Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….
Harrisburg Senators 3, Altoona Curve 1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games. Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings. The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings. The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base. Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer. He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.
The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings. They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down. Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning. Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play. Farrell scored on the error. CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.
Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th. He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single. An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run. Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.
Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.
Two Pirates’ minor leaguers have been chosen to play in the MLB Futures game, which is held during the All-Star festivities. OF Starling Marte will be on the World team, and INF Chase d’Arnaud was named to the USA team — though that might change if d’Arnaud is indeed called up to Pittsburgh.
The State College Spikes’ game against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed due to rain. They will go for two on Friday night, beginning at 6:05 pm.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Altoona Curve 0
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This shortened game was a pitching duel, with the two teams combining for just 7 hits. Kyle McPherson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits. Two of those hits were solo homers, both coming in the 4th inning, and that accounted for all of the Fisher Cats’ scoring. The only other ‘Cats’ hit was a single to lead off the 1st inning, and that runner was picked off base. McPherson walked two batters, one in the 1st, and former Indy Indian Craig Stansberry in the 5th. Stansberry was caught stealing second base. Anthony Claggett pitched the bottom of the 6th, walking one and hitting one batter with a pitch.
The Curve batters collected 4 hits. CF Starling Marte led off the top of the 1st with a double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve. SS Jordy Mercer singled, and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But new Curve player RF Andrew Lambo lined right to the ‘Cats’ first baseman, who doubled off Sanchez for a double play. The other 2 hits happened in the 4th. Sanchez led off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing. 3B Jeremy Farrell also singled, but was left on base. There were only 2 more base runners for the Curve for the rest of the game — Sanchez walked in the 6th and 1B Matt Curry walked in the 7th, and both were left on base.
This was scheduled to be Game 1 of a double-header, and so was scheduled for 7 innings. But this game was also interrupted by rain, and the second game was washed out. The Curve move on to Harrisburg to begin a series tomorrow. They will play New Hampshire again in mid-August, and will have to do the make-up then.
Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park. The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday.
Altoona Curve 4, Harrisburg Senators 1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win. Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He scored on Norman’s single. The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run. With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field. When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score. Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.
With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single. Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base. C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.
Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings. He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th. He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning. Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning. He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th. A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run. Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score. Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save.
The Indianapolis Indians’ game in Rochester was postponed today — because the Indians were not there! The team was supposed to fly to Rochester this morning, but due to mechanical problems, their flight was delayed. There were not any other flights available to get the team to Rochester in time for the game. The Indians and the Red Wings will play two games on Saturday, the first at 1 pm, and the second at 7 pm. Both will be 9-inning games.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: 3B Dan Gamache from Auburn U. and OF Taylor Lewis from University of Maine- Orono. My guess is that they will be heading to State College, but no definite word yet.
The State College Spikes begin their season tomorrow, on the road at Williamsport. The GCL Pirates will begin their 2011 season on Monday.
Don’t forget to vote for the All-Stars:
Eastern League All-Star Voting is here
AAA (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) All-Star Voting is here
Altoona Curve 3, New Britain Rock Cats 1
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Kyle McPherson allowed the New Britain a solo home run in the top of the 1st, and then he and the bullpen shut the Rock Cats down for the rest of the game. McPherson pitched 6 innings and scattered 3 more runs and a walk over the remaining 5 innings for his first win at the AA level. Two singles came in the 3rd, but McPherson left runners on the corners. He left two runners in scoring position in the 6th after a walk and a single. McPherson also struck out 4 batters.
The Curve came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. LF Anthony Norman led off with a single lined into right field, and 2B Brock Holt followed with a grounder into right for a second single, moving Norman to third base. Norman scored on a ground out by SS Jordy Mercer. Holt came in on CF Quincy Latimore’s RBI single, to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order over the next three innings. They added an insurance run in the 5th, when C Tony Sanchez and DH Jose Hernandez hit back-to-back singles. Sanchez moved to third base on Hernandez’s hit, then scored on RF Brad Chalk’s sacrifice fly. 1B Matt Curry blasted a triple into right field in the 7th inning, but he was left on base. The Curve threatened again in the 8th, when Chalk and Norman both singled, and Holt walked. They left the bases loaded, though, when a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Matt McSwain pitched two perfect innings in relief after McPherson was done for the evening. Anthony Claggett, who was moved back to the Curve when Jose Ascanio was assigned to Indianapolis, pitched the 9th inning. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by Norman in left. After two fly outs, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases. But Claggett got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.
The Indianapolis Indians have a scheduled day off today (Wednesday). A few bits of news for an off-day:
P Jose Ascanio and C Wyatt Toregas have cleared waivers and both will be assigned to the Indians. Anthony Claggett was returned to the Altoona Curve.
The Pirates have signed four of their recent draft picks:
SS Brian Sharp (24th round) from California Baptist University
SS Kirk Singer (29th round) from Long Beach State
RHP Matt Benedict (30th round) from Western Carolina University
C Derek Trent (31st round) from East Tennessee State
Here’s the list of all the draft picks, which will be updated with the signings as they occur.
Sharp, Singer, and Trent are listed on the State College roster. The State College Spikes begin their season on Friday.
The Pirates also signed LHP Robbie Kilcrease, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech. The redshirt junior made 12 starts this year for Texas Tech. He had a total of 63.1 innings, with a 5.97 ERA.
On to Wednesday evening’s action:
West Virginia Power 3, Greensboro Grasshoppers 0
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The Power did all the scoring they needed in their first at-bats, as three Power pitchers combined for a shutout. With one out in the top of the 1st, 2B Andy Vasquez lined a single into center field, then stole second base. He scored on RF Dan Grovatt’s double lined into right field. Grovatt stole third base, and he scored on 1B Justin Howard’s RBI ground out. CF Mel Rojas added one more insurance run for the Power in the 4th inning with a solo home run.
After the homer, the Power lost some of their power. They managed only 3 hits over the rest of the game — a single by Rojas in the 6th, a double by DH Jairo Marquez in the 7th, and a single by 3B Eric Avila in the 9th.
Brandon Cumpton worked around a walk and a single in the bottom of the 1st, then gave up two more singles in the 3rd, but got out of that jam too, partly due to a double play. Cumpton also gave up lone singles in the 4th and 5th, but still did not let the runners come around to score. He began the 6th with a walk and a double play, then loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter, and a walk. Kevin Decker came on in relief of Cumpton, and Decker ended the inning with a fly out, still not letting a run score.
Decker pitched 2 more scoreless innings, though he gave up a walk and two singles in the 7th, and another single in the 8th. Jason Townsend pitched the 9th, also giving up a walk and erasing the runner with a double play. Cumpton earned his 7th win of the season, and Townsend earned his 6th Save.