Tag: Benji Gonzalez

Late-Inning Rallies Sting Curve; Power Explode in Late Innings

New Hampshire Fisher Cats �5, �Altoona Curve �3 (box)

The Curve took the early lead with a 3-run 2nd inning, but two late-inning 2-run rallies gave the Fisher Cats the win on Saturday. �Curve batters took advantage of walks in the 2nd inning. �They loaded the bases with no outs on a double by 1B Matt Hague, 2B Jordy Mercer being hit by a pitch, and a walk to DH Jim Negrych. LF Alex Presley singled up the middle, scoring both Hague and Mercer. �Walks to C Kris Watts and SS Chase d'Arnaud forced in the third run of the inning.

Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Curve would do. �They put runners on base in several other innings, but could not push any of them around to score. �They came closest in the 8th, when Hague and Mercer both singled in the 8th, and a throwing error got Hague as far as third base, but he got no further. �Presley singled to lead off the 4th, but could not advance. �Mercer walked in the 3rd, but was erased in the double play, and Hague walked in the 5th. �In their final chance, Watts walked with two outs in the 9th, but a strikeout by d'Arnaud ended the game.

Starter Bryan Morris pitched 6 dominating innings, but was not involved in the decision. �He allowed only two hits in those 6 innings, a single in the 2nd inning, and a solo homer to 3B Shawn Bowman in the 4th. �Morris also allowed a walk in the 6th, and he struck out 4 batters.

Jeff Sues took over for Morris to begin the 7th, and that's when the Fisher cats were able to make their move. �After a strikeout, Sues gave up a ground-rule double, a wild pitch, and two walks, loading the bases. �He was relieved by Mike Dubee. The first batter Dubee faced grounded right up the middle, and though Dubee tried to get it, the ball was deflected off his glove as it zoomed into center field, scoring two runners to tie the score at 3-3. �Dubee got out of the inning with a strikeout and a ground out. �But the Fisher Cats came right back at Dubee in the 8th. �Four consecutive singles led off the inning, driving in two more runs and New Hampshire took the lead. �The Curve could not answer in the 9th, and the Fisher Cats had the win.

Gimenez Homers Twice; Anderson Is Player Of The Week

Two morning games today in the Pirates' organization. �Pat Irvine was brought up from extended spring training to take the place of catcher Josue Peley, who was traded away a few days ago. �Irvine was the Pirates' 33rd round pick in the 2009 draft. �He played at State College for the second half of 2009, but he split his time between third base and left field.... now he's a catcher.

Lexington Legends �6, �West Virginia Power �3 (box)

The Power and the Legends were the first to get started this morning, and the Power bats woke up first. �CF Evan Chambers opened the game with a looping single into right-center field. �2B Jarek Cunningham dropped another single in, right in front of the Legends' center fielder, then a wild pitch moved both runners up a base. �DH�Aaron Baker grounded out to first base, allowing Chambers to score from third base. �LF Rogelios Noris was hit by a pitch, but a double play ended the inning. �The Power took advantage of an error by the Legends' second baseman, who bobbled the ball, then threw wide to first base in the 2nd inning, putting 3B Elevys Gonzalez on base. �RF Jose Hernandez drove Gonzalez in with a double lined into the right field corner. �After two innings, the Power were leading 2-0.

Power starter Brandon Holden also got off to a good start, retiring the Legends in order in the 1st inning, and allowing only a walk in the 2nd -- then he threw out the runner trying to steal second to end the inning. �The Legends loaded the bases against Holden in the 3rd inning with one out -- on a walk, a single, and a fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez. �But Holden induced a double play to end the inning, with a ground out to 2B Cunningham, who stepped on second base, then threw on to 1B Kyle Morgan to end the inning without a run scoring.

The Legends got to Holden in the 4th inning. �A lead-off single was followed by a strikeout, but then a double brought in the first Lexington run. �Another single drove in the second run of the inning, to tie the game. �Lexington added three more runs in the 5th, as they took advantage of mistakes by the Power. �A lead-off double by 2B Jose Altuve and a single by SS Miguel Arrendell put runners on the corners. �When Arrendell tried to steal second base, new Power catcher Pat Irvine�made a throw to second base, but his throw went into center field for an error, allowing Altuve to score and Arrendell to reach third base. �CF Evan Chambers' throw back to the infield, presumably aiming for third base, went sailing into the stands, and Arrendell also scored. �After another single, Holden was relieved by Jhonatan Ramos. Ramos had trouble too, hitting a batter, and giving up a single, which brought in the third run of the inning (charged to Holden). �A throw in to the plate was on-target but but the runner slid to the outside edge of the plate and eluded Irvine's tag. �A passed ball put runners on second and third, but the next batter tapped a grounder to first, which 1B Morgan fired back to the plate, and this time Irvine was able to apply the tag to prevent the run from scoring.

