Fun with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates on Thursday night…
Altoona Curve 7, Erie SeaWolves 2
A big 6-run 6th inning gave the Curve the win over Erie, despite the SeaWolves out-hitting the Curve 15 – 6.
The Curve got onto the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. C Tony Sanchez reached base and got all the way to second on a throwing error by the Erie shortstop. A ground out by DH Kris Watts moved Sanchez to third, and a sacrifice fly by 1B Miles Durham brought Sanchez in to score.
Altoona starter Aaron Thompson gave up a single in both the 1st and 3rd innings, and both times erased the runners with a double play. He hit a batter and allowed two singles in the 2nd, but caught one runner stealing, and got out of the inning without a run scoring. The top of the 4th inning began with a lead-off homer to tie the score. After a fly out, Thompson gave up another solo homer, and Erie had a 2-1 lead.
After three hitless innings, the Curve erupted in the 6th, sending 10 batters to the plate. Holt started the rally with a double into right field. CF Starling Marte beat out a bunt for a single, moving Holt to third. LF Quincy Latimore lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Holt, and when the Erie center fielder’s throw back in went wild for an error, Marte moved to second base. That put Marte in position to score on SS Jordy Mercer’s single. 3B Jeremy Farrell and Watts both walked to load the bases, then Durham lined a single into left field, plating both Mercer and Farrell. A double by RF Brad Chalk scored Watts and Durham, and the Curve had a 7-2 lead.
Thompson was relieved after 5 innings, having allowed 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk. Chris Leroux took over and pitched the next two innings. He gave up three singles but did not let a run score, and he was the pitcher of record when the Curve scored their 6, so he earned the win. Michael Dubee began the top of the 8th with three consecutive singles, then got out of the mess with a strikeout and a double play. He retired the side in order in the 9th.
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.
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.
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.
The Indianapolis Indians and the Columbus Clippers were rained out in Columbus tonight. They will try for two on Monday, beginning at 5 pm. Sunday’s game is scheduled for 4 pm.
Infielder Pedro Ciriaco was optioned back to the Indians, after just a brief visit to Pittsburgh. The Pirates’ new shortstop Brandon Wood got himself to Pittsburgh very quickly, so no need for Ciriaco to fill in. Jose Ascanio, who was hit in the head by a line drive on Thursday, has been diagnosed as having “just” a contusion (a bruise). He’s doing better today.
Kannapolis Intimidators 8, West Virginia Power 7 (Game 1)
The Pirates were able to fight back after Kannapolis scored 6 runs in the 2nd inning, but 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th gave Kannapolis the win. The Power had the early lead with one run in the 1st and 2 more in the 2nd. CF Mel Rojas walked, and 1B Matt Curry singled. LF Rogelios Noris’ fly out moved Rojas to third, and then Rojas scored on RF Justin Howard’s single through the hole into left field. C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked to load the bases, but a ground out ended the inning without any more runs scoring. With one out in the top of the 2nd, back-to-back doubles by DH Jairo Marquez and SS Drew Maggi brought in one run, then a wild pitch and a fielding error allowed Maggi to score, giving the Power a 3-0 lead.
Starter Colton Cain had retired the Intimidators in order in the 1st, but got in trouble in the bottom of the 2nd, when the first 6 batters who came to the plate reached base safely. A single, a double, and a walk loaded the bases, then a hit batter forced in the first run. A double plated two more, and a single added another two. Another double made it 6 runs in the inning, and the Power were behind 6-3.
The Power battled right back in the top of the 3rd. Walks to Howard and 3B Andy Vasquez both walked, and Emsley-Pai was hit by a pitch to load the bases again for the Power. An RBI ground out drove in Howard, then Marquez’s single scored both Vasquez and Emsley-Pai to tie the score at 6-6. The Power took the lead in the 4th on Curry’s lead-off home run.
Trent Stevenson relieved Cain to begin the 3rd inning, and he pitched 3 scoreless innings. He allowed 3 hits and struck out one. The Power bats suddenly went quiet after the 4th, with no more hits until the 7th, when Howard tripled. Emsley-Pai and Marquez both walked, but two ground outs and a strikeout left all three on base. Jason Townsend pitched the 6th inning for the Power, allowing just one hit. Casey Sadler came on to pitch the 7th, and with one out, Sadler gave up three consecutive singles. The third hit went to Howard in right field, and Howard’s throw back to the plate was right to Emsley-Pai, who tagged out the lead runner at the plate. But the next batter doubled to tie the score again, and the fourth single of the inning drove in the winning walk-off run.