The Pirates got the new year started by signing Brian Burres to a minor league contract.  He will be at the major league spring training camp, competing for a position on the big league club.

The Caribbean winter leagues continue their playoffs, and we continue to cheer for the Pirates' players and friends who are involved...

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Toros del Este  8,  Gigantes del Cibao  1  --
 Los Gigantes scored a run on two singles and a throwing error in the 1st inning.  After that, it was all Los Toros.  Los Toros scored 2 in the 4th, 4 in the 7th, and 2 in the 8th, as they posted a total of 14 hits.  RF Rich Thompson singled for Los Gigantes in the 2nd inning, and he made a fielding error in the 4th.

Leones del Escogido  3,  Estrellas de Oriente  0  --  Los Estrellas recorded 5 hits, including a pair of singles by DH Ronny Paulino, but could not push any of their runners across the plate.  Los Leones had just 4 hits.  They used one, plus a hit batter and a fielding error, to score one run in the 5th.  Two more runs came in in the 6th inning, on a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt, a balk, and a fielder's choice.  


PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Senadores de San Juan  4,  Criollos de Caguas  1  --  
Los Senadores' 3-run 7th inning broke a 1-1 tie and earned them the win.  A single, two doubles, and three walks were responsible for the 3 runs.  Neither SS Luis Figueroa nor 3B Ramon Vazquez had a hit for Los Criollos.  

Gigantes de Carolina  9, Leones de Ponce  8  --  Finally, in the bottom of the 15th, a walk and two singles gave Los Gigantes the winning run.  Los Leones were leading 8-5 going into the bottom of the 9th.  Ponce reliever RJ Rodriguez had gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the 8th with two pop outs.  He started the 9th with two ground outs, then gave up a single and a wild pitch, putting a runner on third base.  A double drove in that runner, then a walk and two singles tied the score, sending the game into extras, and putting Rodriguez on the hook for a Blown Save.  Each team had at least one runner on base in each of the next three innings, and Los Gigantes collected 3 walks to load the bases in the 11th, but no one scored.  Both teams went down in order in the 13th, then both teams continued to put runners on base, until Los Gigantes finished it off in the 15th.  Benji Gonzalez pinch-ran for Los Gigantes in the 8th, but was left on base.  He played second base for an inning, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

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