Tag: Aaron Baker

Marauders Sweep Series; Locke Gets 10 K’s

The Marauders had an early game today, for the school kids.  The Curve and the Power play later:

Bradenton Marauders  8,  Palm Beach Cardinals  1
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The Marauders swept a series for the first time this season with today's win over the Cardinals.  It was an early game following a late night, but the Marauders were awake and ready to go at 10 am, less than 12 hours after last night's rain-delayed game.  For the second game in a row, every member of the line-up reached base at least once.  

Phillip Irwin made his first start after coming out of extended spring training.  He went 2 innings, and allowed a run in the 1st, as he had to work around an error in each inning.  The top of the 1st began with a walk, then a stolen base, and the runner moved up to third when C Carlos Paulino's throw to second base went wild for an error.  That runner scored on the first of two singles, but Irwin closed down the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.  A fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez put another runner on base in the 2nd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cardinals had runners on the corners.  Irwin got out of the jam with a fly out.  

The Marauders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning without posting a hit.  LF David Rubinstein was hit by a pitch, then 1B Cole White walked.  Two wild pitches let Rubinstein score and put White on third base.  After a walk to 2B Kelson Brown, the third wild p itch of the inning let White come in to score.   A passed ball and two more walks, to CF Robbie Grossman and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases, but a fly out ended that inning without any further scoring.  The Marauders led 2-1.  

Brett Lorin took over for Irwin to begin the 3rd inning.  Lorin pitched 6 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk, plus 4 strikeouts.  Palm Beach had 2 singles in the 4th, though the first runner was tagged out trying to reach third base on the second single.  The Cardinals also had 2 singles in the 6th, but Lorin was not worried by either of those threats.

The Marauders picked up some insurance runs in the 5th, with DH Aaron Baker having his second big-hitting game in a row.  Elevys Gonzalez walked and went to second on a wild pitch.  He scored on Baker's RBI double into center field.  After a walk to Rubinstein, Paulino singled in Baker.  A wild throw by the Cardinals' catcher on a pick-off throw allowed Rubinstein to score the third run of the inning, and the Marauders were up 5-1.  They added 2 more runs in the 6th.  Grossman lined a double into left field, and Elevys Gonzalez singled, moving Grossman to third.  Baker plated Grossman with a single into right field.  When the Cardinals' right fielder went to catch Rubinstein's fly ball and had his feet slip out from under him, that was ruled an error, and Gonzalez scored as well.  That gave the Marauders a 7-1 lead.  

The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when Grossman doubled into left field, Elevys Gonzalez singled, and RF Adalberto Santos brought in Grossman with a sacrifice fly.  Porfirio Lopez finished the game for Bradenton with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single.  Lorin earned the win -- his first win of the season.
 

Grand Slam By Baker Fires Up Marauders

Happy Easter!

The Altoona Curve and the West Virginia Power have scheduled days off today.


Bradenton Marauders  6, Palm Beach Cardinals  3
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1B Aaron Baker gave the Marauders a boost with his grand slam in the 1st inning, and Jason Erickson won his first game of the season.  
 
Starter Quinton Miller began the game with two outs, then gave up a double and a single, to give the Cardinals one run.  The Marauders thundered back with 6 runs in the bottom of the frame, as the first 6 batters reached base before an out was recorded.  RF Robbie Grossman led off with a walk, then went to third when 2B Adalberto Santos doubled.  CF Evan Chambers walked to load the bases and set up Baker, who blasted a grand slam over the right field wall.  DH Calvin Anderson followed the home run with a single, then he advanced to third on C Ramon Cabrera's double.  After a ground out and a strikeout, SS Benji Gonzalez sent the Palm Beach starter to the showers with a 2-RBI single.  Grossman singled also, but a pop out ended the inning with the Marauders ahead 6-1. 

