Bradenton Marauders 12, St. Lucie Mets 6
For the second time in three days, the Marauders put up a big first inning — and this one was even bigger than the 6-run inning two games ago. Bradenton sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 1st, scoring 10 runs. The fun began with back-to-back singles by RF Robbie Grossman and 2B Jarek Cunningham. CF Evan Chambers loaded the bases with a walk, and 1B Aaron Baker brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly (1). After a strikeout by DH Adalberto Santos, C Ramon Cabrera walked to load the bases again, then LF David Rubinstein lined a single into left field, bringing in Cunningham and Chambers (2,3). 3B Elevys Gonzalez and SS Benji Gonzalez lined back-to-back doubles into center field, with Elevys driving in Cabrera and Rubinstein (4,5), and Benji plating Elevys (6). That brought Grossman up again. He walked, then Cunningham drove in Benji and Grossman with a 3-run homer (7,8,9). Chambers walked again, and Baker lined a single into right field, and with the help of a throwing error that sent the ball into the stands, Chamber came in with the 10th run of the inning. Santos’ second strikeout of the inning ended the rally
The Mets tried to come back, but fell far short. Starter Nate Baker scattered 6 hits over 5.2 innings, and the only run he allowed came in the 5th, on a double and an RBI single. Baker walked one and struck out 2. With one on and two out in the top of the 6th, Duke Welker relieved Baker, finishing that inning with a strikeout. Welker gave up 2 runs in the 7th, on two lead-off walks, a balk, and an RBI ground out, then an RBI single. He also walked a batter in the 8th, and had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez, but a timely double play got Welker out of that jam. Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 9th inning, and he gave up back-to-back doubles and a 2-run homer, but even that was not enough for the Mets to catch up.
The Marauders added another run in the 4th inning on a pair of doubles by Rubinstein and Elevys Gonzalez. Cunningham hit his second homer of the game (6th of the season) in the 7th inning to give the Marauders their final run.
Pirates’ lower minor leaguers in action on Thursday:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 7, Altoona Curve 3
The Curve had a good start to their game, but lost their early lead in the 6th inning. LF Quincy Latimore drove in 2 runs in the top of the 1st. 2B Brock Holt and C Tony Sanchez had both walked, and with 2 outs, Latimore grounded to shortstop, where a throwing error let both runs score. Sanchez and Latimore both singled in the 3rd, with Latimore driving in Sanchez, who had moved up to second base on a ground out.
Curve starter Aaron Thompson allowed just 2 singles over the first 5 innings of the game. Things changed in the 6th inning, though. A single, a bunt, and another single gave the Squirrels runners on the corners. Thompson balked, allowing the runner from third to score. A stolen base and a walk put Squirrels on the corners again. This time, Thompson threw a wild pitch to let the runner from third score. Another walk and a single loaded the bases, and sent Thompson to the showers. Anthony Claggett came in from the bullpen to relieve Thompson. The first batter Claggett faced grounded to second, forcing out the runner coming from first base, as the runner from third scored. A walk loaded the bases again, and a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham let the fourth run of the inning score. Thompson was responsible for all 4 runs, 3 of which were earned.
Mike Colla took over for the 7th inning, when he gave up a lone single. Then in the bottom of the 8th, Colla gave up a walk and a single, and the lead runner scored when Sanchez made a throwing error on a steal attempt. Another walk and two singles drove in two more runs.
After the 3rd inning, the Curve could not push another run across the plate. They hurt themselves on base running plays, when Holt singled and was caught stealing in the 4th, and Sanchez walked and was caught stealing in the 5th. SS Jordy Mercer doubled in the 5th, and Durham singled in the 8th, but were left on base. Pinch hitter Kris Watts singled in the Curve’s last chance in the 9th, but he was left stranded when a ground out ended the game.
The Altoona Curve and the Richmond Flying Squirrels were rained out in Altoona tonight. They will make up the game in August.
West Virginia Power 8, Augusta 5
The Power scored in each of the first 4 innings to stay ahead of the Augusta Green Jackets on Saturday evening. 2B Drew Maggi got the game off to a good start with a double into right field. 1B Matt Curry walked, then with Maggi off and running, a ground out by 3B Eric Avila let Maggi score. RF Justin Howard drove in Curry with a single into center field. Augusta got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 1st with a triple and an RBI ground out off starter Tyler Waldron.
Back-to-back singles by DH Elias Diaz and C Kawika Emsley-Pai opened the top of the 2nd, and gave the Power runners on the corners. A passed ball let Diaz score. SS Gift Ngoepe walked, but was out in a grounder force out, as Maggi got to first in time to avoid the double play. Another grounder forced out Maggi at second, but CF Mel Rojas also beat out the throw to first, and Emsley-Pai scored. Augusta also scored one run in the bottom of the inning, on a bases-loaded RBI ground out.
