Losses All Around

Losses for all of the Pirates’ affiliates on Friday night:

Reading Phillies� 9,� Altoona Curve� 4 …������� (box)

The R-Phils attacked Curve starter Jared Hughes early, and the Curve bats could not keep up.� Hughes retired the side in order in the 1st inning, but gave up 3 unearned runs on a walk, a single, and two errors in the 2nd inning — the throwing error was by Hughes.� A walk, a double, and a single added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning.� In the 4th inning, Hughes gave up another 3 runs on two singles, a triple, and a double by former Indy Indian Tagg Bozied.� Hughes was done after those 4 innings, having allowed 8 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks, though he struck out 6 batters.

The Curve hitters were hitless in the first 4 innings.� The only batter to get on base was CF Anthony Norman, who reached in the 3rd on Bozied’s fielding error at first.� Two home runs, one by C Kris Watts in the 5th, and one by 2B Chase d’Arnaud in the 6th, got the Indians onto the scoreboard, but they were still trailing 8-2.

Each team scored in the 7th.� Tom Boleska had relieved Hughes to begin the 5th inning, and he retired the first 7 batters he faced in order.� Then in the 7th, he walked Bozied, then gave up a single and a double, allowing Bozied to score.� In the bottom of the frame, 1B Matt Hague led off with a single, then scored on singles by Watts and Norman, to make it 9-3.� The Curve added one more run in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Jordy Mercer, Hague, and RF Miles Durham led off the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases.� Watts’ sacrifice fly plated Mercer, but two ground outs ended the inning without any further scoring.� Bryan Morris pitched two perfect innings to wrap it up for the Curve.

The Curve have won the Eastern League’s Western Division title, and will begin the first round of playoffs on Wednesday.� None of the other playoff slots have been settled yet.� The Bowie Baysox and the Harrisburg Senators are tied for second place in the Western Division.� The Trenton Thunder are in first place in the Eastern Division, with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2.5 games behind, with 3 games left to play.

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Curve Shut Out; Power Over-powering

Monday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates….

Bowie Baysox� 2,� Altoona Curve� 0 ..� (box)

The Curve out-hit the Baysox 7-5, but were still shutout in Bowie.� 3B Josh Harrison and RF Miles Durham each had two hits, including a double for Harrison, while 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 1B Matt Hague, and LF Jim Negrych had one hit each.� Harrison’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Curve.� In addition, Negrych walked three times, and two Curve batters, C Kris Watts and pinch-hitter Jose De Los Santos, were hit by pitches.� That all adds up to 10 Curve batters left on base.

The Curve had two runners on in the 3rd inning, when d’Arnaud singled and Harrison doubled, sending d’Arnaud to third with two outs.� A strikeout ended that inning.� Two Curve were on base in the 4th also, when Negrych walked for the second time and Durham singled, but Negrych was picked off second base.� In the 8th, Hague singled and Negrych walked for the third time, but again a strikeout ended the inning.� The Curve’s best chance at scoring came in the 7th inning, when they loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Negrych and Durham, and then Watts was hit by a pitch.� A strikeout and a fly out ended that inning with all three runners still on base.

Justin Wilson suffered the loss.� He threw 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts.� Bowie scored their first run in the bottom of the 1st without needing a hit:� a walk, a ground out, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly.� A single and a double brought in their second run in the 3rd.� Mike Colla pitched the last 3 innings for the Curve.� He gave up only one hit, a double in the 7th, and retired the other 9 batters he faced, including 3 strikeouts.

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Marauders Blast Cardinals, Power Split DoubleHeader

A little lighter schedule in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues tonight — the Altoona Curve and the State College Spikes both had scheduled days off.

The Pirates have signed their top two draft picks, righty pitchers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, just a few hours before the midnight deadline.� That makes 27 of 50 draft picks signed.� Check out the complete list here.

Bradenton Marauders� 9,� Palm Beach Cardinals� 1 (box)

The Marauders posted 12 hits and scored in each of their last three at-bats as they bombarded the Cardinals.� 3B Jeremy Farrell led the charge with 3 hits, while SS Shelby Ford and C Eric Fryer had 2 hits and 2 RBI each.