Then it started raining.... and the game was delayed for more than 2 hours.  When they did get back to business, Erickson took over on the mound for Miller.  Erickson pitched 4 innings, and had trouble in only one, the 4th.  He gave up a single, a double, a single, and a double, to give the Cardinals 2 runs.  With two runners in scoring position, Erickson maintained his composure to strike out the next two batters and get out of the inning.  Diego Moreno pitched the next two innings for Bradenton, allowing a walk and a wild pitch.  He also had a runner reach base due to a throwing error by Gonzalez, but erased that runner with a double play.  Ryan Beckman took the final two innings, and earned his 2nd save of the season, as he retired all 6 batters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts.

Baker did not stop hitting after the 1st inning, though the Marauders did not score again in the game.  He singled in the 2nd, and Anderson doubled behind him, but Baker was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice play.  LF David Rubinstein reached on a fielding error at short, loading the bases, but a ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.  Gonzalez was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice in the 3rd inning, after a walk, a stolen base, and a fly out.  The Marauders had two runners on base due to a single and a walk in both the 4th and 5th innings.  In the 4th, Rubinstein walked and 3B Elevys Gonzalez singled; in the 5th, Santos singled and Chambers walked.  Baker's third hit came in the 8th, when Chambers drove a ball off the glove of the Palm Beach right fielder.  Chambers rounded second and headed for third, but the center fielder was able to pick up the ball and fire it in to third, where Chambers was tagged out.  Baker singled after Chambers' hit, but was left on base.  

The Marauders posted a total of 12 hits.  Each member of the lineup reached base at least once, and Rubinstein was the only one without at least one hit.  

Mercer and Curry Homer; Boyer And Sinkbeil Sign

Both the Curve and the Power played early games today.... 

Altoona Curve  3,  Harrisburg Senators  2
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A fielding error by the Senators in the bottom of the 7th gave the Curve the win, and a split of this rain-shortened series with Harrisburg.  Jeff Locke got the start for the Curve, and he buzzed through his first 6 innings.  A runner who reached base on SS Jordy Mercer's throwing error in the 1st was promptly picked off and caught stealing, and a runner who singled in the 2nd was erased with a double play.  A hit batter in the 5th was left stranded.  

The Curve also were quiet for most of the first 5 innings.  1B Miles Durham walked to lead off the 2nd, but was also eliminated in a double play.  Their only threat was when three walks, to Locke, 2B Brock Holt, and CF Starling Marte, loaded the bases for the Curve in the 3rd.  But a pop out ended the inning with all three left on base.  

The Curve got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 6th.  Holt led off the inning with a double into right field on a ball that was deflected off the Harrisburg pitcher Erik Davis.  Holt moved to third base on a ground out by Marte.  Then Mercer blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Curve a 2-0 lead.  The Curve loaded the bases after the homer, on singles by Durham and LF Quincy Latimore, then another single by 3B Jeremy Farrell off a new relief pitcher who is familiar:  Jimmy Barthmaier.  With the bases loaded, Barthmaier struck out C Eric Fryer, then ended the inning with a ground out by RF Brad Chalk.  

The Senators returned the favor in the top of the 7th.  Locke got one out, then gave up a double and a single, putting runners on the corners.  He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who began by throwing a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to come across the plate.  A single again gave Harrisburg runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run -- both runs charged to Locke.  

With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Marte singled into left field.  He stole second base, then came around to score when Harrisburg's right fielder Archie Gilbert made a fielding error on Mercer's fly ball.  The Curve held on to that narrow lead for the next two innings.  Michael Dubee retired the side in order with three grounders in the top of the 8th.  Noah Krol gave up a single in the 9th, but got three more ground outs, earning his 4th Save of the season.  


Three Hits By Grossman And Emsley-Pai

The Altoona Curve and the Richmond Flying Squirrels were rained out in Altoona tonight.  They will make up the game in August.

