground out by DH Kris Watts moved Sanchez to third, and a sacrifice fly by 1B Miles Durham brought Sanchez in to score.  

Altoona starter Aaron Thompson gave up a single in both the 1st and 3rd innings, and both times erased the runners with a double play.  He hit a batter and allowed two singles in the 2nd, but caught one runner stealing, and got out of the inning without a run scoring.  The top of the 4th inning began with a lead-off homer to tie the score.  After a fly out, Thompson gave up another solo homer, and Erie had a 2-1 lead.  

After three hitless innings, the Curve erupted in the 6th, sending 10 batters to the plate.  Holt started the rally with a double into right field.  CF Starling Marte beat out a bunt for a single, moving Holt to third.  LF Quincy Latimore lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Holt, and when the Erie center fielder’s throw back in went wild for an error, Marte moved to second base.  That put Marte in position to score on SS Jordy Mercer’s single.  3B Jeremy Farrell and Watts both walked to load the bases, then Durham lined a single into left field, plating both Mercer and Farrell.  A double by RF Brad Chalk scored Watts and Durham, and the Curve had a 7-2 lead.  

Thompson was relieved after 5 innings, having allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk.  Chris Leroux took over and pitched the next two innings.  He gave up three singles but did not let a run score, and he was the pitcher of record when the Curve scored their 6, so he earned the win.  Michael Dubee began the top of the 8th with three consecutive singles, then got out of the mess with a strikeout and a double play.  He retired the side in order in the 9th.  

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Wins All Around For the Minor Affiliates, Including Taillon’s First

Bradenton Marauders  6,  Charlotte Stone Crabs  2
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Three 2-run innings gave the Marauders enough fire power to get past the Stone Crabs and salvage the last game of this 3-game series.  Starter Kyle McPherson earned his second win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, no walks, in 7 innings of work.  The 7 innings matched his two previous longest starts this season.  Both of the Stone Crabs’ runs came early in the game.  In the bottom of the 1st, a lead-off triple and an RBI ground out put the first run on the board.  A solo home run brought in the second run in the 2nd inning.  McPherson also gave up a double in the 1st, and a single in the 5th, and he hit one batter in the 3rd inning.  He finished strong by retiring the last 7 batters he faced, four of them on strikeouts.

The Marauders went into the 4th inning behind by a score of 2-0.  The only batter to reach base in the first three innings was SS Benji Gonzalez, who singled with two outs in the 3rd, but was picked off second base.  But the bats started booming in the 4th, beginning with a double into left field by RF Robbie Grossman and a triple by 2B Jarek Cunningham, scoring Grossman.  CF Evan Chambers’ ground out single drove in Cunningham to tie the game.

3B Kelson Brown singled and Benji Gonzalez walked in the 5th inning, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally.  Cunningham and Chambers opened the 6th with back-to-back singles, and a missed catch error by the Charlotte shortstop on a pick-off attempt let both runners move up a base.  A fielding error by the second baseman on the next play off the bat of 1B Aaron Baker allowed both Cunningham and Chambers to score.  The Marauders took a 4-2 lead. Baker added 2 more insurance runs in the 8th inning with a 2-run home run shot over the right field wall.  He brought in Grossman, who had reached base on a fielding error at third base.  
 
The Stone Crabs did not score again after the 2nd inning.  Diego Moreno relieved McPherson to begin the 8th inning, and he walked one, gave up a single, and struck out two, keeping Charlotte scoreless.  Ryan Beckman took the 9th, and he also pitched a scoreless inning, with one walk.  

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