Tag: Aki Iwamura

Kratz Is An All-Star; Presley Homers Twice

IMG_3267C Erik Kratz (photo) has been named to the International League All-Star Team for the second year in a row. �Last year, Kratz was the MVP of the All-Star game, which was held in Portland, Oregon. �Kratz, who was the starting catcher, walked, doubled, and hit the game-winning 2-run homer for the IL. �This year, Kratz is the back-up catcher for the IL squad. �He is currently hitting .306 for the Indians, with 17 doubles, a triple, 8 home runs, and 30 RBI. �This year's All-Star Game, between the IL stars and the Pacific Coast League stars, will be held at Lehigh Valley, PA, which is just about an hour away from where Kratz grew up. �He'll be able to have lots of family and friends in attendance.

Manager Frank Kremblas has also been named a coach for the International League All-Star Team. �This will be his first time as a coach or manager for an International League All-Star team, though he had much success as a manager in the Pacific Coast League before joining the Pirates' organization.

Columbus Clippers �7, �Indianapolis Indians �3 (box)

IMG_3799For the second night in a row, the Clippers posted 5 runs in the 4th inning, and for the second night in a row, those 5 runs beat the Indians at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. �Tribe starter Mike Crotta did not make it to that 4th inning, leaving in the 3rd due to an injury to his left lower leg or ankle. �CF Alex Presley (photo) provided all of the Indians' runs on two home run blasts.

Presley got the game off to a good start for the Indians. �LF Kevin Melillo opened the game with a double lined into right field. �Presley drove a long fly over the right field wall for his first home run, which was his second round-tripper since joining the Indians.

Mike Crotta had to work around runners on base in the first two innings. �SS Josh Rodriguez singled in the 1st and stole second base, but was left there. �1B Jordan Brown singled and RF Nick Weglarz walked to begin the 2nd, and they pulled off a double steal when Crotta's attention was diverted, but Crotta got out of that jam by striking out the next two batters, C Lou Marson and CF Jose Constanza.

Ejections Abound In Indians’ Loss

Columbus Clippers �7, �Indianapolis Indians �3 (box)

IMG_3305A 5-run 4th inning by the Columbus Clippers made the difference tonight at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, as the Indians could not catch up after having three members of their team ejected from the game. �Manager Frank Kremblas, pitcher Corey Hamman, and DH Brian Myrow were all ejected by home plate umpire Derek Crabill.

(Photo: �Frank Kremblas chats with an umpire in Indianapolis)

The game had begun hopefully for the Indians. �2B Akinori Iwamura started the game with a single into center field, though two outs later he was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the inning. �C Erik Kratz doubled off the top of the wall in right-center field with two outs in the 2nd inning, then went to third on a wild pitch. �Brian Myrow lined a single into center, and that brought in Kratz with the first run of the game.

Tribe starter Charlie Morton got out of a jam in the bottom of the 1st. �LF Michael Brantley led off the frame with a single, but SS Josh Rodriguez followed by bouncing into a 6-4-3 double play (SS�Argenis Diaz to 2B Aki Iwamura to 1B Jeff Clement). �2B Luis Valbuena doubled into left field and 3B Jared Goedert walked, but a strikeout ended the inning for Morton and left the two Clippers on base. �Morton gave up another double, to C Lou Marson, and a walk to CF Jose Constanza in the 2nd inning, but also got out of that inning with both runners still on base.

IMG_3556An error by Morton (photo) contributed to an unearned run in the 3rd as the Clippers tied the score. �With one out, Valbuena smacked a grounder into center field, and when Morton tried to pick Valbuena off first, his throw went wild, allowing Valbuena to reach third base. �That made it easy for a single by 1B Jordan Brown to bring in the tying run.

Then disaster struck in the bottom of the 4th. �RF Nick Weglarz led off the inning with a long fly ball for a home run over the right-center field wall, to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead. �After a ground out, Constanza blooped a single into center field. �Constanza stole second base, then went on to steal third base, not even drawing a throw. �A fielder's choice grounder to short was fielded by Argenis Diaz, but the throw to the plate was not in time, and Constanza scored, while Brantley was safe at first. �That was all for Charlie Morton, who had thrown 85 pitches (55 strikes) in just 3.1 innings, and allowed 7 hits and 3 walks. �He would ultimately be responsible for 5 runs (4 earned). �It was a disappointing start for Morton, after an outstanding effort in his last start.