West Virginia Power  8,  Augusta  5
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The Power scored in each of the first 4 innings to stay ahead of the Augusta Green Jackets on Saturday evening.  2B Drew Maggi got the game off to a good start with a double into right field.   1B Matt Curry walked, then with Maggi off and running, a ground out by 3B Eric Avila let Maggi score.  RF Justin Howard drove in Curry with a single into center field.  Augusta got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 1st with a triple and an RBI ground out off starter Tyler Waldron.  

Back-to-back singles by DH Elias Diaz and C Kawika Emsley-Pai opened the top of the 2nd, and gave the Power runners on the corners.  A passed ball let Diaz score.  SS Gift Ngoepe walked, but was out in a grounder force out, as Maggi got to first in time to avoid the double play.  Another grounder forced out Maggi at second, but CF Mel Rojas also beat out the throw to first, and Emsley-Pai scored.  Augusta also scored one run in the bottom of the inning, on a bases-loaded RBI ground out.  

The Power took a big step ahead in the 3rd.  Avila led off with a double, and after two outs, four consecutive singles drove in 3 runs.  Diaz plated Avila, and Emsley-Pai plated Diaz; Ngoepe's single put two runners on, and Maggi's single scored Emsley-Pai.  Another single by Avila and a fielding error on a fly into center field by Howard gave the Power an unearned run in the 4th.  

Augusta kept tacking on runs, but one at a time -- a solo homer in the 4th, and a run on two singles and a sacrifice fly in the 5th.  Waldron pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts.  He was relieved by Zach Foster to begin the 6th.  Foster pitched 3 hitless and scoreless innings and hit one batter, who was promptly caught stealing by Emsley-Pai.  Jason Townsend pitched the 9th and gave up the final Augusta run, on two singles, a passed ball, and an RBI ground out.  

Waldron earned his second win of the season.  Emsley-Pai went 3-for-4, with an RBI and 2 runs scored.  Besides the singles in the 2nd and 3rd, he also singled in the 8th inning, but was left on base.  Maggi, Avila, and Diaz all had 2 hits in the game.  

Curve Win Home Opener; Four RBI For Baker

Altoona Curve 2,  Richmond Flying Squirrels  0
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The Altoona Curve put on a pitching demonstration in their home opener, as four pitchers combined for a shut-out and held the Squirrels to just 3 hits.  Aaron Thompson made the start, and he dominated Richmond.  Thompson retired the first 10 batters he faced.  He gave up a walk in the 4th inning, but left that runner on base.  He gave up a triple to lead off the 5th, but a grounder to third let 3B Jeremy Farrell fire the ball back to C Tony Sanchez, who tagged out the runner at the plate.  Thompson had to work around a single and a fielding error in the 6th, but after a sacrifice bunt, two timely strikeouts got him out of that jam.   Thompson also struck out 5 batters in his second win of the season.  

The Curve posted 8 hits, and 3 of those were singles by RF Brad Chalk, who had been off to a slow start for the season (1-for-16).  He singled in the 3rd, the 6th, and the 8th, though he didn't score.  Altoona scored their first run in the 4th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then scored all the way from first base on 1B Miles Durham's double into center field.  SS Jordy Mercer belted a home run over the left field wall in the 5th inning for the Curve's second run.  That was all the offense that was needed.  The Curve put two runners on base in the 6th, when Chalk singled and pinch-hitter Kris Watts was hit by a pitch, but both were left on base.  They threatened in the 7th, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single into right field and stole second base.  He moved to third on a ground out, and tried for home when Sanchez grounded to third, but was thrown out at the plate on a play similar to what the Curve did to the Squirrels in the 5th.  Sanchez and LF Quincy Latimore also had singles in the game.  

Mike Colla, Michael Dubee, and Noah Krol each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Curve.  Krol allowed one hit in the 9th, but left that base runner on, and earned his 3rd Save.


