Stolen Bases Hurt Power; Alvarez Continues Rehab

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston.  The GCL Pirates have the day off.

Greensboro Grasshoppers  10,  West Virginia Power  2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon.   Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk.  The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single.  Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th.  Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order.  In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single.  There were three stolen bases in that inning.  Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored.  Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single.  The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.   

The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings.  Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.   1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base.  SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play.  2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off.  Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate.  DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.  

Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single.  The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th.  With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked.  White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score.  Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.  

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Rough Nights For Miller, Pounders

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:

GCL Pirates  3,  GCL Blue Jays 2   (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum.  After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play.  He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base. 
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning.  CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt.  1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa.   LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second.  A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.  

David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th.  He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single.  The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning.  3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases.  Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third.  RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate.  The Pirates were up 3-1.

Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez.   The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2.  Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game.  Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.

GCL Pirates  1,  GCL Blue Jays  0   (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work.  He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters.  In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play.  Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base. 

The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts.  2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play.  DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base.  Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded.  The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk.  He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind.  RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.  

Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.  

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Curve All-Stars Named; Alvarez Homers

Five Curve players have been named to the Eastern League /Western Division All-Star team.  RHP Aaron Pribanic, LHP Jeff Locke, 2B Brock Holt, 3B Jeremy Farrell, and OF Starling Marte.  Also, because the Curve won the Western Division last year, the Curve coaching staff will be coaching the division’s team :  manager PJ Forbes, pitching coach Wally Whitehurst, hitting coach Brandon Moore, and trainer Mike Zaino.  The game will be played on Wednesday July 13th at Manchester, NH (home of the Fisher Cats).  

Friday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates …. the GCL Pirates’ game was postponed.   

Bradenton Marauders  3,  Palm Beach Cardinals  2
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Rehabbing 3B Pedro Alvarez provided the firepower, while Brandon Cumpton earned his first win with the Marauders tonight.  The plan was for Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, to pitch for one inning to begin the game.  Beimel retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the 1st, with two strikeouts and a fly out.  He then gave way to Cumpton, who pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks.  Cumpton had two runners on base in only one inning, the 3rd, when two singles and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position.  Cumpton struck out the next batter to escape the jam.  

The Marauders put two runners on base in the 1st when both RF Robbie Grossman and Alvarez walked, then again put two on in the 2nd, on a single by DH Adalberto Santos and a walk to C Jairo Marquez.  2B Jarek Cunningham also singled in the 3rd, but none of those runners could make it around to score.  All of the Marauders’ runs came in the bottom of the 5th.  Marquez led off with a double lined into center field.  SS Benji Gonzalez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Marquez to third base.  Cunningham doubled into left field, and Marquez scored easily from third.  Then Alvarez blasted a 2-run homer over the left field wall to give the Marauders a 3-0 lead.  
Cumpton came back out to begin the top of the 8th.  He faced only two batters, though, giving up a single and a 2-run homer to bring the Cardinals within one run, 3-2.  Cumpton was relieved by Duke Welker, who ended the 8th with three ground outs.  

The Marauders would have liked an insurance run or two, but had only a walk by Grossman in the 7th, then a single by Cunningham and Santos reaching on catcher interference in the 8th.  It turned out to not matter, as Welker pitched a scoreless 9th to seal the win and earn his second save of the season.  

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Homers By Marte, Rodriguez, Cunningham, And Rojas

Catching up with the action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates for Thursday….  several home runs

Trenton Thunder 8 ,   Altoona Curve  6
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A 3-run homer by CF Starling Marte and a solo blast by SS Josh Rodriguez were not enough to get past the Thunder. 

The Curve got the game started with a run in the top of the 1st on singles by RF Andrew Lambo and C Tony Sanchez, plus a fielding error by the Trenton center fielder, allowing Lambo to score.  Trenton came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, two singles, and two doubles, for a 4-1 lead.  The Curve took the lead back in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Matt Curry and 3B Greg Picart both singled, and Marte drove them in with his 5th home run of the season.  That tied the game, but the tie did not last long.  Five singles in the bottom of the 2nd brought in 3 runs for the Thunder, who were back on top, 7-4.  

Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up a single in the 3rd, then gave up an unearned run in the 4th on a fielding error by Picart, a single, scoring on a double play. That made Pribanic responsible for 8 runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in his 5 innings of work.  Matt McSwain took over to begin the 6th.  He gave up a single in the 6th, but erased that runner with a double play, and then gave up a double and a walk in the 7th, but left those runners on base.  Anthony Claggett pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.  That runner moved up to second base on a throwing error by Rodriguez, but was out in a fielder’s choice run-down between second and third.  

Rodriguez led off the Curve part of the 6th with his solo homer.  LF Quincy Latimore followed the homer with a walk, and Curry singled, moving Latimore to third.  Curry was thrown out trying to steal second base, but Picart’s single drove in Latimore to give the Curve their final run.  

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Alvarez Starts With GCL Pirates

The Pirates have optioned SS Pedro Ciriaco to AAA Indianapolis.  This opens a roster spot for OF Alex Presley, who will be officially called up on Tuesday (the Pirates have a day off on Monday).  UPDATE:  Presley has officially been called up, and will join the Pirates in Toronto.

Also promoted:  pitcher Rinku Singh has been promoted from the GCL Pirates to State College.   Singh has pitched a total of 15 innings so far this season.  Eleven of those came on 3 appaearances with the DSL team.  He gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 strikeouts in the Dominican.  In one appearance last week with the GCL Pirates, Singh pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit, while striking out 5 batters.  Singh pitched in one game for the Spikes at the end of the 2010 season.  He went 2 innings in that game, and gave up only one hit, with one strikeout.  

Monday’s game action:

GCL Pirates  1,  GCL Phillies  0…. for 1.5 innings
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3B Pedro Alvarez made his first official rehab start this afternoon.  It didn’t last long, though that had nothing to do with him: the game was suspended due to rain after just 1.5 innings.  Alvarez was the Pirates’ lead-off batter.  He got one trip to the plate, in which he grounded out to second base.  CF Willy Garcia was the only batter on either team to reach base, when he blasted a solo homer in the top of the 2nd.  Pirates’ starter Luis Heredia pitched to just 3 batters in the bottom of the first — two strikeouts and a pop out to C Joey Schoenfeld.  

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