After scoring in the 2nd, the Power were able to put runners on base in 4 of the next 5 innings. �Jarek Cunningham and Benji Gonzalez singled, Jose Hernandez singled twice, and Kyle Morgan doubled, but none of them could come around to score. �The Power scored again in the 8th, when Aaron Baker led off with a double down the left field line, barely fair. �He advanced to third on Rogelios Noris's ground out, and then scored on Morgan's RBI ground out. �Pat Irvine was up next, and with a count 3-0 on him, the rain that had been going on for some time became much harder, and the game was halted for a rain delay. �The rain didn't last long, though, and play was resumed, with Irvine getting robbed of what should have been a double down the right field line, thanks to an excellent run and dive by the Legends' RF JD Martinez.

Ramos pitched two more scoreless innings, giving up three more singles. �Zach Foster came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th. �He gave up a solo homer to Altuve, to keep the Legends three runs ahead. �The Power could not respond in the top of the 9th, and the Legends had the win. �Brandon Holden was charged with the loss, his fourth of the season. �Hernandez went 3-for-4 for the Power, and Cunningham had 2 hits.

The Curve also had a morning game.... �"Read More"

Alderson Is POW, Hughes Earns 8th Win

Curve pitcher Tim Alderson was named the Eastern League's Pitcher Of The Week, for the week of May 24 - 30. �Alderson won two starts during that week, on the 24th and the 29th. �In 13 innings of work, he gave up only one run on 8 hits and 3 walks, with a total of 10 strikeouts. �His ERA for the two games was 0.69. �Overall, Alderson has a 4-2 record and a 4.75 ERA in 10 starts for the Curve.

Reliever Ronald Uviedo, who has made 16 appearances for the Curve this season, was traded today to the Blue Jays in return for starter Dana Eveland, who will be joining the Pirates' rotation. �Uviedo was on the Pirates' 40-man roster, so trading him opens up a space on the 40-man roster for Eveland. �Uviedo has an 0-2 record with the Curve, no saves, and a 3.22 ERA in 22.1 innings. �He has allowed 13 hits, 8 runs (3 homers), and 12 walks, while striking out 28 batters.

Altoona Curve �4, �New Britain Rock Cats �1 (box)

Jared Hughes pitched 7 strong innings, allowing only one run on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 batters, to earn his Eastern League-leading 8th win of the season. �Hughes gave up the run in the 1st inning. �A lead-off single, a stolen base, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI ground out gave the Rock Cats their only tally of the game. �Hughes gave up a double in each of the next two innings, and a single in the 4th, but each time worked around the base runner to keep the Rock Cats from scoring. �The last single plus the walk came in the 6th inning, but again Hughes bore down and ended the inning with the runners still standing there. �He finished off his night with two strikeouts in the 7th inning.

The Curve put runners on base in each of the first 4 innings, but could not push them around to score. �Two singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez, walks by 1B Matt Hague and RF Miles Durham, and a double by LF Alex Presley were not enough to bring in any runs. �Finally in the 3rd, the Curve tied the score at 1-1 when C Kris Watts led off with a double, moved to third on SS Chase d'Arnaud's single, and scored on Hernandez's sacrifice fly. �A walk to DH Jim Negrych and a single by Hague loaded the bases, but all three were left on base when the inning ended.

D'Arnaud got the go-ahead RBI in the 6th. �Presley and Durham led off with back-to-back singles. �A bunt by Watts went a little awry, and Durham was out at second, but Presley made it safely to third and Watts was safe on first. �That set up d'Arnaud, who lined a double into left field, scoring Presley, for the 2-1 lead.

The Curve tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the 9th. �Negrych reached second base on a throwing error by the Rock Cats' third baseman Juan Portes. �Hague walked, then 2B Jordy Mercer grounded to third base. �Portes made the force out of Negrych at third, but then made a throwing error, and Hague ended up on third, with Mercer safe on second. �A wild pitch allowed Hague to score, and a single by 3B Josh Harrison brought in Mercer.

