Saturday evening action with the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates:

Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  0
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Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels' batters combined for another Curve loss.  The Curve were held to just two hits -- one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez.  Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base.  1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd.  LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th.  He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer's ground out.  Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.  

Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally.  The Curve's biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks.  A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.  

Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits.  Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd.  Then things fell apart in the 3rd.  The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass.  The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer's fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored.  Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout.  But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0.  The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.  

Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single.  A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base.  Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third.  Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double.  Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out.  Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th.  He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run.  Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.  

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