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.
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.
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.
Wednesday evening with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 7, Hagerstown Suns 1…… suspended in the 2nd inning
Jameson Taillon made his pro debut tonight in West Virginia, but Mother Nature made it shorter than might have been planned. Taillon’s first pitch was a strike, and the first batter singled to short. He got a ground out, which moved the runner to second, then he walked the other phenom in the game — Suns’ RF Bryce Harper. A double lined to right field brought in the lead runner and put Harper on third base. Harper walked the next batter to load the bases, but a grounder to SS Drew Maggi started a double play, and Taillon was out of the inning, with only one run in.
Maggi began the bottom of the inning with a walk, and a passed ball put him on second base. 2B Gift Ngoepe reached base on a throwing error, giving the Power runners on the corners. DH Matt Curry’s single up the middle plated Maggi. 1B Justin Howard moved both the runners into scoring position with a grounder to second, and RF Dan Grovatt brought both in with a double lined into left field.
With rain falling, Taillon returned to the mound for the second inning. He gave up a lead-off single, then got two consecutive force outs at second base. A fly out ended that inning, giving Taillon one run on 3 hits and 2 walks over 2 innings, with no strikeouts.
The Power added to their lead with 4 more runs in the 2nd. LF Andy Vasquez and Maggi began the frame with back-to-back walks, and both scored on Curry’s double. Howard brought in Curry with a 2-run homer over the right field wall. The Suns brought in a new pitcher, who gave up a walk to Gravatt and a double to CF Mel Rojas. That’s when the rain got crazy, and the game was delayed, then suspended. The two teams will try to resume the game tomorrow at 6 pm, and that will be followed by a 7-inning game.