Jeff Sues pitched a scoreless 8th inning for the Curve, retiring the side in order. �Danny Moskos finished things off by striking out the side in the 9th, earning his 12th save of the season.

The Curve have a school-day special in New Britain tomorrow, with the game beginning at 10:30 am.

Noris Homers Twice, Taschner Makes His Second Rehab Appearance

West Virginia Power �8, �Hickory Crawdads �1 (box)

The Power turned on the power in three consecutive innings, taking a big lead after 5 innings in West Virginia on Monday. �That served them well, because rain halted the game after those 5 innings, and after a delay, the 5 innings were declared good enough, giving the Power the win.

Starter Jason Erickson pitched all 5 innings, allowing just one run on 4 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts. �He worked around a fielding error by 3B Jesus Brito in the 1st inning, and retired the side in two more innings. �The only Hickory run came in the 3rd, on a lead-off double and an RBI single. �Erickson also gave up two singles in the 4th, but a ground ball got him out of the jam.

Crawdads' starter Joe Wieland also went all 5 innings, but he did not have as nice a day as Erickson. �After allowing only one hit, a single by 1B Aaron Baker, in the first two innings, Wieland was bombarded in the next three innings. �With one out in the 3rd, SS Benji Gonzalez tripled, CF Evan Chambers singled to deep short, scoring Gonzalez, Baker singled again, and RF David Rubinstein doubled, driving in both Chambers and Baker, and the Power took a 3-1 lead.

LF Rogelios Noris led off the 4th inning with a solo home run. �Wieland got one out, then gave up a single to DH Jose Hernandez. Gonzalez's ground out moved Hernandez to second, and Hernandez scored from there on Chambers' second RBI single of the game. �Power up, 5-1.

Wieland came out again in the 5th inning, and was greeted by 2B Jarek Cunningham's line drive single into left field. �Wieland got two outs, but then C Ramon Cabrera doubled, plating Cunningham. �Noris followed with his second homer of the game, and his 8th of the season, this one for 2 runs. �That was all, as the rains halted play.

Power back-up catcher Josue Peley is on his way to the Red Sox organization. �He was traded this morning for OF Jonathan Van Every.

Wins for Alderson and Baker, Three Hits For Rubinstein

Saturday night in the lower minor leagues:

Altoona Curve �7, �Reading Phillies �3 (box)

Four runs in the 4th inning gave the Curve the edge and propelled starter Tim Alderson to his 4th win of the season. �Alderson pitched 6 innings and allowed just one run on 4 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5 batters.

The Curve scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, on a lead-off walk by SS Chase d'Arnaud, singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison, and a grounder by 1B Matt Hague that became a double play (no RBI for Hague). �The Phillies' run came in the 2nd inning. �Former Indy Indian 3B Tagg Bozied began the inning with a single, and went to second on a wild pitch. �A walk and a grounder put Bozied on third base, and another single drove Bozied across the plate to tie the score.

The big 4th inning began with a single by LF Alex Presley. A passed ball put Presley on second. �After a walk by RF Miles Durham, Alderson dropped down a sacrifice bunt that went for a fielder's choice as Presley made it to third base before the throw. �With the bases loaded, Chase d'Arnaud walked, forcing in Presley with the go-ahead run. �Gorkys Hernadez's sacrifice fly plated Durham, and Josh Harrison's double into right field scored both Alderson and d'Arnaud.

C Hector Gimenez blasted his third home run in three games with a 2-run shot in the 7th, following a single by Hague.

Alderson allowed 2 hits and 2 walks over the last 4 innings he pitched. �Jack Taschner, with the Curve on a rehab assignment, pitched the 7th inning. �He retired the first two batters, then gave up a single, a walk, and an RBI single for one run. �The inning ended on a pop out.

Mike Dubee pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. �Danny Moskos pitched the 9th, and allowed a run on two singles, a hit batter, and a sacrifice fly.

Josh Harrison and Alex Presley each had a double and a single for the Curve, and both Harrison and Gimenez contributed 2 RBI.

Gimenez And Brito Homer Two Days In A Row; Morris Wins...

The Indianapolis Indians had a scheduled off day on Wednesday, but the rest of the minor league organization was going strong, beginning with an early game in West Virginia:

Lexington Legends �5, �West Virginia Power �4 (box)

The Power and the Legends played a late-morning game for the second time in two days. �Today, though, it was the Legends who came out on top, scoring 5 runs on 10 hits, and breaking a 4-4 tie with a run in the top of the 8th. �The Power scored their 4 runs on only 5 hits.

