Friday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
West Virginia Power 6, Lakewood BlueClaws 1 (completion of suspended game)
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This game was halted by rain last night in the top of the 5th. The Power had scored one run in the 3rd when C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, stole second, went to third on an error, and crossed the plate on a ground out. They rallied again in the 5th, beginning with a single by SS Drew Maggi. A throwing error on a pick-off attempt put Maggi on third base, and 2B Andy Vasquez brought in Maggi with an RBI single. Vasquez stole second, and later scored on 1B Justin Howard’s single. DH Chase Lyles walked just before the game was stopped. When play resumed today, CF Mel Rojas reached base on an error at second base, which also allowed Howard to score. That gave the Power a 4-0 lead.
Jameson Taillon’s start was unfortunately cut short by the suspension. He had pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and hitting one batter, both in the 2nd inning. Brooks Pounders took the mound on the restart, and he gave up Lakewood’s only run in the 6th. A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners. The next batter bounced into a double play, but the runner from third scored. Pounders gave up a double in the 7th, but did not let that runner score. He also struck out 3 batters.
The Power added more insurance in the top of the 7th. RF Dan Grovatt led off with a walk, and two wild pitches put him on third base. Lyles’ RBI single brought Grovatt across the plate. Rojas also singled, but was caught in a run-down between first and second bases. Another run scored in the top of the 9th, when Lyles reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on Rojas’ second single, then scored on the second error of the inning.
Victor Black pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a single in the 8th, but erased the runner on a double play, then gave up another single in the 9th, but kept Lakewood from scoring. Pounders earned his 5th win of the season.
Sunday action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
Portland Sea Dogs 12, Altoona Curve 4
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The Sea Dogs posted 17 hits on their way to 12 runs, scoring in three big innings. They began with 3 runs in the top of the 1st off Curve starter Aaron Pribanic, who suffered the loss. A walk, two singles, and two doubles brought in the runs in the 1st. Portland added a run in the 2nd on a single, two stolen bases, a fielding error, and an RBI ground out. Pribanic retired the side in order in the next two innings, but gave up one more run in the 5th on three singles. Pribanic gave up the 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts. He threw 90 pitches with 61 strikes.
The Curve were held to 6 hits, and three of them belonged to C Kris Watts, including a solo homer. SS Jordy Mercer had 2 hits, both solo home runs. CF Starling Marte’s double was the other run. Watts singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell was hit by a pitch in th 2nd inning, but both were left on base. Mercer put the Curve onto the scoreboard with his first home run in the 4th, and Watts also singled after the homer.
Aaron Thompson pitched a scoreless 6th inning for the Curve, then Donnie Veal, who was just promoted from the Marauders, pitched the 7th. Veal gave up a solo homer to lead off the 7th, then gave up a single and a 2-run homer, giving Portland an 8-1 lead. Things got even worse in the 8th, with Diego Moreno on the mound. a single, a double, and a walk loaded the bases, then a grand slam raised Portland’s lead to 12-1.
Mercer’s second home run came in the bottom of the 8th, after Marte’s double. Watts picked up his third hit in the bottom of the 9th, a solo home run, but that was all the Curve could get.
The Curve played an early game on Wednesday afternoon, with the Marauders and the Power playing in the evening:
Trenton Thunder 7, Altoona Curve 3
A 4-run 6th inning by the Thunder was too much for the Curve to overcome, in an early afternoon game in New Jersey. The Curve posted 11 hits, with Brad Chalk, playing center field today, collecting 3 hits. LF Quincy Latimore, 1B Matt Curry, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had 2 hits each.
Each team scored one run in the 1st inning. Chalk began the Curve rally with his first single, but was forced out at second on Latimore’s grounder force out at second. A throwing error by the second baseman on the play let Latimore reach second base. SS Jordy Mercer singled into right field, scoring Latimore. Two singles and a grounder force out gave the Thunder a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Latimore also double in the 3rd inning, but didn’t score. Curry began a rally in the top of the 4th when he worked a walk. Farrell singled, pushing Curry to third base, and a passed ball let Farrell move up to second base. DH Tony Sanchez’s RBI ground out scored Curry to give the Curve a 2-1 lead. Trenton tied it up again in the bottom of the 5th, with a single, a throwing error by starter Aaron Thompson, and a sacrifice fly.
Chalk singled again in the 5th, but was out in a force play. The Curve threatened in the top of the 6th. Curry, Farrell, and Sanchez hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. C Kris Watts grounded to first for a fielder’s choice as a throw back to the plate forced Curry out at home. A ground out ended the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Trenton got to Thompson again in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single gave Trenton a 3-2 lead. Matt McSwain relieved Thompson, but the first batter McSwain faced reached base on a fielding error by Curry. The next batter swatted a 3-run homer, giving Trenton a 6-2 lead.