Presley Hits For The Cycle As Indians Blast 5 Homers

IMG_3798

Manager Frank Kremblas congratulates Alex Presley after his first AAA home run.

Indianapolis Indians �15, �Toledo Mud Hens �3 (box)

IMG_3799Indianapolis' Victory Field will celebrate its 15th anniversary in a couple of weeks, and in all that time, no player has ever hit for the cycle there.... until today. �Tribe LF Alex Presley, in his third AAA-level game, went 5-for-6 today, and hit for the cycle. �Presley tripled in the 1st inning, singled in the 2nd, homered in the third (photo), and doubled in the 5th. �Then he added a single on the first pitch he saw in the 6th inning, for good measure.

Presley had come close to hitting for the cycle 5 weeks ago. �On May 24th, playing with the AA Altoona Curve against the Akron Aeros in Akron, Presley went 4-for-5, and missed hitting for the cycle because he missed off the single. �He substituted a second home run for that single, and set a new Altoona Curve record with 8 RBI in the game.

And Presley was not the only Indian batter hitting today. �The Indians piled up 19 hits, and scored 15 runs, both of which were season highs, surpassing the 14 runs on 18 hits they had on April 9th of this year. �Their 5 home runs in the game was also the best this season, and while they have hit back-to-back home runs often enough, it was the first time the Indians have hit back-to-back-to-back home runs at Victory Field.

IMG_3777The game did not start out so amazingly for the Indians. �With starter Hayden Penn (photo) on the mound, the Mud Hens began the game by scoring 3 runs in the top of the 1st. �Penn walked the first batter of the game, SS Will Rhymes, and that adage about lead-off walks turned out to be true in this instance. �2B Justin Henry, making his AAA debut with Toledo, singled with a line drive into left field. �Penn seemed to get things under control for a few minutes, getting 1B Jeff Frazier to fly out and striking out LF Ryan Strieby. �Rhymes tagged up and advanced to third base on the fly out, and Henry stole second base on the strikeout. � Then Penn gave up a single to 1B Jeff Larish, scoring both Rhymes and Henry. �CF Wilkin Ramirez followed with a triple to the deep part of left-center field, bringing in Larish. �Penn finished the inning with a strikeout, but the Indians were behind, 3-0.

But.... it seems that Hayden Penn has this curious lucky streak going. �In his previous two starts at Victory Field, the Indians supplied Penn with a whole lot of run support in the early innings, allowing him to coast to a win. �On June 11th against Pawtucket, Penn allowed a run in the top of the 1st, and the Tribe batters came back with 6 runs in the bottom of the 1st, plus one run in the 2nd and 2 runs in the 3rd, and eventually win the game 10-3, with Penn credited for the win. �On June 22nd against the Bulls, Penn did not allow a run in the early innings (only allowed one unearned run that night), but benefited from 3 Tribe runs in the 2nd and 2 more runs in the 3rd. �Penn again got the win, as the Indians took the 9-1 victory. �Penn's luck held out this afternoon, too.

Moskos Debuts In Indians’ Win

IMG_3756

The bullpen didn't get the memo that said it's 91 degrees out.

Indianapolis Indians �6, �Toledo Mud Hens �4 (box)

IMG_3752The Pirates' first round pick from the 2007 draft, LHP Danny Moskos, made his AAA debut tonight in the Inidans' win over Toledo at Victory Field. �The Indians were out-hit by the Mud Hens, 12-9, but the Indians made good use of the hits they got, including home runs by RF Brandon Moss and 2B Jim Negrych, supporting starter Jeremy Powell in his 4th win of the season.

Powell (photo) was making the spot start because Daniel McCutchen had his scheduled start moved to Oakland, with the Pirates. �This was Powell's first start in more than 3 weeks. �He had made 5 relief appearances since then, but pitched only a third of an inning in the two relief appearances in the past week. �Powell got into trouble right away in the top of the 1st. �Toledo's lead-off hitter, 2B Will Rhymes, began the game with a bloop single into short center field. �DH Jon Weber grounded slowly to 2B Jim Negrych, who tried for a double play. �Rhymes was easily out at second base, but Weber beat out SS Argenis Diaz's relay throw to first base. �A passed ball by C Erik Kratz put Weber on second base, and he scored from there when 1B Jeff Frazier followed with a line drive into the right-center alley for an RBI double. �LF Ryan Strieby drove in Frazier with another line drive, this one into center, and the Indians were down 2-0.