The Power took a big step ahead in the 3rd. Avila led off with a double, and after two outs, four consecutive singles drove in 3 runs. Diaz plated Avila, and Emsley-Pai plated Diaz; Ngoepe’s single put two runners on, and Maggi’s single scored Emsley-Pai. Another single by Avila and a fielding error on a fly into center field by Howard gave the Power an unearned run in the 4th.
Augusta kept tacking on runs, but one at a time — a solo homer in the 4th, and a run on two singles and a sacrifice fly in the 5th. Waldron pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts. He was relieved by Zach Foster to begin the 6th. Foster pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings and hit one batter, who was promptly caught stealing by Emsley-Pai. Jason Townsend pitched the 9th and gave up the final Augusta run, on two singles, a passed ball, and an RBI ground out.
Waldron earned his second win of the season. Emsley-Pai went 3-for-4, with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Besides the singles in the 2nd and 3rd, he also singled in the 8th inning, but was left on base. Maggi, Avila, and Diaz all had 2 hits in the game.
Wins all around for the rest of the Pirates’ minor leaguers:
Altoona Curve 10, Erie Seawolves 7
Three home runs and a 4-run 2nd inning sparked the Curve to their second win of the season on Sunday afternoon. The scoring got started in the top of the 1st, when 2B opened the game with a single, moved to third on CF Starling Marte’s double, and scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s RBI ground out. The Curve made it 5-1 with 4 more runs in the 2nd. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, but was forced out at second on RF Jose Hernandez’s grounder, though they avoided the double play. Holt singled, then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position. Hernandez scored on Marte’s RBI ground out, Mercer drove in Holt with a double, and C Tony Sanchez followed with his first homer of the season, driving in Mercer as well.
The Curve tacked on another run in each of the next two innings. 3B Jeremy Farrell reached base on a throwing error in the 3rd, and scored on Hernandez’s double. Marte led off the 4th with a solo home run. They took a break for two innings, then Farrell added his 2-run homer in the 7th, bringing in Sanchez, who had singled. Altoona’s final run came in the top of the 9th, with a two-out double by LF Quincy Latimore, an intentional walk by Farrell, and an RBI single by Fryer.
Holt had 3 hits in the game, raising his average to .400. Marte (.375), Sanchez (.300), and Farrell (.313) each had 2 hits.
Jared Hughes made the start for the Curve. He pitched 4 innings, and allowed 3 runs. A double and a single gave Erie one run in the 2nd inning, then a walk, a double, and two ground outs scored two runs in the 3rd. Mike Colla relieved Hughes to begin the 5th. A hit batter and a triple gave the Sea Wolves one run in the 6th, but Colla kept Erie from scoring in his other two innings. Anthony Claggett pitched the 8th inning and gave up two home runs — a solo homer to open the inning, then a 2-run homer after a single. Noah Krol took the 9th, and loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a game-ending double play. Colla earned the win, and Krol earned the Save.
Continuing to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Colton Cain – L/L, 6′ 3″, 225 lb
Cain was the Pirates’ 8th round draft pick in 2009. He began his pro career in 2010, after having had back surgery in the previous winter. Cain began with 4 starts for the GCL Pirates, where he earned an 0-1 record and a 3.77 ERA. In 14.1 innings, he allowed 6 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks, but struck out 15 batters. He was promoted to State College in July, and appeared in 11 games (9 starts) there. Two of those starts were very tough, as Cain gave up 6 runs in 2 innings on August 2nd, and 6 runs in 3 innings on August 31st. The other 9 appearances were much better. His best was 4 shutout innings on August 20th, when he gave up no hits and just one walk, while striking out 3 batters. In those other 9 appearances, Cain allowed 7 runs over 29 innings (2.17 ERA), with 9 walks and 31 strikeouts. Cain, who just turned 20 years old, should be ready to begin 2011 at West Virginia. He’ll continue to work on fastball command, but also on his changeup.
Victor Black – R/R, 6′ 3″, 185 lb
Black was chosen by the Pirates as a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the 2009 draft. He signed quickly and got down to business at State College. In 13 appearances for the Spikes (7 starts), Black earned a 1-2 record and a 3.45 ERA. He allowed 12 earned runs and 26 hits in 31.1 innings. His walk rate was a bit high (15, 4.3 walks / 9 innings), but he also struck out 33 batters (15.4 K / 9 innings). A shoulder injury and subsequent biceps problem plagued Black in the 2010 season, and he was able to make just 2 appearances for West Virginia in May. Neither start was what Black would have hoped: he gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings in one, and 2 runs on a hit and 3 walks in 2/3 of an inning in the other. The 22-year-old Black is healthy and ready to go in spring training for 2011. He will likely be back to West Virginia, and the Pirates have indicated that they plan to have him pitch in relief, in hopes of limiting the stress on his arm.