Tuesday's action for the Pirates' lower minor leaguers....
Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League's Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.
Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague's two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning -- he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.
Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie's only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer's ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman's double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).
Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.