Starter Brian Leach earned his 6th win of the season with 5 innings of work, in which he allowed only one unearned run, on 6 hits and a walk, while striking out 5 batters.� He worked around a hit in each of the first two innings, and then got out of a small jam after two singles in the 4th by striking out the next 2 batters.� The 5th inning began with a batter reaching on a fielding error by Farrell.� A single and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases.� Leach’s only walk of the game forced in the unearned run.

The Marauders also picked up an unearned run, which came in the 3rd.� 2B Adam Davis doubled, then scored when DH James Skelton’s bunt was complicated by a throwing error on the Cardinals’ pitcher.� They scored again (earned this time) in the next inning, when LF Quincy Latimore led off with a walk, followed by Farrell’s ground rule double and Fryer’s RBI single.

The Marauders broke the game open with 4 runs in the 6th. Latimore again led off with a walk, and Farrell singled.� Fryer moved them up a base each with a sacrifice bunt.� 1B Calvin Anderson singled, scoring both Latimore and Farrell.� Davis walked, then a throwing error laoded the bases again.� This time it was Ford’s single which brought in two runs, Anderson and Davis, and the Marauders had a 6-1 lead.

Latimore led off an inning with a walk for the third time in the 7th inning.� That was followed by singles from both Farrell and Fryer, driving in Latimore with the Marauders’ 7th run.� In the 8th, Skelton had a turn at leading off an inning with a walk.� Ford singled, but he was out at second on RF Robbie Grossman’s grounder force out.� Back-to-back doubles by CF Starling Marte and Latimore brought in Skelton and Grossman, though Marte was out at the plate trying to score on Latimore’s double.

Duke Welker pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings for the Marauders, allowing just 2 walks.� Craig Hansen also went 2 innings, with a hit batter in the 8th, and a single in the 9th.� The single was followed by a game-ending double play.

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Three Spikes Are All-Stars; Two Out 9th Inning Rally Gives Power The Win

News and action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Sunday.� The GCL Pirates and the Bradenton Marauders had scheduled days off today.

Three members of the State College Spikes have been named to the National League squad for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, which will be played on August 17th at the home of the Staten Island Yankees.� IF Matt Curry, the Pirates’ 16th round pick in the 2010 draft, has a .331 batting average, with 3 homers and 19 RBI.�� OF Adalberto Santos was the Pirates’ 22nd round pick in this year’s draft.� He is hitting .313 with 2 homers and 29 RBI, and is tied for second in the league with 37 runs scored.� Reliever Jhonathan Ramos has a 3-1 record and one save, with a 1.54 ERA.� He leads the league in lowest number of baserunners allowed at 6.56/9 innings.� Opposing batters are hitting just .169 against him.

Tri-City Valley Cats� 4,� State College Spikes� 1 (box)

Tri-City took the early lead and never gave it up in this evening’s game.� CF Mel Rojas and 2B Gift Ngoepe led the Spikes with 2 hits each, but the team managed only one run.� Starter Zach Fuesser got into trouble right away in his 5th start for the Spikes.� Two singles, a stolen base, and a 2-RBI single gave Tri-City 2 runs in the top of the 1st.� They added another run in the 2nd on a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.� After a single, a wild pitch, a balk, and a walk in the 4th, Fuesser was relieved by Ryan Beckman, who finished the inning.� Beckman also gave up a walk and a wild pitch in the 5th, but kept Tri-City from scoring in that inning, but he surrendered a run on a single and a double in the 6th.

The Spikes had only one base runner over the first 3 innings, when Rojas walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st.� RF Adalberto Santos singled and stole second base in the 4th, and both C Miguel Mendez and DH Cole White singled with two outs in the 5th, but they were all left on base.� Ngoepe bounced a ground-rule double over the center field wall to begin the 6th, and Santos walked, but three strikeouts left both of them stranded also.� The Spikes scored their only run in the 7th.� 3B Kelson Brown led off with a double, and he scored on Rojas’ single.� Ngoepe also singled, and Santos walked, loading the bases with two outs.� A grounder ended the inning, though, and the Spikes were held to just that one run.� They threatened again in the 9th, when White walked and Rojas singled, but could not push the runner across the plate.

Mitch Fienemann pitched the last 3 innings for the Spikes, and allowed only one hit, while striking out 3 batters.

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Big First Inning For Curve; Power Win In Extras

Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:

Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)

The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.

Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.

Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.

The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.

That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.

Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.

Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.

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