A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract. Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010. He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH’ing. Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI. He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times. Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.
Two minor league pitchers have been released: RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston. Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010. Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 3
Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve. Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win. The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st. After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single. Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning. A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd. Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.
The Squirrels’ starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order. The first hit he gave up was a big one — a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte. The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.
The lead lasted only one inning. Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base — two walks and a single back to the mound. Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score. An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead. Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th. The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.
The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th. With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore. But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez’s line out ended the game.
The Indianapolis Indians were rained out on Monday night. They and the Durham Bulls will try for two on Tuesday. Tuesday’s first game is scheduled for 11:05 am, early for a Baseball In Education Day. That game is scheduled to be shown on the MLB network. (It’s absolutley pouring down rain now.)
The Marauders played a morning game to accommodate the school kids; the Curve and Power play in the evening.
Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Bradenton Marauders 1
A 4-run inning was enough for Palm Beach to secure the win this morning. Marauders’ starter Kyle McPherson had allowed just one hit over the first two innings, but with one out in the 3rd, he hit two successive batters with pitches. A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez allowed the next batter to reach base safely, loading them up. An RBI single drove in the runner from third, leaving the bags still full of Cardinals. Then a double lined into left field cleared the bases to give the Cardinals a 4-run inning. McPherson put Palm Beach down in order in the 4th and 5th innings, then gave up another run on a pair of doubles in the 6th. He finished with 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits, no walk, and 4 strikeouts in his 6 innings of work.
2B Jarek Cunningham led the Marauders’ batters with 2 hits, a single and a double, and 1B Aaron Baker drove in the only Marauders’ run. Bradenton missed a big chance in the 2nd inning, when both 3B Elevys Gonzalez and C Travis Scott walked, then LF Adalberto Santos’s infield single loaded the bases. But a strikeout and a pop out ended the threat with all three runners still in place. Cunningham began the 3rd inning rally with a double lined into left field. One out later, Baker lined a single into center field, and Cunningham raced around from second base to score the Marauders’ only run. The Marauders had another chance with the bases loaded in the 7th — DH Cole White walked, then Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers both singled, but a fly out ended that opportunity. Scott had the only other Bradenton hit, with a single to lead off the 4th.
Duke Welker pitched a quick 7th inning for the Marauders, getting three ground outs. Jason Erickson took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up two singles, then got a double play when the next batter lined out to Baker, who threw to SS Benji Gonzalez to double off the runner from second base. Erickson gave up one more single, but then ended the inning without a run scoring.
Sunday afternoon with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates…. the West Virginia Power were rained out in Charleston. They will try for two games with the Greensboro Grasshoppers on Monday, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 5
2B Brock Holt continued his hot hitting with two singles and a triple, as the Curve scored two runs in their last at-bat for the win. The game began with each team scoring 2 runs in the 1st inning. The SeaWolves began with a walk, a single, and a ground out, to put two runners into scoring position. A double lined into center field drove in both runners. Starter Aaron Thompson gave up another single, for runners on the corners, but he got out of the inning with a line out to third and a ground out.
Holt got the Curve rally started with a lead-off triple into right field. CF Starling Marte singled of the Erie third baseman’s glove and into left field, bringing in Holt. A balk moved Marte to second base, then he tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out. SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly plated Marte to tie the score at 2-2. A fielding error in center kept Mercer on the bases, but he was thrown out as he tried to get all the way to third base. The inning continued with 3B Jeremy Farrell hit by a pitch, then moving on to second with a stolen base and to third on a passed ball. DH Tony Sanchez was also hit by a pitch, but a ground out ended the inning with the two still standing on the corners. Two batters in a row being hit prompted the umpires to warn both benches.
The Curve took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then RF Brad Chalk replaced him at first with a grounder force out. Chalk stole second base, then scored on Marte’s RBI single into center field.
Thompson allowed only a one hit over the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a run in the 4th on a single, a stolen base, and a very wild pitch, as Erie tied the score at 3-3.
Fryer was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the 4th, and that resulted in both the Erie pitcher LJ Gagnier and the Erie manager Chris Cron to be ejected. Fryer was left on base as the new reliever Jared Gayhart retired the next three batters. But Gayheart began the 5th by hitting LF Quincy Latimore with a pitch (not sure why he wasn’t also ejected). Latimore was picked off first, though, and after a single by Mercer and a walk to Sanchez, Sanchez was also picked off first.