IMG_3755

Photo: �Alex Presley in center field

At that point, Powell flipped a switch. �He settled down and retired the next two batters on an easy fly out and a grounder force out to short. �He worked around a one-out double by RF Wilkin Ramirez in the 2nd, and worked around a one-out infield single by Frazier in the 3rd. �SS Brent Dlugach led off the 6th with a grounder to short, and was safe at first when Argenis Diaz's throw came in high so that 1B Jeff Clement had to leap to catch it (ruled a hit). �Powell responded by getting CF Casper Wells to bounce into a 4-6-3 (Negrych to Diaz to Clement) double play, and struck out Ramirez to end the inning. �Then Powell retired the side in order in the 5th. �He finished his night's work having thrown 64 pitches (48 strikes), and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, no walks, with two strikeouts.

The Indians were frustrated in their first attempt at a come-back in the 2nd inning. �With one out, 3B Brian Myrow lined a single into right field, and CF Alex Presley lined a single into left field. �Myrow raced around to third, sliding into the bag head-first just ahead of the throw in from left field. �Presley alertly advanced to second base while the Mud Hens were busy worrying about Myrow. �Erik Kratz walked on 4 straight pitches, and the Indians looked like they were going to get some runs back. �But Argenis Diaz bounced into a double play, ending the inning and the threat.

Clement Drives Indians Come-From-Behind Win

Indianapolis Indians 9, Toledo Mud Hens 8 (box)

IMG_3825

The Indianapolis Indians came back from a 5-run deficit tonight at Victory Field, led by two big hits and 5 RBI by 1B Jeff Clement (photo) and 3 hits each by DH Brandon Moss and 2B Jim Negrych. Six runs in the 6th inning made the difference, and the Tribe held off the Mud Hens' rally in the 9th to hold onto the win in front of a full house of 14,537 fans.

Mike Crotta started the game with a quick first inning, but the Mud Hens attacked in the 2nd. DH Ryan Strieby led off with a double into right field, and 3B Jeff Larish lined a single into left field, moving Strieby to third. After a strikeout, Crotta walked RF Casper Wells to load the bases. LF Jon Weber drove in both Strieby and Larish with a double that skittered down the left field chalk line, barely fair. C Jeff Kunkel made it 4-0 with a triple off the wall in right-center field. Tribe CF Jonathan Van Every could not run back fast enough, and the ball sailed over his head and bounced off the wall and away from Van Every. Both Wells and Weber scored as Van Every was busy tracking down the ball. Finally, a ground out and a pop out in foul territory ended the inning.

IMG_3729The Mud Hens added another run in the 3rd inning. 1B Jeff Frazier started the inning with a double down the left field line that tipped the end of 3B Steve Pearce's (photo) glove as he made a desperate dive. A ground out to first moved Frazier to third base, and another double, this one down the right field line by Larish, brought Frazier in to score. Crotta continued to struggle in the 3rd inning. He walked Weber on four pitches to open the inning, and once again proved that it's a bad idea to walk the lead-off batter. It came back to haunt him, when Kunkel's slow grounder moved Weber to second base, and 2B Will Rhymes' line drive double into center field plated Weber.

The Indians were already behind 5-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd inning, when they got onto the scoreboard. With one out, Brandon Moss dropped a bloop single over the head of Toledo 2B Will Rhymes. Jim Negrych followed with his second single of the game, a liner into left field, and since he was off and running, Moss made it to third on the hit. Steve Pearce was robbed of an RBI hit when his prospective line drive into left field ended up in the mitt of 3B Jeff Larish. Jeff Clement did the honors instead, plating both Moss and Negrych with a line drive that rattled around in the right field corner. C Erik Kratz walked, but both he and Clement were left on base when LF Alex Presley, making his AAA debut, lined out too.

Found: The Real Charlie Morton

Indianapolis Indians �9, �Durham Bulls �1 (box)

IMG_3720Message to the Pirates: �The Real Charlie Morton has been found -- he's safe and sound, and was last seen pitching a 2-hit complete game at Victory Field tonight. �Are you going to want him back soon?

Morton (photo) dominated the Bulls, throwing 109 pitches (77 strikes) over 9 complete innings. �He faced only 3 batters over the minimum -- two hits, one hit batter, and one walk, minus one double play. �He began the game totally focused, getting 6 straight outs, including two strikeouts in the 2nd inning.