Morris Shines For Curve; Marauders Blast Jupiter

Three wins for the Pirates' lower minor league teams on Tuesday:


Altoona Curve  2,  Akron Aeros  0

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Starter Bryan Morris threw 6 shutout innings to lead the Curve over the Aeros in Akron.  Morris scattered 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 3 for his first win of the season.  The only real trouble he had was in the bottom of the 1st, when rehabbing Grady Sizemore began the inning with a walk.  After two grounder force outs, a single, Akron had runners on first and second.  A single lined into center field had the runner from second charging for home, but CF Starling Marte fired in to C Eric Fryer, who tagged out the runner at the plate.  Morris sailed through his remaining 5 innings, allowing just two more hits -- singles in the 2nd and the 5th.  Brian Leach, Michael Dubee, and Noah Krol each pitched one scoreless inning of relief.  Leach and Dubee each allowed one walk, but Dubee struck out the other three batters he faced.  Krol earned his second Save of the season.  

Both of the Curve's runs scored in the 3rd inning.  3B Jeremy Farrell began the rally by being hit by a pitch.  Fryer singled, and RF Jose Hernandez sacrifice bunted both runners into scoring position.  2B Brock Holt grounded to first, but a fielding error let him reach safely and gave Farrell the chance to score.  An RBI grounder by Marte brougth in Fryer with the second run.  Marte stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, but the inning ended before he could come around to score.  

Marte singled after Holt walked in the 5th inning, and both Farrell and Fryer singled in the 7th, but neither of those threats yielded any runs.  Farrell lined into right field in the 9th, and rounded second easily, but was thrown out when he tried to stretch it into a triple.  He would have scored if he'd stopped at second, because Fryer followed with his own double.  Fryer was 3-for-4 in the game, and Farrell went 2-for-3.  


Thompson And Curve Get The Win

It's like they said in the movie "Bull Durham":  some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains.  Again on Saturday, the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates experienced all three. 

It rained again in West Virginia.  The Power and the Savannah Sand Gnats will try for a double header again on Sunday.  As best as I can tell, Friday's game has been "cancelled" and won't be made up.

The win:
Altoona Curve  6,  Erie SeaWolves  2
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The Curve finally put one in the win column, as they out-hit the SeaWolves 14 - 3 on Saturday afternoon.  All but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit, and while C Eric Fryer didn't smack a hit, he contributed two walks and scored a run.  CF Starling Marte, who had been hitless in the Curve's first two games, led the onslaught with 4 hits -- 3 singles and a double.  2B Brock Holt, DH Kris Watts, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had two hits, and Holt and Farrell each drove in two runs.  

Erie scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 1st, on an infield single by the first batter of the game, followed by a bunt and a balk by starter Aaron Thompson, and an RBI ground out.  Thompson settled in after that, and did not allow another run nor another hit.  He walked one and struck out two in his 6 innings of work.  

The Curve tied the game in the 3rd inning.  Fryer walked, then came around to score on a wild pitch.  They took the lead in the 6th, when Marte doubled.  SS Jordy Mercer singled, driving in Marte.  Watts also singled, and he scored moments later when Farrell singled.  RF Brad Chalk added another run in the 7th -- he tripled, then came across the plate on Holt's RBI single.  The Curve rallied again in the 8th, for two more insurance runs.  Watts started with his second single.  Farrell brought him home with a double, and Holt followed up with an RBI single to plate Farrell.  

Reliever Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 7th inning and began the 8th, allowing a single.  Michael Dubee took over for Leach, but the runner scored on an RBI single.  Dubee also pitched a perfect 9th, earning his first save.  Thompson earned the win.  

