Cunningham Homers Twice; Power Hold On For The Win

Monday evening’s games in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  2
(box)

The Curve were able to put runners on base but not push them across the plate tonight.  Starter Bryan Morris worked around a double in the 1st and a pair of walks in the 3rd to keep the Senators scoreless in the first three innings.  He got into trouble in the 4th, with a lead-off triple, followed by a walk and an RBI double.  A single drove in 2 more runs for a 3-0 Harrisburg lead.  The Curve had left CF Starling Marte stranded on third base in the 1st, after his single, stolen base, and a throwing error.  2B Brock Holt also singled in the 3rd and was left on base.  SS Jordy Mercer answered the Senators’ 3-run inning with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but LF Quincy Latimore singled in that inning, and he was also left stranded.  

Tim Alderson took over for Morris to begin the 5th inning, and he pitched 2 scoreless frames.  He loaded the bases in the 6th with a single and two hit batters, but ended the inning with a ground out.  Mike Colla allowed a triple in his scoreless 7th.  Then Noah Krol came on for the 8th, and gave up 3 more runs on a single, an RBI double, an RBI triple, and a wild pitch.  

The Curve put two runners on base in the 7th, when 1B Miles Durham singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell walked, but both were left on base.  Marte singled again in the 8th, and again could not come around to score.  The final Curve run scored in the 9th, when Durham tripled, then scored on Latimore’s sacrifice fly.  

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Rubinstein And Cunningham Homer In Bradenton Win

One win on Monday night in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:

Akron Aeros  6,  Altoona Curve  5
(box score)

CF Starling Marte had 3 hits for the Curve in their loss in Akron.  Starter Aaron Pribanic gave up only a double over the first 3 innings, then surrendered a solo homer in the 4th.  Akron scored 2 runs in the 5th, when rehabbing Cleveland Indians’ star Grady Sizemore doubled after two singles.  

The Curve had only one hit, a single by LF Quincy Latimore, in their first 5 innings, though they also had two batters reach on errors — 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd and C Tony Sanchez in the 4th.  Down 3-0 going into the top of the 6th, the Curve got going.  With one out, Marte beat out a bunt single, and SS Jordy Mercer walked.  Sanchez also beat out an infield single to third to load the bases, and 1B Miles Durham’s line drive into left field brought in Marte, leaving the bases loaded again.  Latimore plated Mercer with a sacrifice fly.  Then 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in Sanchez and Durham when he tripled into center field, giving the Curve a 4-3 lead.  

Tim Alderson relieved Pribanic to begin the 6th inning.  He gave up two singles in that inning, but kept the Aeros from scoring.  Akron also singled twice in the bottom of the 7th, including one by Sizemore, but this time, a throwing error by Holt on the force attempt let in one unearned run.  After a ground out, a double drove in two more runs, also unearned, and Akron had the lead back, 6-4.

The Curve added one more run in the 8th, when Latimore walked, then came around to score on Farrell’s double into right field.  Walks to DH Eric Fryer and RF Brad Chalk loaded the bases again, but the Curve could not capitalize, and all three were left stranded.  Tom Boleska finished the game for the Curve with a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th.  Alderson was charged with the loss, as well as a Blown Save.  

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2011 Prospect Watching: Stevenson, Cumpton, And Pals

Continuing our visit with some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:

Trent Stevenson —  Bats L / Throws R,  6′ 6″,  175 lb
The Pirates chose Stevenson in the 7th round of the 2009 draft.  The Scottsdale, AZ native reported to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career, and made 5 appearances (4 starts) there, allowing just 2 runs in 15 innings (1.20 ERA).  He began the 2010 season again with the GCL Pirates, but after one game, in which he allowed 2 run on two hits (one was a home run) with 3 strikeouts, Stevenson was promoted to State College.  Stevenson pitched entirely out of the bullpen for the Spikes, with 15 appearances for 40.2 total innings, usually going 2 -3 innings at a time.  He pitched 20 innings over 7 appearances in the end of June and through July, with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 22 hits and 10 runs, with 8 walks and 9 strikeouts.  The second half of the season was much the same, with 8 appearances for 20.2 innings and a 4.36 ERA.  In August and into September, he allowed 10 runs on 22 hits, with 7 walks and 14 strikeouts.  At age 20, Stevenson is still developing, and the Pirates are hoping to see more velocity from him, to keep his fastball consistently in the 90’s.  He also has a slider and a changeup, which will need more work.  He should be ready for West Virginia in 2011, though if the Power bullpen is too crowded, he could spend a little more time at State College.

Brandon Cumpton –  R/R,  6′ 2″,  198 lb
Cumpton was the Pirates’ 9th round pick in the 2010 draft.  He signed in July and got in 4 appearances with the GCL Pirates before the end of the season.  He pitched a total of 8 scoreless innings in his first, second, and fourth appearances, allowing one hit in the second and two hits in the fourth.  He also struck out 5 batters over the 3 innings of the second appearance.  The third appearance was a struggle, as he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2.2 innings, with 2 walks.  That gave him an overall 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings, and 6 total strikeouts.  Cumpton is still working on fastball command.  The 22-year-old will likely remain a reliever, and is also in the mix for a bullpen spot in West Virginia, though he too could go to State College.  