The Curve took the lead again in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham singled, moved to second on Fryer’s sacrifice bunt, on to third on a ground out, and scored on Holt’s single lined into right field.
Thompson finished with 6 innings of work, having allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He was relieved by Anthony Claggett to begin the 7th, with the Curve ahead 4-3. Claggett gave up two walks, but the first base runner was caught stealing, and the inning ended without a run scoring. Michael Dubee took the mound to begin the 8th inning. Dubee got a strike out, a ground out, and another strikeout — but strike three went wild, and the batter reached first base safely. Dubee walked the next batter, then a double scored both base runners, and Erie had a 5-4 lead, while Dubee had a Blown Save.
But the Curve batters rescued Dubee in the bottom of the frame. Sanchez walked to begin the rally, and was bunted to second. Chalk doubled, and Sanchez scored, then Holt singled for his third hit of the game, and combined with a throwing error by the shortstop on the relay throw, Chalk also scored, giving the Curve the lead again. Dubee pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Curve and Dubee had the win.
Altoona Curve 8, Erie SeaWolves 6
Two big innings gave the Curve enough runs to withstand a late-inning rally by the SeaWolves and take the win to open this series. The Curve got started with a two-out rally which scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 2nd. After a line out and a ground out, C Tony Sanchez and DH Kris Watts both walked. 1B Miles Durham and RF Brad Chalk then hit back-to-back doubles, with Durham driving in one run and Watts adding two. 2B Brock Holt reached base on a fielding error at shortstop, moving Chalk to third base. Chalk scored on a balk, giving the Curve a 4-0 lead. They added 3 more runs in the 5th, beginning with Holt’s lead-off single through the hole into right field. CF Starling Marte dropped down a sacrifice bunt to moved Holt to second base. Three consecutive singles, by LF Quincy Latimore, Mercer, and 3B Jeremy Farrell brought in one run (Mercer’s RBI). After a pitching change, Sanchez made it four straight singles with a liner into center field, scoring Latimore and Mercer. The Curve added one more insurance run in the 7t, on a single by Latimore and an RBI double by Mercer.
Aaron Pribanic made the start for the Curve and earned his second win of the season. He pitched 5 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and a walk. Two of the hits, a single and a double, came in the 3rd inning, and were followed by a bouncer back to the mound, which Pribanic returned to Sanchez, who tagged out the lead runner at the plate. Two more singles came in the 4th, and both of those runners were left on base. Brian Leach pitched the 6th and 7th innings and gave up a run in each. A walk and a triple plated the run in the 6th, and a walk, a single, and two ground outs brought in the run in the 7th. Tom Boleska began the 8th inning, and got into trouble right away. Two walks and a double loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly scored one run. After another walk, Boleska was relieved by Noah Krol. The first batter Krol faced doubled into left field for 2 runs, and a hit batter and an RBI ground out gave Erie the fourth run of the inning. Krol ended the rally with a strikeout, then retired the SeaWolves in order in the 9th to earn his 6th Save of the season.
Pirates’ lower minor league action for Thursday: the Curve had an early game, and the Marauders and the Power play in the evening
Harrisburg Senators 6, Altoona Curve 2
Matt McSwain made his AA debut today with the Curve, after being promoted from A+ Bradenton to fill the roster spot opened when Bryan Morris went on the DL (oblique strain). Unfortunately, it was not as happy a debut as McSwain and the Curve would have liked, as the Senators scored 4 runs over their last two at-bats to take the win.
Mike Colla made the start for the Curve, and retired the first 11 batters he faced in order. Then he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th.
The Curve batters were getting on base during those innings, but they weren’t scoring either. CF Starling Marte and RF Eric Fryer both singled, and 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Kris Watts both doubled, but all were left on base. LF Quincy Latimore put the Curve onto the scoreboard in the 6th, when he led off the inning with a solo home run over the left field wall. Then he gave the Curve their only other run with another solo home run (to left-center field) in the 8th.
McSwain came on in relief of Colla to begin the 5th. He retired the Senators in order in the 5th and 6th innings, then gave up a run in the 7th on a walk, a single, and an RBI double. With two runners in scoring position, McSwain ended the inning with a ground out and a fly out. He got into trouble again in the 8th, with a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI double, to bring in one run. The next batter, 1B Tyler Moore, homered for the second time in the game, adding another 2 runs. Colla was charged with his first loss of the season.