2B Elevys Gonzalez recorded 3 hits in the game, and he put the Power onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 1st inning, with a 2-run homer following a walk by CF Evan Chambers. Lexington tied the score in the top of the 3rd with two runs on a single and two doubles. �Both Elevys Gonzalez and SS Benji Gonzalez took the lead back again in the bottom of the inning. �Benji walked and advanced to second base on a balk. �Elevys singled, moving Benji to third base. �Both Gonzalezes executed a double steal, with Benji stealing home to break the tie. �Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and C Ramon Cabrera loaded the bases, but the Power could not push another run across.

Power starter Jason Erickson had kept the Legends from scoring in the 4th and 5th innings, but in the 6th, he gave up a solo homer to tie the score. �He walked the next batter after the home run, and was relieved at that point by Gabriel Alvarado. Alvarado gave up back-to-back singles to the first two runners he faced, and the batter Erickson had put on base came around to score, giving the Legends a 4-3 lead.

3B Jesus Brito homered for the second time in two days to lead off the 7th inning and tie the score again, at 4-4. �But in the top of the 8th, with Zach Foster on the mound, two singles and a fielding error by RF David Rubinstein put runners on second and third bases. �An RBI ground out brought the go-ahead run across the plate.

The Power had a chance to tie the score again in the 8th, when Baker walked, then moved to second base on a passed ball. �Cabrera's single brought Baker racing around third base and heading for the plate, but he was thrown out by the Legends' left fielder. �Rubinstein got as far as third base in the 9th inning, on a walk, a stolen base, and a ground out, but that inning ended before he could go any further.

Elevys Gonzalez also singled in the 5th inning, but was erased in a double play. �Foster was charged with the loss, his first of the season.

Curve Take Two From Erie

Saturday evening wins for the entire Pirates' minor league system!

Altoona Curve 8, �Erie SeaWolves 3 � �Game 1 (box)

Altoona had a double-header, making up for a game that had been rained out back in April. �The Curve exploded out of the box with a 4-run 1st inning and never looked back in Game 1. �3B Jordy Mercer led the charge by going 4-for-4 with an RBI, and RF Alex Presley and 1B Matt Hague had 3 hits each.

A throwing error put SS Chase d'Arnaud on base to begin the game, and singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez, Hague, and Mercer, plus a double by Presley and a wild pitch brought in those 4 runs in the top of the 1st. �Erie came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning, on three walks and a double off starter Jared Hughes. Hughes made a wild pitch on strike three to put a runner on base in the 2nd inning, and a double and a sacrifice fly brought in another run, to bring Erie within one run, 4-3.

Hague led off the 3rd inning with a walk, then stole second base. �Mercer and C Hector Gimenez followed with singles, and Presley's second double of the game plus another single by LF Jose De Los Santos added 3 more runs. �Another walk, this one to DH Jim Negrych, began the 4th inning, and he scored on two singles and a fly out with a missed catch error by the Erie third baseman.

Hughes settled down a bit in the 3rd and 4th innings, but began the 5th with a walk and a single. �Mike Dubee finished up the inning with a strikeout and a grounder force out, then allowed only one hit over the next two innings. �Dubee earned the win. �Hughes struck out 7 batters in his 4.1 innings, and Dubee added 5 more strikeouts.

Curve 7, �SeaWolves 3 � �Game 2 (box)

The Curve jumped out to an early lead in this game also, with 3 runs in the top of the 1st. �This time, SS Chase d'Arnaud opened the game with a walk, and singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez, DH Jim Negrych, and 3B Jordy Mercer brought in 3 runs. �Derek Hankins gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the 2nd, on three singles, a walk, and a triple, tying the game at 3-3.

LF Alex Presley liked the idea of that triple, so he hit one of his own in the 3rd inning, following a single by 2B Josh Harrison, to break the tie. �C Kris Watts gave the Curve an insurance run in the 4th, with a lead-off home run. The Curve bats were quiet for a couple of innings, then woke up again in the top of the 7th. �With one out, Negrych and 1B Matt Hague hit back-to-back doubles, and Harrison added another single, for 2 more runs.

