Bradenton pitchers did not have much trouble dealing with the Miracle batters. �Starter Bryan Morris pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs on 7 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts. �Those runs came in the 2nd inning, when two singles and a throwing error by SS Greg Picart loaded the bases. �Morris got the next batter to ground into a double play, but one run scored. �An RBI double brought in �the second run, but the error made both runs unearned. �Morris gave up a double to lead off teh 5th inning, then struck out the next two batters. �Mike Colla came on in relief, and gave up a single, but Quincy Latimore’s throw in from left field to C Tony Sanchez nailed the runner at the plate. �Joel Hanrahan, with the Marauders on a rehab assignment, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, including two strikeouts. �Brian Leach earned the win with 3 innings of work, in which he gave up one home run and a walk and hit a batter.
Altoona Curve 5, �Harrisburg Senators 1 (box)
The Curve also began their 2010 season with a win. �A 4-run 5th inning combined with strong pitching put the Senators away. �1B Matt Hague and CF Gorkys Hernandez both walked to start the 5th. �SS Chase d’Arnaud ripped a ball into right field, scoring Hague easily. �When d’Arnaud rounded first and headed for second, it drew the throw in from the outfield. �D’Arnaud was safe at second with a double, and�Hernandez was able to score on the throw. �3B Jordy Mercer singled, moving d’Arnaud to third base. � RF Miles Durham brought in d’Arnaud with a sacrifice fly, and C Hector Gimenez plated Mercer with an RBI double.
Harrisburg had scored first, with one run in the top of the 2nd. �Starter Mike Crotta walked the first batter of the inning, and that runner stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on an RBI single from former Curve and Indy Indian (2009) Pedro Lopez. �The Curve tied it up in the bottom of the 4th, on three singles by Mercer, Durham, and LF Alex Presley (RBI).
Crotta pitched 6 innings, and that RBI single by Pedro Lopez was the only hit he gave up. �After the 2nd inning, he retired the next 12 batters he faced in order, and only had a few 3-ball counts. � He also walked one batter and struck out 4, on his way to his first win of the season. �Relievers Michael Dubee, Ronald Uviedo, and Danny Moskos each pitched one scoreless inning. Moskos made it interesting in the 9th, by walking the first two batters. �After a strikeout, he gave up a single on a ball that came back to the mound, but then got another strikeout followed by a fly out to end the game.
On Sunday, the Curve’s game against Harrisburg is scheduled to feature top pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg. �Strasburg’s pro debut in the 2 pm game is going to be (in part) broadcast on ESPNews. �The plan is to only show the half innings when Strasburg is on the mound, using the Curve’s in-house audio and video, plus an ESPN camera dedicated to Strasburg. �It means we should get to see some of the Curve players at the plate (if they show anything besides Strasburg).
Savannah Sand Gnats 9, �West Virginia Power 3 (box)
The Power opened the 2010 season on a sour note when they couldn’t keep up with the Sand Gnats in Savannah. �The Power struck first, as lead-off man SS Benji Gonzalez singled and went to second base on a fielding error. �1B Aaron Baker brought him home with an RBI single. �Savannah tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a triple and a single, and went on to score 2 more runs in the 3rd on a single and two doubles.
Two doubles by the Power, a ground-rule double by C Ramon Cabrera and another by Baker, plus a walk to CF Evan Chambers tied the score again in the top of the 5th. �But in the bottom of the inning, starter Hunter Strickland got into trouble again with back-to-back singles. �Jeffrey Inman came on in relief, but a wild pitch brought in the go-ahead run and a passed ball and a single added another, giving Savannah a 5-3 lead. �Phillip Irwin also had trouble in the 6th, when a hit batter, a wild pitch, a walk, and a throwing error by Cabrera on a steal attempt brought in two unearned runs. �Gabriel Alvarado pitched the last two innings for the Power, and he also allowed two runs, on a double and three singles in the 8th inning.
Baker and Cabrera each had a double and a single for the Power. �2B Jarek Cunningham got back to real game action after having missed all of the 2009 season with a knee injury. �He had a single in the 7th inning. �LF Rogelios Noris, who was the hometown hero in the Mexican Pacific winter league, also had a single in the 2nd inning.