The Curve played a (mostly) morning game today; the Marauders and the Power play in the evening.
Altoona Curve 13, Harrisburg Senators 2
The Curve had a great morning today, blasting away at the Senators with 13 runs on 18 hits. All but one of the starting lineup had at least one hit, and that one was not starting pitcher Jeff Locke. Locke singled twice and came around to score, doing his share, and reliever Anthony Claggett also had a hit. CF Starling Marte, SS Jordy Mercer, and 1B Miles Durham each had 3 hits, and two of Mercer’s hits were home runs. Mercer contributed 5 RBI, while Durham and RF Jose Hernandez each had 3 RBI.
The game actually began in Harrisburg’s favor. Marte doubled in the top of the 1st, then moved to third base on a wild pitch, but got no further. In the bottom of the inning, Locke began by hitting the lead-off man with a pitch, then gave up a single to give Harrisburg runners on the corners. An RBI ground out brought in the first run, then an RBI single added a second run. After another single, Locke finished the inning with a tapper back to the mound.
After that inning, it was all Altoona. Locke shut down the Senators, retiring the next 12 batters in order. He gave up a single and a double in the 6th, but left both runners in scoring position. Locke threw 79 pitches (57 strikes) in earning his second win of the season.
The Curve put their hitting shoes on in the 3rd. Locke and 2B Brock Holt led off with back-to-back singles. That chased the Senators’ starter, and brought in former Indy Indian and Curve Jimmy Barthmaier. Barthmaier got Marte to ground into a force out at second, but could not get the double play. Marte stole second base, then Mercer blatsed his first homer, a 3-run shot over the left field wall, to give the Curve a 3-2 lead.
Locke singled again in the 4th inning, though he was left on base. Marte singled to begin the 5th, and was moved to second on LF Quincy Latimore’s sacrifice bunt. Mercer singled, and Marte came around from second base to score. Mercer stole second, and he scored on C Eric Fryer’s double. Then Fryer scored on Durham’s 2-run homer for a 4-run inning, giving the Curve a 7-2 lead. Holt singled and came around to score on Latimore’s RBI single in the 6th.
The Curve put up another 4-run inning in the 7th. 3B Jeremy Farrell, the only Curve position player without a hit in the game, was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Fryer reached base on a fielding error. Durham doubled, driving in Farrell, then Hernandez’s 3-run homer gave the Curve a 12-2 lead. Mercer’s second home run, a solo homer, provided the Curve with their final run in the 8th.
Anthony Claggett relieved Locke in the 7th inning. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, then worked around a hit batter and a single in the 8th, to keep the Senators from scoring again. Tim Alderson finished the game for the Curve, with a perfect 9th inning.
Tuesday night’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
West Virginia Power 5, Charleston RiverDogs 1
Colton Cain took his second win of the season, allowing 3 hits and one run over 5 innings, with one walk and 3 strikeouts. Cain had some trouble in the 1st inning, when a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single drove in a run for Charleston. After a walk, Cain got the next batter to fly out to center, where a nice throw from CF Mel Rojas to 3B Eric Avila ended the inning. Cain retired the next 10 batters in order, then gave up a double in the 5th inning. He struck out two batters to end his evening’s work.
The Power batters gave Cain all the run support he needed in the top of the 2nd. With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a double into right field, then went to third base when C Elias Diaz reached base on a fielding error. Diaz stole second base, then LF Rogelios Noris singled into right field, plating Marquez. Noris advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield, which put him into position to score behind Diaz on Avila’s 2-RBI single. The Power added a run in the 3rd for a 4-1 lead. RF Dan Grovatt singled, then 1B Justin Howard’s double advanced Grovatt to third. Rojas picked up the RBI with a ground out, scoring Grovatt.
Kevin Decker relieved Cain to begin the 6th inning. He pitched 3 perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts. Brooks Pounders took the 9th inning and allowed only a single in his scoreless inning.
Charleston committed errors in both the 4th and the 5th innings, but the Power were not able to take advantage of those errors to score. The Power scored one more run in the 9th, when Marquez bed off with a single, and was bunted to second by Diaz. Noris’ ground out moved Diaz to third, and he scored on a wild pitch.
The Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 2
Three walks and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 9th gave the Senators a walk-off win against the Curve.
Altoona had scored first, on 3B Jeremy Farrell’s solo home run in the top of the 2nd inning. The Senators replied with a solo home run by 3B Tim Pahuta in the bottom of the inning. The Curve took the lead again in the top of the 4th, when LF Quincy Latimore singled, then Farrell picked up another RBI with his double into center field.
Mike Colla pitched 5 innings and struck out 5 batters in his start. He gave up that solo homer, plus two singles in the 1st inning. Colla walked two batters, and those were the only Harrisburg base runners over the last three innings of his outing. Tim Alderson struck out two batters in his scoreless 6th inning. Chris Leroux took the mound to begin the 7th inning. He was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up Pahuta’s second solo home run, tying the game at 2-2.
The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single. Latimore grounded into a force out at second, replacing Marte at first. A fielding error by Pahuta let SS Jordy Mercer reach base safely. Former Indy Indian Jimmy Barthmaier came on in relief for Harrisburg, and he got Farrell to bounce into a double play, ending the rally. Barthmaier gave up a double to 1B Miles Durham with one out in the 7th, then walked pinch hitter Kris Watts, before being relieved himself. A strikeout ended that threat without a run scoring.
Each team put a runner on base in the 8th — Mercer walked and stole second for the Curve, and the Senators had a single, and the runner moved to second on a wild pitch by Leroux — but neither one scored. The Curve went down in order in the top of the 9th. Noah Krol replaced Leroux to begin the bottom of the 9th. He walked the first batter he faced, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second base. Pahuta was intentionally walked, then the next batter was unintentionally walked to load the bases. A ground out to third looked like it might be a double play, but the 5-4-3 throw only got out the batter at first, while the runner going to second was safe. That allowed the runner from third to score, giving the Senators the win.
Bradenton Marauders 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
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.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss. The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez. Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd. LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out. Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.
Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks. A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.
Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits. Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd. Then things fell apart in the 3rd. The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass. The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored. Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout. But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0. The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single. A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base. Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third. Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double. Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out. Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th. He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.