Curve All-Stars Named; Alvarez Homers

Five Curve players have been named to the Eastern League /Western Division All-Star team.  RHP Aaron Pribanic, LHP Jeff Locke, 2B Brock Holt, 3B Jeremy Farrell, and OF Starling Marte.  Also, because the Curve won the Western Division last year, the Curve coaching staff will be coaching the division’s team :  manager PJ Forbes, pitching coach Wally Whitehurst, hitting coach Brandon Moore, and trainer Mike Zaino.  The game will be played on Wednesday July 13th at Manchester, NH (home of the Fisher Cats).  

Friday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates …. the GCL Pirates’ game was postponed.   

Bradenton Marauders  3,  Palm Beach Cardinals  2
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Rehabbing 3B Pedro Alvarez provided the firepower, while Brandon Cumpton earned his first win with the Marauders tonight.  The plan was for Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, to pitch for one inning to begin the game.  Beimel retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the 1st, with two strikeouts and a fly out.  He then gave way to Cumpton, who pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks.  Cumpton had two runners on base in only one inning, the 3rd, when two singles and a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position.  Cumpton struck out the next batter to escape the jam.  

The Marauders put two runners on base in the 1st when both RF Robbie Grossman and Alvarez walked, then again put two on in the 2nd, on a single by DH Adalberto Santos and a walk to C Jairo Marquez.  2B Jarek Cunningham also singled in the 3rd, but none of those runners could make it around to score.  All of the Marauders’ runs came in the bottom of the 5th.  Marquez led off with a double lined into center field.  SS Benji Gonzalez dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Marquez to third base.  Cunningham doubled into left field, and Marquez scored easily from third.  Then Alvarez blasted a 2-run homer over the left field wall to give the Marauders a 3-0 lead.  
Cumpton came back out to begin the top of the 8th.  He faced only two batters, though, giving up a single and a 2-run homer to bring the Cardinals within one run, 3-2.  Cumpton was relieved by Duke Welker, who ended the 8th with three ground outs.  

The Marauders would have liked an insurance run or two, but had only a walk by Grossman in the 7th, then a single by Cunningham and Santos reaching on catcher interference in the 8th.  It turned out to not matter, as Welker pitched a scoreless 9th to seal the win and earn his second save of the season.  

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Curve Finally Score; Spikes Lose in 12 Innings

Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor league organization… being thrown out at the plate seemed to be a recurring theme….

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  1
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The Curve out-hit the Senators 8-4, but could only force one run across the plate, though that was one more run than they had scored in their last three games.  Aaron Pribanic suffered his 5th loss of the season (for a 5-5 record), allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits and a walk, while strikeout out 7 batters in 6 innings.  The walk gave the Senators their only baserunner over the first three innings.  The Senators began the 4th inning with a single, and a balk put the runner on second base.  Pribanic struck out the next two batters, but the next batter smacked a 2-run homer.  He retired the next 7 batters in order to finish his night.  

The Curve put at least one batter on base in 5 of the first 6 innings.  They came closest to scoring in the 4th, when SS Jordy Mercer led off with a single, and advanced to second on a balk.  He reached third when 3B Jeremy Farrell singled to first, but got hung up between third and home, and was tagged out in a run-down.  Altoona got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning.  Farrell lined a single into right field, and after two outs, pinch-hitter Anthony Norman grounded to second, where the Harrisburg second baseman missed the play.  Farrell scored on the error.  CF Starling Marte doubled into left field, moving Norman to third, but a strikeout ended the inning with both of the runners in scoring position.  

Matt McSwain replaced Pribanic in the 7th.  He walked two batters, and loaded the bases with a single.  An RBI ground out brought in the runner from third, for the Senators’ third run.  Tim Alderson gave up a lead-off triple in the 8th, and hit the next batter with a pitch, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play — a line out to center field and an on-target throw by Marte to the plate let C Tony Sanchez tag him out at home.  

Former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier walked Mercer to begin the 8th, but he was erased on a double play, and a strikeout ended the inning, the Curve went down in order in the 9th.  

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State College Season Begins; Von Rosenberg Wins #3

Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:

The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend.  The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL.  Representing the Marauders:  C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham.  Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.  

The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates.  Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.   

Williamsport Crosscutters  7,  State College Spikes  0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season.  Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd.  That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second.  After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning.  A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0.  Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball.  Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out.  Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles.  Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.  

The Spikes collected 6 hits.   C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks,  CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled.  The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder.  Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate.  They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.  

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Homers For Cunningham, Mort, and Howard In Sunday Wins

Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:

Altoona Curve  13,  Reading Phillies  4  (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd.  When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic.  McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2.  McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.  

CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score.  The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th.  RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score.  Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.  

Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning.  He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th.  Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.  

Reading Phillies  2,  Altoona Curve 1   (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game.  They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez.  Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.  

The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score.  Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat.  A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.  

Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start.  He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam.  Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.  

Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning.  He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss.  The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.  

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Six-Run Inning Not Enough Power; Marauders Earn Shut Out

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday, but the Power and the Marauders were in action.

Delmarva Shorebirds  10,  West Virginia Power  7
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A 6-run offensive blast by the Power was enough to tie the score, but not enough for the win.  Delmarva got the game started with a 3-run homer off Zack Von Rosenberg in the top of the 1st, after a double and a single.  Von Rosenberg put runners on base in the next two innings but did not let them come around to score.  A walk and a 2-run homer increased the Shorebirds’ lead to 5-0 with one out in the 4th.  A single and a walk followed that homer, and Von Rosenberg was relieved by Porfirio Lopez.  Lopez finished the 4th, but gave up two more runs in the 5th on a single, a walk, a balk, another single, and a fielding error by SS Drew Maggi.  

The Power led off each of the first four innings with a hit:  singles by Maggi (1st), 1B Chase Lyles (2nd), and 3B Eric Avila (3rd), and a double by LF Dan Grovatt (4th).  Grovatt was the only one who scored, on RF Justin Howard’s RBI  single.  The Power went into the bottom of the 5th trailing 7-1, and that’s when the fireworks started.  With one out, Avila walked, Maggi doubled, and 2B Kevin Mort walked, to load the bases.  Grovatt tapped back to the mound, where the Shorebirds’ pitcher thought he could get a force out at the plate.  Instead, he made a fielding error, and Avila scored.  A wild pitch brought in Maggi, then Howard walked to load the bases again.  Lyles’ RBI single into center field plated Mort with the third run of the inning.  C Kawika Emsley-Pai was hit by a pitch, forcing in Grovatt, and after a pitching change, DH Elias Diaz brought in both Howard and Lyles with a 2-RBI single, to tie the score at 7-7.  After a fly out, Avila’s second walk of the inning loaded the bases again, but a ground out by Maggi ended the inning.  

Zac Fuesser took over on the mound for the 6th, which was scoreless (for both teams).  The top of the 7th began with a missed catch error by Lyles at first.  Fuesser’s balk pushed that runner to second base, and a bunt advanced him to third.  He scored on an RBI double, then a walk, two singles, and a fielding error by RF Howard added two more runs.  

Casey Sadler pitched the 8th inning for the Power.  He gave up a double and hit a batter, but got out of the inning without a run scoring.  The Power put two runner on in the 7th, when Lyles  and Diaz both walked, but a double play and a fly out ended that inning.  They threatened again in the bottom of the 9th.  Grovatt singled, but was erased in a double play.  Then Lyles walked and Emsley-Pai and Diaz singled to load the bases, but a strikeout ended the game.  

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