2011 Prospect Watching: Baker and Anderson

Continuing to look at the first basemen in the Pirates' minor league organization:

Aaron Baker --  Bats L/ Throws R,  6' 2",  220 lbs
Baker was chosen in the 11th round of the 2009 draft, and began his pro career right away with the State College Spikes.  He was promoted to A level West Virginia for 2010, where he hit for close to the same average -- .247 with the Spikes and .253 for the full season in West Virginia.  Baker's power performance improved, as he hit 34 doubles, 18 homers, and 79 RBI for the Power.  His high strikeout rate in State College (54 strikeouts in 62 games, 24%) continued in 2010 with 115 strikeouts in 115 games (25%), but he also continued to work a reasonable number of walks --  52 (10%).  Baker's best months at the plate were April (.282, 12 RBI) and May (.278, 16 RBI).  His average slipped to .179 in June, though hit hit 5 homers and 12 RBI.  He bounced back up to a .274 average in July and hit 7 homers and 21 RBI, then slid back to .247 in August, with 2 homers and 16 RBI.  He'd had a big righty-lefty split in 2009, but that disappeared in 2010 (.252 against left-handers and .253 against right-handers).  In the field, Baker played all his games at first (with a few DH appearances).  He made a whopping 19 errors at first, and that's going to need a lot of work.  Baker should be the primary first baseman at A+ Bradenton for 2011, with some possible back-up by Matt Curry.  The Pirates would like to see him continue to increase the power numbers, and cut back on the strikeouts.  

Calvin Anderson  --  R/R,  6' 7",  240 lb
Anderson was the Pirates' 12th round pick in the 2008 draft.  He moved up to A+ Bradenton for the 2010 season, where he was the starting first baseman (plus a few games as the DH).  He started the season with a so-so April, a .239 average, one homer, and 8 RBI.  May began in the same vein, then Anderson had a 12-game hitting streak in the second half of the month, during which he went 22-for-46 (.478) with 3 homers and 16 RBI.  That included a 5-RBI game on May 22nd, and a 4-for-4, 4-RBI game on May 26th, and Anderson was named the Florida State League Player of the Week for that week.  Unfortunately, that hitting spree came to an end, and Anderson did not do that well again for the rest of the season.  He finished with a .259 average, 29 doubles, 11 homers, and 73 RBI.  Strikeouts had been a problem for Anderson in previous seasons, and that did not change in 2010 --  141 strikeouts in 125 games (30%).  In the field, Anderson struggled even more than Aaron Baker did -- 23 errors at first base.  The combination of low hitting and difficulty in the field may make the Pirates re-think the idea of moving Anderson up to AA Altoona for 2011.  If he remains at Bradenton, though, he's going to be squeezed by Baker, and without some big improvement this season, Baker may well pass Anderson by.
 

Marauders Win Second Half Title; Walk-Off Homer For Gonzalez

Sunday's action with the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates... this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.

West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ....��� (box)

Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.

The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.

The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.

Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns' reliever with the game-winning homer.

Irwin: Another 7 No-Hit Innings;

Thursday's action for the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates:

West Virginia Power� 3,� Rome Braves� 0 ...��� (box)

On July 24th, Power starter Phillip Irwin pitched 7 hitless and scoreless innings.� Tonight, he again threw 7 scoreless innings, though this time he scattered 3 hits.� Last time, he walked two batters, and tonight he did not walk any.� Both times, Irwin struck out 8 opponents.� Irwin's toughest inning tonight was the 4th, when he gave up a double and a single, and hit a batter.� Luckily, the first runner was doubled off second base in a line-out double play.� The other two runners pulled off a double steal, but a strikeout ended the inning with them both still in scoring position.� Irwin retired the next 9 batters in order to finish his evening and earn his 6th win.� Zach Foster earned his 6th save with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only a walk.

The Power were held to just 5 hits, but they also took advantage of three Rome errors in one inning.� In the 2nd, 1B Aaron Baker began the inning by reaching base on a fielding error.� He moved to second base on a passed ball, but was out at third when RF Andy Vasquez reached on a fielder's choice.� Vasquez stole second base, and scored on LF Rogelios Noris' RBI single.� Noris advanced to third base when the Rome pitcher made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on C Jairo Marquez's double, which was also complicated by a fielding error.� Marquez added another run in the 5th, with a solo home run, his second of the season.� Vasquez singled in the 4th inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second base.� SS Benji Gonzalez doubled to lead off the 8th inning, but was left stranded.

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