A few winter league games with Pirates’ players and friends…
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 4, Leones de Ponce 3 — Two runs in the 3rd and another 2 runs in the 6th gave Los Criollos the edge. SS Luis Figueroa singled and scored a run. 3B Ramon Vazquez drove in a run with a ground out.
Senadores de San Juan 5, Gigantes de Carolina 4 — A 5-run 6th inning pushed Los Senadores past Los Gigantes. That inning included a walk, a fielding error, two singles, and back-to-back triples. Los Gigantes scored a run in the 4th on an error and a single, then scored 3 more runs in the 5th on two doubles and a triple. Benji Gonzalez entered the game as a pinch-runner for Los Gigantes in the top of the 8th, but was doubled off second base. He remained in the game at second base for the bottom of the inning.
Leones del Caracas 5, Tigres de Aragua 2 — Ronald Uviedo earned the win with 5 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Los Tigres’ first run came in the 4th inning on a single, a double by 1B Hector Gimenez, and a sacrifice fly by LF Lastings Milledge. In the 5th, a pair of singles, including one by C Raul Chavez, plus another sacrifice fly, gave Aragua their second run. Los Leones scored 2 runs on three singles in the bottom of the 1st. In the 2nd, a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly brought in a third Caracas run. Two walks, two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave Los Leones two more runs in the 4th. LF Mike Ryan singled, but the runner from second base was out at the plate, on the throw in from Milledge to Chavez.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Tomateros de Culiacan 6, Algodoneros de Guasave 3 — Los Tomateros scored a pair of runs in three different innings, beating Guasave, who scored single runs in three different innings. SS/LF Luis Cruz led off the bottom of the 8th with a single for Los Tomateros, and he scored on a 2-run homer. DH Yurendell de Caster walked to lead off the 7th for Guasave, and he came around to score that inning’s run on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly. Los Tomateros are leading the 7-game series 2-0. In the other Mexican League series, Los Caneros de Los Mochis are leading Los Yaquis de Obregon 2 games to none.
Sydney Blue Sox 4, Adelaide Bite 3 — Bite starter Paul Mildren had some tough innings against the Blue Sox, and he suffered his 6th loss of the season. A throwing error, and an RBI single gave the Blue Sox their first run in the bottom of the 1st. Mildren gave up a walk and a pair of doubles, accounting for 2 runs, in the 2nd inning. He worked around runners on base in the next three innings, including leaving two runners in scoring position after a walk and a double in the 5th. He got into more trouble in the 6th, opening the inning with a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly, before being relieved. Overall, Mildren gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Bite were scoring a little, but not keeping up. They picked up one run on an exciting play in the 4th. 1B Todd Gossage drove a liner into right field, and scrambled around for a triple, and when the Blue Sox’ shortstop missed the catch on the throw in from right, Gossage was able to keep running, scoring on the error. Gossage doubled and came around to score in the 7th inning. Two singles and a fielding error gave the Bite one more run in the top of the 9th.
Cheering for Pirates’ players (the few who are left) and friends in the winter leagues……
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 6, Gigantes de Carolina 3 — Four runs in the bottom of the 8th gave the game to Los Leones. Two walks and four singles did the damage in that inning. Reliever RJ Rodriguez came on to pitch the top of the 9th for Ponce. He gave up a run on two singles and a sacrifice fly, though it was not enough for Los Gigantes to catch up.
Criollos de Caguas 7, Senadores de San Juan 3 — A 5-run 3rd inning made the difference for Los Criollos. Two singles put runners on the corners, then SS Luis Figueroa drove in the first run with an RBI single. A triple and a homer added two runs each. 3B Ramon Vazquez walked to begin the Caguas half of the 4th, and two more walks loaded the bases. Figueroa brought in Vazquez with a sacrifice fly. Vazquez also contributed an RBI single in the 5th. Los Senadores posted 13 runs, but left 12 runners on base.
The four teams involved in the Puerto Rican League playoffs are not far apart after one week of the round robin playoff tournament. Ponce is in first place, with a 4-2 record. Caguas and San Juan are tied for second with 3-3 records. Carolina is last, with a 2-4 record.
The two top teams in this round robin tournament did not play today — Los Caribes and Los Leones de Caracas are both tied with 4-1 records. Los Tigres de Aragua has a 3-3 record, Los Aguilas de Zulia are 2-4, and Los Bravos de Margarita won their first playoff game tonight, giving them a 1-4 record.
Bravos de Margarita 1, Aguilas de Zulia 0 — Jean Machi pitched a scoreless 8th inning for Los Bravos, allowing a single, but then erasing that runner in a double play. The game’s only run came in the bottom of the 7th, on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a RBI single.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Caribes de Anzoategui 0 — Aragua starter Seth Etherton (Dodgers) held Los Caribes to 3 hits and no walks over 8 shutout innings, with 6 strikeouts for the win. New Blue Jay Wil Ledezma finished the game with a scoreless 9th, working around a lead-off single. Los Tigres hitters packed in 16 hits, and started their scoring with 2 runs in the 1st. LF Lastings Milledge had a single in that inning. Milledge singled in two runs in the 6th, following another single and 1B Hector Gimenez being hit by a pitch. Gimenez added a 3-run homer in the 7th. After the homer, Milledge walked, CF Jorge Cortes singled, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Another single up the middle brought in Milledge, but Cortes was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score from second base.
Another minor league free agent signed: Pitcher Neal Cotts signed with the Yankees.
Looking in on some of the Pirates’ players and friends in Thursday’s winter league action.. the Dominican League has the night off, and there were some games postponed in Venezuela.
