Checking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Winter League action:
Gigantes del Cibao 6, Toros del Este 5
A bottom-of-the-9th rally by Los Toros was not enough to catch Los Gigantes. A single, a fielding error, and a walk loaded the bases with no outs for Los Toros. A grounder to third let one run come in, but forced out the runner trying to move from second to third. That was all Los Toros could do, though, as a strikeout and a fly out ended the game. Los Toros had scored one run in the bottom of the 1st. Matt Hague picked up an RBi in the 6th, when his grounder let a runner score from third base. Hague was safe at first on the play, and he scored on an RBI double. A throwing error let a third run score in the inning. Los Gigantes scored 3 runs in the 4th on a double, a single, and a 2-run homer. Two unearned runs came across in the 6th inning, with a fielding error, a double, and two singles. Former Pirate Tim Wood pitched the top of the 8th for Los Gigantes. He gave up two singles and an intentional walk, then a sacrifice fly brought in a run, giving Los Gigantes a 6-4 lead. Former Pirate Juan Perez pitched the bottom of the 8th. Hague reached base against Perez when he swung at a wild pitch on strike three, but Perez’s catcher could not handle the ball. Hague was left on base in that inning. He singled in both the 2nd and 4th innings.
Leones del Escogido 13, Aguilas Cibaenas 3
CF Starling Marte and 3B Andy Marte each singled and doubled for Los Leones as they pounced on Los Aguilas. Starling Marte singled in the top of the 1st, then scored on a 3-run homer. Both teams were scoreless from then until the 6th inning, when Los Leones sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs. Starling Marte doubled and drove in a run, then scored after a wild pitch and an RBI single. More singles, more walks, another wild pitch…. and Andy Marte brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. Starling Marte led off the top of the 7th by reaching base on a fielding error. A walk and a single loaded the bases with Marte on third, and he scored on a wild pitch. Andy Marte added an RBI double, for a total of 3 runs for Los Leones in that inning. Los Aguilas scored their only runs in the bottom of the 7th on a 3-run homer, but it was not enough. Los Leones picked up one more run in both the 8th and the 9th, with Andy Marte contributing a single to the 9th inning rally.
Bravos de Margarita 6, Tigres de Aragua 3
Several former Pirates and Pirate farmhands — LF Lastings Milledge, CF Jonel Pacheco, RF Jorge Cortes, and C Raul Chavez — each had one hit for Los Tigres, but a 4-run 5th inning gave the win to Los Bravos. A 2-run homer and four singles contributed to Los Bravos’ big inning. Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario pitched the bottom of the 9th for Los Bravos and retired Pacheco, Cortes, and Chavez in order to earn a Save.
Cardenales de Lara 7, Aguilas de Zulia 3
Lara jumped out to a big lead with a grand slam and a 2-run homer in the top of the 1st — and they never looked back. Pirates’ Diego Moreno pitched the top of the 9th for Zulia. He gave up a single, but then erased that runner with a double play.
Leones del Caracas 12, Caribes de Anzoategui 3
CF Gorkys Hernandez doubled for Los Caribes, who were in the game until Los Leones scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th. Hernandez’s double came in the 3rd inning, and then he advanced to third base on a throwing error in center field, then scored on a squeeze bunt that the Caracas catcher could not handle. Jose Ascanio pitched two innings for Caracas. He retired the side in the 6th, then gave up a run on a double and single in the 7th.