Hankins retired 10 Erie batters in order after the runs scored in the 2nd inning. �He got a strikeout but gave up two walks to begin the 6th inning, and was relieved by Corey Hamman. Hamman finished the inning with two quick outs. �Danny Moskos pitched a perfect inning in the 7th, including 2 strikeouts, to finish the game. �Hankins earned his 4th win of the season.

The Curve recorded a total of 23 hits over the two games.

Curve Shut Out, West Virginia Powers Up

Harrisburg Senators 7, �Altoona Curve 0 (box)

It was a tough afternoon in Altoona on Wednesday, as the Curve were held to just 3 hits in this shutout. �1B Matt Hague, RF Miles Durham, and LF Alex Presley were the only Curve batters to get hits, and all three were singles. �SS Chase d'Arnaud and Hague also reached base on walks. �The singles came in the 2nd (Durham), 4th (Hague), and 5th (Presley) innings, and all three runners were left on base when the innings ended. �D'Arnaud walked to lead off the 6th inning, but was erased in a double play. �Hague walked in the 7th, and he was also eliminated in a double play. �The Curve never had a base runner reach second base, nor did they ever have more than one runner on base in any one inning.

Curve starter Justin Wilson pitched 5 scoreless innings to begin his outing. �He allowed only one batter over the minimum in the first three innings (a walk). �Another batter who walked to open the 4th inning was picked off base. �Wilson gave up two singles in the 4th, but left them stranded. �The Senators finally scored against Wilson in the 6th inning, on a hit batter, a stolen base, and an RBI double. �Wilson went 6 innings total, allowing that one run on 3 hits, with 6 strikeouts, but without run support, his strong outing turned into a loss.

Things fell apart for reliever Corey Hamman, who took over to begin the 7th inning. �It began with a walk and a 2-run homer. �Hamman got the next two batters to strike out, but a wild pitch on strike three put the second of those on base. �After another walk, a 3-run homer gave Harrisburg a 6-0 lead. �Mike Dubee relieved Hamman to finish the inning, then pitched a scoreless 8th. �Danny Moskos pitched the 9th inning, and gave up one more run on a double and a single. �A hit batter and another single had a Harrisburg batter rounding third and heading for the plate, but RF Durham and 2B Josh Harrison got the ball right on target to C Hector Gimenez, who�tagged the runner out at the plate.

Starters Struggle for Power and Curve

The Bradenton Marauders were rained out on Sunday afternoon in St. Lucie.

Asheville Tourists �6, �West Virginia Power �3 (box)

Hunter Strickland got into trouble in the first two innings, and the Power could not catch up to the Tourists this afternoon in Charleston, West Virginia. �Strickland opened the game by giving up a walk, a single, and a 3-run home run before he could recored an out. �In the 2nd inning, he gave up a double, a single, and RBI grounder and an RBI double, and the Tourists were leading 5-0. �Strickland also gave up two singles in the 3rd, and one more in the 4th, though that runner was erased in a double play. �Strickland finally had a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. �He finished his 5 innings having allowed 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.

The Power managed only two hits and a walk over the first five innings, but did not ever really threaten to score. �In the 6th, SS Benji Gonzalez singled, then moved to second on a ground out. �He got as far as third base on a wild pitch, but got no further before the inning ended. �3B Jesus Brito also got to third after a double and a ground out in the 7th, but didn't score. �Finally, in the 8th inning, when Asheville starter Wes Musick finally sat down, C Ramon Cabrera led off with a single, 2B Adenson Chourio walked, and Gonzalez singled to load the bases. �CF Evan Chambers singled, driving in Cabrera and Chourio with the Power's first runs of the game. �1B Kyle Morgan was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, with one out. �Brito's sacrifice fly scored Gonzalez, to make the score 5-3.

Maurice Bankston pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Power, allowing one walk and striking out one batter. �Ryan Kelly pitched the last two innings. �He worked out of a first-and-third jam in the 8th inning (double and hit batter), but gave up a solo home run in the 9th inning. �Strickland was charged with the loss, his second of the season.

Gonzalez was the only Power batter to have two hits in the game, and Brito's double was the only Power extra-base hit of the game. �Morgan and Chourio also had singles.

Erie SeaWolves �8, �Altoona Curve �2 (box)

The Curve posted only 6 hits in the game, and the SeaWolves doubled up their hits and made better use of the hits they made.

DH Jim Negrych got the Curve started in the top of the 1st, with a one-out single. �3B Jordy Mercer walked, and a wild pitch moved both runners up. �RF�Miles Durham brought in Negrych with a sacrifice fly to give the Curve an early 1-0 lead.

