Tag: Brandon Holden

2011 Prospect Watching: Alvarado, Bankston, Navarro, And Holden

Continuing through the Pirates' minor league pitching ranks:

Gabriel Alvarado --  R/R,  6' 2",  175 lb 
Alvarado is a Venezuelan native who made his US debut in 2008 after two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League.  He moved up to West Virginia for 2009, where he pitched mostly as a starter, with an additional 4 relief appearances.  He earned a 6-10 record and a 5.05 ERA, and in 114 innings, he allowed 135 hits, 64 runs, and 33 walks (2.6 walks/ 9 innings), with 96 strikeouts (7.6 K/ 9 innings).  Alvarado returned to West Virginia for 2010, but this time made just 4 starts and the rest of the time pitched in relief.  He earned a 3-5 record, with 5 saves and a 4.21 ERA.  He threw 83.1 innings, and allowed 86 hits, 39 earned runs, and 26 walks (2.8 walks/ 9 innings), with 60 strikeouts (6.5 K/ 9 innings, a bit down from the previous season).  Alvarado is going to turn 24 years old in May.  He did not shown a lot of progress last season, but he now has two seasons of A-level experience.  With the crowd that is going to be looking for a spot in the West Virginia bullpen, Alvarado will probably begin the season at A+ Bradenton, due to that experience.  He'll need to get going and get the strikeouts up.  


Maurice Bankston --  R/R,  6' 4",  205 lb 
Bankston was the Pirates' 8th round pick in the 2007 draft.  He pitched for the GCL Pirates in 2007 and at State College in 2008, then moved up to West Virginia to begin the 2009 season.  He struggled in 9 starts there (1-4 and 4.98 ERA, and 48 hits in 43.1 innings), and was moved back to State College later in the season.  He made another 9 starts for the Spikes with better results:  2-4, 2.34 ERA, and 54 hits in 50 innings.  He struck out 25 batters at both levels.  Bankston returned to West Virginia for the 2010 season, but made just 2 starts, and like Alvarado, was moved to the bullpen.  He began the season well, with a 2.93 ERA in 6 relief appearances and 13 hits in 15.1 innings in April.  He slipped to a 4.41 ERA in 6 relief appearances and one start in June, with 16 hits in 18.1 innings.  June was a horrible month for Bankston, with an exploding ERA over 11, and 31 hits in 17.1 innings.  He settled back down for the rest of the season, as he earned a 3.29 ERA in July and finished the season with a 1.32 ERA for August.  Bankston finished the season with a 4.68 ERA and a 7-4 record with 3 saves.  In 82.2 innings, he allowed 43 earned runs and 85 hits.  He walked 29 batters (3.2 walks/ 9 innings), and struck out 58 batters (6.3 K/ 9 innings).  Bankston is in a similar position to Alvarado -- he'll turn 24 in the middle of the 2011 season, and despite not having made a lot of progress in the past couple of seasons, he will likely begin the 2011 season in Bradenton's bullpen.  

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Spikes’ and Pirates’ Bats Are Booming

Good news and bad news today...

The bad news is that OF Starling Marte has had some problems with his hand after surgery.� Marte had played in two rehab games last week, going 3-for-6, but has not played in over a week.� He's going to need to rest the hand for awhile yet -- a setback indeed.

The good news is that OF Mel Rojas Jr, the Pirates' 3rd-round pick in the 2010 draft is reported to be on his way to Pittsburgh to sign a contract.� If all goes as expected, he could report to the State College Spikes by the weekend.

A few non-all-star-games going on today:

State College Spikes� 11,� Connecticut Tigers� 1 (box)

The Spikes posted 13 hits on their way to 11 runs this evening in Connecticut. 1B Matt Curry led the team with a 3-for-3 game and 2 RBI.� RF Adalberto Santos, DH Chase Lyles, LF Pat Irvine, and C Miguel Mendez each had 2 hits, and 3B Kelson Brown contributed 3 RBI.

The Spikes started off with 2 runs in the top of the 1st.� 2B Walker Gourley began the rally with a walk, and Santos reached base on a fielder's choice that Gourley beat out.� Curry singled, scoring Gourley, and Lyles singled, bringing in Santos.� They added 4 runs in the 3rd inning, when Curry and Lyles both singled again.� Irvine followed with a double to plate Curry.� Brown's single drove in both Lyles and Irvine.� Mendez made it runners on the corners with another single, and Brown scored when CF Kyle Saukko bounced into force out at second but beat the throw to first base.