Leones del Caracas 9, Aguilas de Zulia 5 – A 4-run 8th inning made the difference for Los Leones. Jose Ascanio pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th for Caracas. He gave up a walk and a single with one out, but then got a double play to get out of the inning.
Cardenales de Lara 3, Tigres de Aragua 0 — LF Lastings Milledge, 1B Hector Gimenez, and C Raul Chavez each posted a single for Los Tigres, but none could come around to score. Both Milledge and Gimenez had their singles in the 4th, after a walk. The lead runner tried to score from second on Milledge’s single, but Lara CF Ray Sadler’s throw to the plate was right on targer, and the runner was out at home. Sadler went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Indios de Mayaguez 1 (Game 1) — Los Indios scored a run with a lead-off triple and a single in the top of the 1st, then did not score again for the rest of the game, despite out-hitting Los Criollos 8-5. 3B Ramon Vazquez started a rally for Los Criollos with a 2-out walk in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles brought him around to score and tie the game at 1-1. A walk, a throwing error, and an RBI double gave Caguas the go-ahead run in the 5th. SS Luis Figueroa was hitless in 3 trips to the plate.
Criollos 2, Indios 1 (Game 2) — Yes, same score in the night-cap. Three Caguas pitchers combined for a one-hitter. Los Indios scored their run in the 5th, beginning with a walk and ending with a sacrifice fly. Los Criollos scored one run in each of the 3rd and 4th innings. Neither Figueroa nor Vazquez got into this game.
Leones de Ponce 2, Senadores de San Juan 1 — Really, same score again. RJ Rodriguez earned his 10th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning for Ponce. He walked the first batter, then retired the next three to end the game.
Southpaw Donnie Veal will likely be back in Indianapolis in 2011. He has signed a minor league contract with the Pirates today, and has also been invited to the big league camp for Spring Training. After struggling through his mandatory year on the Pirates’ major league roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2009, Veal was assigned to the AAA Indians to begin 2010. He made 9 starts for the Indians, with a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA over 49.2 innings before being shut down due to elbow issues. Veal had Tommy John surgery in early June, and is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.
The signing of 1B Lyle Overbay is going to make things more difficult for the likes of Steve Pearce and Jeff Clement. Both are working their way back from knee problems. Pearce was granted one more option year because of his injuries last season.
Other news of minor league contracts signed: Former Pirate Denny Bautista has signed with the Mariners. INF Doug Bernier, who spent 2010 with the Indy Indians, signed with the Yankees. P Vinnie Chulk signed with the A’s. Former Pirate P Jonah Bayliss signed with the Rays. INF/OF Jonathan Van Every signed with the Nationals.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league games:
Caribes de Anzoategui 4, Bravos de Margarita 0 — Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits, along with 2 walks. The first 13 Margarita batters went down in order before the first base runner reached on a walk. They had 2 runners on base in both the 6th and 8th innings, but could not get them around to score. Los Caribes scored one run in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, then one more in the 7th. In the 4th, LF Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch, then scored on an RBI double.
Tigres del Aragua 3, Cardenales de Lara 1 — A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th by C Wilson Ramos broke the 1-1 tie for Los Tigres. The homer came off Lara reliever Romulo Sanchez, who was charged with his second loss of the season. Each team scored a run in the 2nd inning. Los Cardenales’ rally was started with a single by former Pirate farmhand CF Ray Sadler, then another single and two walks forced in a run. Ramos doubled to lead off the bottom of the 2nd for Los Tigres. He scored on a single by 1B Hector Gimenez and a sacrifice fly. Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but there was only one base runner for either team over the next four innings — that was DH Lastings Milledge, who doubled in the 9th.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league action:
Tigres de Aragua 12, Tiburones de La Guaira 2 — Los Tigres posted 12 runs on 12 hits, including a 4-run 6th inning and a 6-run 7th inning. They began their scoring with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. Then LF Lastings Milledge added another 2-run homer following 1B Hector Gimenez’s walk to lead off the 6th. CF Jorge Cortes walked moments later, and a single and an intentional walk loaded the bases, and two runs came in on a double. The 7th inning rally got started with four singles (one by Cortes) and three doubles, and along with an RBI ground out by Gimenez, 6 runs crossed the plate. Los Tiburones scored one run in the 5th and one in the 9th. Milledge and Gimenez each walked once, and Cortes walked twice.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Bravos de Margarita 3 — DH Jose Tabata scored twice as Los Caribes scored in 4 consecutive innings. A 2-run homer scored in the 2nd. A walk by Tabata and three singles added two runs in the 3rd, and a double and a single plated one run in the 4th. Tabata led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo homer, and a single and a pair of doubles brought in two more runs in that inning.
Leones del Caracas 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 6 — This one took 11 innings, with Los Leones manufacturing the winning run in the bottom of the 11th. The lead-off batter singled, and a bunt moved him to second. A single by SS Asdrubal Cabrera nearly won the game, but the runner was tagged out at the plate. Then CF Josh Kroeger lined a single up the middle, and this time the throw to the plate was not in time. LF Mike Ryan led off the 4th inning with a triple for Los Navegantes, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Corey Hamman pitched to one batter (Kroeger) in the 7th and got a fly out, but his wild pitch allowed Cabrera to score from third base to tie the score at 5-5. Each team scored a run in the 9th. Jose Ascanio pitched the top of the 9th for Los Leones, and he gave up a run on a double, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly, giving Caracas the lead again. Jean Machi pitched 2 innings of relief. He gave up the homer to Kroeger in the bottom of the 9th, which sent the game in to extras with a 6-6 tie, then retired the side in order in the 10th.