Starter Justin Wilson worked around two singles in the 1st inning and put the side down in order in the 2nd, but had some trouble in the 3rd. �A single and a double put runners on the corners, and an RBI ground out tied the game. �Wilson's wild pitch brought in the second runner to give Erie a lead they would not give up. �Wilson got through the 4th, picking a runner off second base. �In the 5th, two walks and a fielding error by Wilson on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases. �A ground out brought in one run, and a single plated the second run. �When the runner from first went to steal second base, the runner from third scored on the throw down to second base. �That chased Wilson from the game, and he was eventually charged with the loss, going 4.2 innings and allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and 3 walks. �He also struck out 4 batters.

Derek Hankins relieved Wilson and ended the 5th inning. �But Hankins gave up a double and a 2-run homer in the 6th inning, to make the score 7-1. �A single and a double added another run in the 7th inning.

After the 1st inning, the Curve threatened in the 2nd inning, when C Hector Gimenez led off with a double and 1B Matt Hague single, moving Gimenez to third base. �That's as far as he got, though. �Two outs ended that inning, and the next 10 Curve batters after that also were retired in order. �Jordy Mercer walked in the 6th, but was left stranded. �Three Curve went down in order in the 7th, too. �Finally in the 8th, the Curve scored again. �LF Alex Presley led off with a single, and CF Gorkys Hernandez was hit by a pitch. �Jim Negrych grounded to short, and Hernandez was forced out at second, but Negrych made it to first base safely. �Mercer doubled, scoring Presley, but the Curve still left two runners on base.

Michael Dubee pitched the 8th inning for the Curve. �He gave up a single, but that runner was erased when a line drive right to Hague at first base let Hague make an unassisted double play.

9th Inning Rallies Sink Indians and Pirates

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 4, �Indianapolis Indians 1

The Indians and the Yankees took a 1-1 tie into the top of the 8th in this afternoon's game in Bradenton, Florida. �But that was when the Yankees got to reliever Jean Machi, who gave up two singles, including one for an RBI, to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. �Back-to-back singles and a 2-RBI double added two more runs in the 9th. �The Indians scored in the 1st inning, on a double by 1B Brian Myrow and an RBI single by 3B Pedro Alvarez. Machi suffered the loss, with 3 innings of work, including one walk and one strikeout. �Octavio Dotel started the game for the Indians and pitched "one inning", with 3 strikeouts, though in order to get in a little more work, he actually got to face 5 batters and make 5 outs. �He threw 21 pitches.

Astros 6, �Pirates 4 � (box)

Starter Zach Duke pitched 6.2 scoreless innings and allowed only 2 hits and a walk, with 2 strikeouts, to get the Pirates off to a good start in their afternoon Grapefruit League game in Kissimmee, Florida. �Duke had been scheduled to throw either 6 innings or 80 pitches, and after going back out to begin the 7th inning, he finished at right around 80 pitches. �He also contributed 2 of the Pirates' 8 hits, both doubles, one into each outfield corner, though he did not come around to score either time. �The Pirates got onto the scoreboard first, with one run in the 4th inning off the Astros' Roy Oswalt. �LF Lastings Milledge doubled to lead off the inning, then advanced to third base on a ground out, and scored on an RBI single by Jeff Clement. Clement scored in the top of the 7th, when he doubled, went to third base on SS Bobby Crosby's single, and then scrambled home when 3B Ramon Vasquez bounced into a double play.

Duke took it into the 7th inning, but when he gave up a 2-out single (only the second hit he'd allowed), he was relieved by Javier Lopez. Lopez finished that inning, but gave up a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt plus a fielding error by 3B Josh Harrison, who was up from minor league camp. �A triple off Jack Taschner, and the Astros had a 4-2 lead.

Led by the minor leaguers, the Pirates came back to tie it up in the top of the 9th. �LF Brandon Moss walked, and CF Robbie Grossman singled. �A wild pitch brought Moss across the plate, then SS Benji Gonzalez singled to score Grossman. �Tie score, 4-4. �Unfortunately, the Astros rallied in the bottom of the frame. �With reliever Jeremy Powell on the mound, a double and a walk-off 2-run homer gave Houston the win, with Powell charged for the loss.

Also in the game: �2B Shelby Ford, 1B Steve Pearce, PH Erik Kratz, and C Luke Carlin.

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