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Marauders Clinch Playoff Spot

On Friday night, all of the Pirates’ minor league affiliates lost.� On Saturday night, all but State College won….

Bradenton Marauders� 4,� Charlotte Stone Crabs� 2 …���� (box)

The Marauders assured themselves at least a spot in the playoffs with this win tonight.� Nate Adcock won his 11th game of the season with 2 runs allowed in 5.2 innings of work.� He gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st, with a 2-out walk, a wild pitch, and two singles.� He surrendered another run on a walk and a double to lead off the 3rd inning.� He scattered 4 more hits, but left two stranded and erased two with double plays.� In the top of the 6th, Adcock got two outs and gave up a single, then that runner stole both second and third base.� He was relieved by Kyle McPherson, who finished that inning with a strikeout, then gave up just one hit over the next 2 innings, including 3 more strikeouts.� Noah Krol earned his league-leading 34th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning, working around a missed catch error.

Bradenton picked up one run in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then moved to second base on a groundout.� 3B Adam Davis’ RBI single brought in Fryer.� The Marauders were on the receiving end of several walks over the next few innings — one in the 3rd to SS Shelby Ford, one in the 4th to Fryer, three in the 5th to DH Jordan Newton, 2B James Skelton, and RF Robbie Grossman to load the bases — but all were left on base.� They did score again in the 6th, when LF Quincy Latimore led off with a single.� He was forced out at second on Fryer’s grounder, leaving Fryer at first.� Davis singled again, advancing Fryer to third bse, then Newton doubled in both Fryer and Davis, to take a 3-2 lead.� They added an insurance run in the 4th.� Grossman singled with one out, then scored on CF Starling Marte’s double.� The Marauders threatened again in the 8th, as Davis was hit by a pitch and Newton walked, then Skelton bunted them both into scoring position.� A strikeout and a ground out ended the inning, but it turned out to not matter, and the Marauders season is going to continue beyond the weekend.

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Altoona Gets Paid Back; Alderson’s Unhappy Bradenton Return; Rojas’ Debut

As usual on Sunday, the GCL Pirates were off.� Everyone else played games scattered through the afternoon and evening.

Harrisburg Senators� 13, � Altoona Curve� 4 (box)

Paybacks are… well, you know, and today the Senators got revenge for the Curve having scored 10 runs in the 9th last night.� Harrisburg sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 8th and scored 8 runs, to give them a total of 13 runs in the game.

Justin Wilson made the start for the Curve, and pitched 6 innings.� He did well for the first 5 of those innings, allowing only one run, on a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning.� Wilson allowed only a walk and a single over the next three innings.� In the 6th, Wilson gave up back-to-back singles to open the inning, then a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly brought in one run.� A walk and a single drove in a second run.� Wilson allowed 8 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 5 batters.

The Curve scored one run in the 3rd inning, when RF Miles Durham reached base on a fielding error, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Wilson, and scored on SS Chase d’Arnaud’s double.� 1B Matt Hague added a solo home run in the 4th, to briefly give the Curve a 2-1 lead.

After the Senators took a 3-2 lead in the 6th, Corey Hamman, just returned to the Curve after a stint with AAA Indianapolis, took the mound for the 7th inning.� It was Hamman’s first game action in nearly three weeks, so it wasn’t a big surprise when Hamman gave up a lead-off single followed by a 2-run homer, to give Harrisburg a 5-2 lead.

Then the wheels fell off in the 8th inning.� Hamman gave up two singles, two walks, another single (with a fielding error), then got a fielding error.� Three runs had come in at that point, and after another walk to load the bases (again), Hamman was relieved by Dustin Molleken. Molleken got a strikeout, then gave up two singles and a double, driving in 5 more runs (3 of which were charged to Hamman), before he struck out the 12th batter of the inning to end the bleeding.

The Curve made a valiant effort in the top of the 9th.� Matt Hague walked, and 3B Jordy Mercer singled.� A wild pitch moved both up one base, so that Hague scored on LF Brandon Jones’ single.� Durham bounced back to the mound, and the Senators traded another run for two outs in a double play, as Mercer scored.� A fly out ended the game, with the Curve not even close to catching up.

Other Curve news:� The Pirates and Curve have suspended reliever Diego Moreno for a period of “5 to 7 days” for unprofessional behavior.� The problem occurred while in Altoona on the Curve’s most recent home stand.� Pirates’ farm director Kyle Stark also hinted that it’s possible that Moreno will be returned to the Bradenton Marauders after his suspension.� Moreno had a 3-0 record and a 1.37 ERA in 16 appearances for Bradenton, with 39 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.� Since being promoted to Altoona and working around a month on the DL, Moreno has made 7 appearances for the Curve, but has allowed 6 runs on 10 hits in 7.2 innings, with 12 strikeouts.

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