The Tigers scored their lone run in the bottom of the 3rd, on two singles and a sacrifice fly.� It was the only run that Zack Von Rosenberg allowed in his 5 innings.� He gave up 5 hits and one run, and he struck out 5 batters.� Colton Cain, Casey Sadler, Teddy Fallon, and Jason Townsend all pitched one scoreless inning.� Townsend was the only one who allowed a hit, a single in the 9th.� Fallon was the only one to allow a walk, and he erased that runner with a double play.� Sadler struck out the side, all swinging, in the 7th.

The Spikes kept going after Connecticut scored their run.� Santos tripled with one out in the 4th.� Curry walked, and Lyles reached on a fielding error, as Santos scored.� A throwing error on the play put Curry on third and Lyles on second.� Irvine singled, and Curry crossed the plate, then Brown's sacrifice fly brought in Lyles.� Spikes ahead, 9-1.� Back-to-back doubles by Santos (ground-rule) and Curry added the first run in the 6th.� A walk to Irvine and Brown being hit by a pitch loaded the bases.� Mendez singled, scoring Curry and giving the Spikes an 11-1 lead.� The Spikes' bats slowed down after that.� They had only one base runner over the last three innings -- Curry walked to begin the 8th, but was erased in a double play.

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Morris Loses In Pre-Futures Start; Power Win In 10

Thursdays' action in the Pirates lower minor league organization:

Binghamton Mets �4, �Altoona Curve �3 (box)

It only took two innings to get all the scoring done in this game, as Bryan Morris suffered his 4th loss with the Curve in what will be his last start before the All-Star break and his participation in the Futures Game. �Morris didn't get past the 2nd inning, as he gave up all 4 Mets' runs on 6 hits. �Morris got the first batter he faced to ground out, but then immediately got into trouble with a single and a ground-rule double, putting two runners in scoring position. �A ground out allowed the runner from third base to score. �A hit batter put runners on the corners, and two singles followed, with a second run scoring. �Morris struck out the last batter of the 1st inning and the first batter of the 2nd inning. �Then he gave up a solo home run, and the Mets had a 4-0 lead. �A walk, a single, and a wild pitch followed the home run, but Morris was able to leave them on base as the inning ended. �I suspect he had run into problems with his pitch count as well, because Derek Hankins came out to pitch the 3rd inning.

The Curve batters came back with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. �2B Jordy Mercer led off with a line drive double, and he scored when 1B Miles Durham and LF Anthony Norman hit back-to-back singles. �Bryan Morris sacrifice bunted Durham and Norman into scoring position, and both of them scored on SS Chase d'Arnaud's RBI single. �The Curve were behind by just one run, 4-3.

But the Curve couldn't erase that narrow margin. �They put runners on base in all but one of the remaining innings, but none of them could come around to score. �Nine base runners were left stranded. �Two runners were left on base in the 3rd, when 3B Josh Harrison singled and RF Brandon Jones walked. �Mercer doubled again in the 6th, and Norman walked, again leaving two runners on. �In the top of the 9th, the Curve's final effort, CF Gorkys Hernandez singled with two outs, but a fly out ended the game.

Derek Hankins pitched 6 scoreless innings after Morris hit the showers. �He retired the first 6 batters he faced in order, including striking out the side in the 4th. �He hit a batter in the 5th, but immediately erased him with a double play. �Another double play got Hankins out of a walk-and-single jam in the 7th. �Anthony Claggett pitched the final inning. �He gave up a single, but that runner was thrown out trying to steal second base.

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Marte Begins Rehab; Spikes’ Rookies Shine In Pro Debut

GCL Pirates 10, �GCL Yankees �1 (box)

The Pirates beat up on the Yankees this afternoon, and faced an old friend. �John Van Benschoten made a rehab start for the Yankees, and the Pirates did not treat him very nicely. �RF�Gregory Polanco singled and stole second base, and LF Exicardo Cayonez walked on Van Benschoten in the 1st inning, though he kept them from scoring. �3B Eric Avila began the 2nd inning with a solo homer off Van Benschoten, and C Joey Schoenfeld also walked.

Once Van Benschoten left (after 2 innings), the Pirates continued to pound at the Yankees. �They scored another run in the 3rd in two errors and an RBI single by Cayonez. �They added 3 more runs in the 4th. �After a walk to 1B Dylan Child, rehabbing CF Starling Marte, working his way back after hand surgery, singled. Child scored on 2B Jorge Bishop's double, and Marte came in on a wild pitch. �Polanco's RBI single brought in Bishop.