The Curve got one run back in the top of the 7th. Chalk and Latimore hit back-to-back line drive singles with one out. Mercer popped up for an infield fly rule out, then Curry’s single through the hole and into left field brought Chalk in to score. That was all the Curve could get, though. Sanchez walked to begin the 8th inning, and was erased on a double play, and the next four Altoona batters went down in order.
McSwain gave up one more run in the bottom of the 7th, on a two-out triple and an RBI single. Thompson was charged with his 5th loss of the season.
The Pirates and all four of their minor league affiliates lost in Sunday’s play:
Hickory Crawdads 4, West Virginia Power 3
Jameson Taillon pitched well in his 5-inning start this afternoon. He surrendered one run on two hits, with no walks, and he struck out 4 batters. Taillon zipped through the first two innings, retiring the Crawdads in order. He gave up the only run in the 3rd inning, when the first Hickory batter of the inning homered. Taillon set down the next three batters, then gave up a ground-rule double to the first batter in the 4th. He retired three more batters in the 4th, then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. Taillon was on the short end, 1-0 when he left the game.
The Power put one runner on base in each of the first three innings — singles by CF Mel Rojas in the 1st and 3rd, and C Elias Diaz in the 2nd. Each time they were left on base. 2B/CF Andy Vasquez got as far as third base in the 5th inning, with a single, a stolen base, and a throwing error, but he too was left stranded.
Victor Black pitched a scoreless inning for the Power in the 6th, taking over for Taillon. It was only his second appearance this season, and his second scoreless and hitless inning.
Casey Sadler came on to pitch the 7th. He walked the first batter he faced, then got two outs. A single and a hit batter loaded the bases for Hickory. A ground-rule double brought in two runs, to give Hickory a 3-0 lead. The Power tied the score in the bottom of the frame. RF Justin Howard started the rally with a single up the middle. C Kawika Emsley-Pai walked, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Diaz lined a single in to right field, scoring both Howard and Emsley-Pai. 3B Eric Avila singled on a liner into left field, then a bunt by Vasquez again moved two runners into scoring position. SS Drew Maggi singled, driving in Diaz from third base. The rally ended when Avila was caught trying to steal home and Rojas struck out.
The tie did not last long. Sadler struck out the first two batters in the top of the 8th, then gave up a walk and a double, which brought the lead runner racing around from first to score, to give Hickory a 4-3 lead. Jason Townsend pitched the top of the 9th, giving up two singles, but no runs. RF Dan Grovatt led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, but he was the only Power batter to reach base in the final two innings.
The Curve had another morning game today. The Marauders and the Power play on Thursday evening.
Bowie Baysox 4, Altoona Curve 2
Starter Aaron Pribanic struggled in this morning’s game, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits and a walk, with only one strikeout in 5 innings. He suffered his second loss of the season as the Curve lost the series with Bowie, 3 games to 1.
Pribanic had trouble right from the start, when the first Baysox batter of the game tripled into right field. He scored on a sacrifice fly. The Curve got the run back in the bottom of the 2nd inning on C Tony Sanchez’s solo home run.
The Baysox struck again in the top of the 3rd, opening the inning with back-to-back singles. A grounder to first erased the second runner and left Baysox on the corners. The runner on first stole second, and when Sanchez’s throw sailed into center field, the runner on third scored on the error. A walk to former Pirate farmhand C Steve Lerud and a single loaded the bases. Pribanic then gave up an RBI single to bring in the lead runner. A double play ended the rally, and Bowie had a 3-1 lead.
Pribanic gave up a single in the 4th, but left that runner on base. The 5th inning began with a double into right field. Lerud followed with an RBI single, to boost Bowie’s lead to 4-1. Another double play helped Pribanic get out of the 5th.
After that, the Curve bullpen shut down the Baysox. Matt McSwain pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief, working around a single in the 6th and another in the 7th. He retired the side in order in the 8th. Noah Krol pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th.
Unfortunately, after scoring in the 2nd inning, the Curve batters were also shut down for most of the rest of the game. 2B Brock Holt had singled and stole second base in the 1st inning, then moved to third base on a throwing error by Lerud. Holt was left standing there on third base when the inning ended. SS Shelby Ford singled in the 5th but was erased in a double play. RF Jose Hernandez also singled in the 5th. CF Starling Marte led off the 6th with a double, and he also doubled in the 8th inning, but both times he was left stranded.
The Curve rallied again in the bottom of the 9th. DH Eric Fryer led off with a walk, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Fryer scored on a sacrifice fly. The game ended with a strikeout, before the rally could gain any more momentum.