The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….
Greensboro Grasshoppers 5, West Virginia Power 0
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The Power were held to just one hit — a single by CF Mel Rojas, which came in the 5th inning. The only other Power base runner was SS Drew Maggi, who walked to lead off the 4th, but was quickly picked off first base. After Rojas’ two-out single in the 5th, the remaining 13 batters were retired in order. It took three Grasshopper pitchers to do it, and their starter, Kyle Winters, pitched 7 one-hit innings, with 7 strikeouts, including striking out the side in his final inning.
Greensboro did all the damage they needed in the bottom of the 1st. A pair of doubles started the inning, and after a fly out, a 2-run homer gave the ‘Hoppers a 3-0 lead. Tyler Waldron had only one batter reach base in the next two innings, and that was on a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris in the 3rd. That runner was erased with an inning-ending double play. Waldron gave up 2 more runs in the 4th. Two singles and a wild pitch put two runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly and an RBI single drove in the two runs.
Victor Black relieved Waldron and ptiched a scoreless inning, with two walks and two strikeouts. Then 19-year old Orlando Castro made his US debut with 3 scoreless innings of work. The Honduras native gave up a 2-out single in the 6th, and a lead-off single and a walk in the 7th. The lead-off runner was eliminated in a double play. Then he retired the side in the bottom of the 8th.
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.
Saturday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates.
Portland Sea Dogs 4, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 6 base runners — 3 singles and 3 walks, and could not push any of them around to score. SS Jordy Mercer was the only Curve to reach base in the first 5 innings. He walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but was out at second base when 1B Matt Curry flied out.
Starter Mike Colla retired Portland in order in the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run in the 3rd. He gave up another solo blast in the 4th, and struck out the other three batters in that inning. In the 5th, a lead-off double and an RBI single gave the Sea Dogs their third run in the 5th. Portland’s third homer of the game made it 4-0 in the 6th. Colla left after 6 innings, having allowed 7 hits (3 homers and 4 other hits), one walk, and 6 strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, with 58 strikes.
The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, with a walk by DH Kris Watts and singles by RF Brad Chalk and 2B Brock Holt loading the bases with one out. But CF Starling Marte bounced into a double play to end the inning. Mercer singled in the 7th, and he was also erased with a double play. Chalk walked in the 9th, but was left on base.
Matt McSwain pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Curve in relief of Colla. He gave up two singles, but one was eliminated with a double play, and the other was left stranded. Noah Krol pitched the top of the 9th, allowing a walk and a single.
Friday night’s action:
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 0
Three Curve pitchers combined to throw a 3-hit shutout of the Aeros. Starter Mike Colla had to work around runners on base in 5 of his 6 innings, but he held the Aeros scoreless and earned his second win. He scattered 3 hits, 2 walks, and one hit batter over those innings. The only inning in which Akron had 2 runners on base was the 3rd, when Colla walked two. Anthony Claggett also gave up two walks in the 8th, after a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, but he did not allow a hit or a run. Noah Krol picked up his 9th Save with three quick ground outs in the 9th.
The Curve posted 11 hits, but scored only two runs (8 runners left on base). In the bottom of the 1st, with two outs, LF Quincy Latimore looped a single into right field, then scored from first on SS Jordy Mercer’s ringing double into center field. C Tony Sanchez singled and DH Kris Watts doubled in the 2nd inning, but Sanchez was out at the plate on the throw in from left field. The Curve added an unearned run in the 3rd. 2B Brock Holt led off the inning with a strikeout, but he reached first when strike three was a wild pitch. Holt stole second base, then scored when the Akron center fielder made an error on Mercer’s ball.
The Curve put runners on base in each inning after that, but could not bring any of them around to score. Sanchez and 1B Miles Durham both singled in the 4th inning, and that was the only inning after the 3rd when the Curve had two runners on base. CF Starling Marte singled twice, Watts singled, and Mercer doubled again.
The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday….
West Virginia Power 9, Kannapolis Intimidators 8
Late inning rallies for a total of 7 runs gave the Power the win over Kannapolis. 1B Matt Curry got the scoring started with a solo home run to begin the bottom of the 2nd. That run was overwhelmed, though, when the Intimidators exploded for 6 runs in the top of the 3rd. Power starter Zack Von Rosenberg had allowed only one walk over the first two innings, but that fell apart in the 3rd inning. A single, a walk, and a triple brought in two runs. A sacrifice fly gave Von Rosenberg the first out of the inning, but it also scored the runner from third, for a 3-1 lead. Two more singles, another triple, and another single brought in 3 more runs, for a 6-1 lead, and sent Von Rosenberg to the showers. Zac Fuesser relieved Von Rosenberg, and Fuesser’s first move was to pick off the runner on first base and get him out in a run-down. A walk and a strikeout ended the inning.
The Power got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3B Eric Avila’s double and a fielding error on LF Dan Grovatt’s bouncer to short. Fuesser gave up a pair of walks and a single in the 4th, but a timely double play kept any runs from scoring. He also gave up a pair of singles in the 5th, but was aided by an outfield assist from Grovatt. Kannapolis scored again in the 6th, with a two-out ground-rule double and an RBI single. Two more doubles gave Kannapolis another run in the top of the 7th, for an 8-2 lead.
Then the Power burst out with 7 unanswered runs over their last two at-bats to take the lead and the win. With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a single into left field, and Avila drove him in with a triple. SS Drew Maggi’s ground out plated Avila. 2B Kevin Mort singled and pinch-hitter Rogelios Noris walked, but they did not score in that inning. The Power continued the surge right where they left off in the 8th. RF Justin Howard led off with a double and CF Mel Rojas was hit by a pitch. C Kawika Emsley-Pai loaded the bases with a walk. Marquez drove in Howard with a single grounded into right field, leaving the bases still loaded. Avila bounced to short, for a force out at second base, but Rojas scored the second run of the inning on the play. After an out, Mort singled, plating Emsley-Pai, then Noris tripled in both Avila and Mort, for the tying and go-ahead runs.
Zach Foster relieved Fuesser for the final two innings. Foster allowed a double and hit a batter with a pitch in the 8th, but two strikeouts left them stranded. He also walked a batter in the 9th, but got two more strikeouts to preserve the Power lead and earned his first win of the season.