The only Bulls' run came in the 3rd inning. �Morton walked 3B Angel Chavez to open the inning, then he hit former Indy Indian (2005-06) JJ Furmaniak on the shoulder (or maybe the shoulder of his jersey), moving Chavez to second base -- two on and no out, and Morton was looking like he had lost that focus he'd just had in the previous two innings. �CF Fernando Perez tapped a 1-1 pitch right back to Morton on the mound, and Morton whirled and fired to SS Argenis Diaz, covering second base, to start a double play, 1-6-3 (Morton to Diaz to Jeff Clement) (photo below). �That put Chavez on third base, but somehow, it seemed to refocus Morton and get him charged up again. �LF Desmond Jennings hit a slow roller towards third base, and Steve Pearce, playing third for the second time in his career, charged in to make the pick-up. �The speedy Jennings was nearly at first base already, and Pearce should have just held the ball, but he didn't. �Instead, he threw across his body, and the ball sailed wide of first base, heading down toward the Bull's pen. �Chavez scored from third base, and Jennings was credited with a hit and an RBI, then advanced to second base on Pearce's error.

IMG_3727Still, that did not disrupt Morton's rediscovered concentration. �He got SS Omar Luna to ground to first base to end the inning. �Then he retired the Bulls in order in the 4th inning, including a second strikeout of C Alvin Colina.

The only other hit Morton allowed came in the 5th. �With one out, Angel Chavez bounced a single past the diving 2B Jim Negrych and into right field. �Chavez was forced out at second base when JJ Furmaniak grounded to Negrych. �Negrych bobbled the ball for a split second, but it was long enough so that the relay throw from Argenis Diaz covering second to first base was not in time, leaving Furmaniak safe at first. �CF Fernando Perez also grounded to Negrych, who ended the inning with a little flip to second base, forcing out Furmaniak.

That was the last time the Bulls had a base runner. �Morton retired the next 12 batters in order, striking out the last batter, Justin Ruggiano. �He buzzed through the last 4 innings, not letting the Bulls hit any balls very hard, or making his teammates behind him have to make many tough plays to get the outs. �The toughest out was the 2nd in the 9th, when Omar Luna dropped a little dribbly ball, not a bunt, along the first base line about half way down. �C Erik Kratz had to scramble over, make a sliding stop to grab the ball, then make the throw to first without hitting Luna in the basepath, for the out. �Morton needed only 4 pitches to get through the 6th inning, and 9 pitches in both the 1st and the 5th.

Four Home Runs Power Pirates

Pirates 13, �Astros 1 �(box)

After several games in which the Pirates struggle to find hits, today they busted out with 15 of them, beating the Houston Astros 13-1 in Grapefruit League play.

CF Andrew McCutchen got things started with a 2-run homer in the 1st inning, and another run came in on an RBI single by 1B Jeff Clement. McCutchen tripled in the 2nd inning, and RF Garrett Jones' homer brought him in, to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead. �In the 3rd inning, it was 3B Andy LaRoche's turn to send one over the fences, following another single by Clement. �When starter Paul Maholm (batting 8th, in the Pirates' new plan) also singled, and 9th slot hitter SS Bobby Crosby also got on base,�2B Aki Iwamura brought both of them in with a 3-run homer. �That gave the Pirates a 10-0 lead after 3 innings. �Clement picked up his third hit of the day and his second RBI with a double in the 4th inning. �Iwamura also had 3 hits for the afternoon, and in the 5th, C Ryan Doumit hit his second double, for an RBI. �The Pirates also added one more run in the 8th.

Besides going 1-for-3 at the plate, Paul Maholm had a good day on the mound. �He earned the win with 5 innings of work, and allowed one run, which came on former Pirate Matt Kata's RBI single in the 4th inning. �Maholm gave up 6 hits and 3 walks, but worked himself out of trouble, aided by a timely double play in the 4th. �The rest of the pitching staff allowed only one baserunner, who got on with a walk in the 9th inning. �Octavio Dotel pitched for the second day in a row. �Dotel, Evan Meek, and Jack Taschner each pitched a 1-2-3 inning of relief. �Javier Lopez allowed that walk in the 9th, but retired the other three batters he faced.

Also in the game: 2B Brian Friday, C Luke Carlin (scored a run), and LF Evan Chambers (walked).

The Indianapolis Indians were scheduled to play a AAA game against the Las Vegas 51's this afternoon -- no word on the results at this point.

Site Updates

The 2020 Prospect Guide is Now Available!

Pirates Prospects took the leap to being my full-time job at the end of the 2010 season, all thanks to the release of our...