Colton Cain began the game by giving up one hit over his first two innings, then allowed a run on two singles and two walks in the 3rd inning. �He started the 4th inning and got two outs, then walked a batter, and was relieved by Yeyber Sanchez. Sanchez finished the 4th, then pitched a scoreless 5th, allowing two hits. �James Archibald made his pro debut with three ground outs in the 6th inning. �Bryce Weidman, Dovydas Neverauskas, and Fraylin Campos all added a scoreless inning for the Pirates.

The Pirates scored 2 more runs in the 7th. �Avila was hit by a pitch, then stole both second and third bases, and scored on DH�Luis Solano's single. �A fielding error allowed Solano to score. �Back-to-back singles by Child and CF�Junior Sosa began the rally in the 9th. �two passed balls loaded the bases, and a ground out scored Child. �Cayonez doubled, driving in two more runs, to give the Pirates a total of 3 in the inning and 10 in the game.

Starling Marte went 2-for-4 for the day, with one run scored. �Cayonez was 3-for-5 with a double and 3 RBI, and Avila was 2-for-3 with 2 runs, a homer, and an RBI.

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Spikes Lose Home Opener; Extra Inning Wins For Curve And Marauders

Saturday's games for the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates

Williamsburg Crosscutters �5, �State College Spikes �3 (box)

A full house sell-out in State College went home disappointed tonight, as the Spikes lost their home opener. �The Crosscutters scored 2 runs off starter Zack Dodson in the 2nd inning, on a walk, a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly. �Dodson gave up only one other hit in 3 more innings of work, and erased that runner with a double play.

The Spikes tied the score with a run in the bottom of the 2nd and another run in the 3rd. �A walk to 1B Gerlis Rodriguez open the inning. �A single by DH Kelson Brown, and a fielding error on CF Justin Bencsko's ball to first base loaded the bases for the Spikes. �C Miguel Mendez drove in Rodriguez with an RBI ground out. �Another fielding error put SS Walker Gourley on second base to begin the 3rd. �He scored on 3B Chase Lyles' line drive single into left field.

Mitch Fienemann took over from Dodson to begin the 4th. �After getting two outs, He gave up a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. �The Spikes tied it up again in the bottom of the inning, on a double by Mendez, a passed ball, and a single by LF Melvin De La Cruz.

But the Crosscutters kept hammering at Fienemann, scoring a run in the 7th on two singles and a double, and another run in the 8th on four singles. �Sandobal Septimo finished the 8th for Fienemann, then pitched a scoreless 9th, despite giving up a double and a single.

Chase Lyles had two singles for the Spikes, and Justin Bencsko also had a single. �The Spikes collected 6 hits, while the Crosscutters posted 14 hits.

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OverPowering the Tourists

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off today, and the Bradenton Marauders and Brevard County Manatees were rained out, so the Power were the only ones in the lower part of the organization in action. �The Marauders and Manatees will play a double header on Tuesday, beginning at noon.

Four Power players were named to the South Atlantic League �2010 North Division All-Star Team: � LHP Nathan Baker, C Ramon Cabrera, OF David Rubinstein, and 1B�Aaron Baker, who was named to the team as the DH. � �The All-Star Game will be held on June 22nd in Greenville.

West Virginia Power �12, �Asheville Tourists �4 (box)

LF Rogelios Noris led the way with 3 hits and 3 RBI as the Power scored 9 runs in the late innings to send the Tourists packing.

Asheville had the early lead, scoring 3 runs in the 1st inning off Power starter Brandon Holden. �A single, a stolen base, back-to-back doubles, and back-to-back singles brought in the 3 runs, all with just one out. �Holden got it out of his system in that inning, though. �He retired the Tourists in order over the next three innings, gave up a single in the 5th but caught that runner stealing, then retired the side in order to finish up in the 6th inning. �Holden did not allow any walks, and struck out one batter in his 6 innings.

The Power had only one batter reach base over the first three innings. �C Ramon Cabrera reached base on a fielding error in the 2nd, but was left stranded. �1B Aaron Baker scored the first Power run with a solo homer in the 4th inning. �Rogelios Noris singled and Cabrera walked after the home run, but a double play ended the inning with the Power trailing 3-1.

CF Evan Chambers tied the game in the 5th inning with another home run. �He brought RF Jose Hernandez in with him, and the score was 3-3.

The Power took the lead in the 7th. �SS Benji Gonzalez led off with a single, then stole second base for his 8th swipe of the season. �After a walk and a fly out, Baker walked, and Noris brought both Gonzalez and Noris in with a double into left field. �Noris stole third (his first stolen base of the season), and he scored easily when Cabrera singled. �The inning ended when Cabrera was thrown out trying to steal second base, but the Power had taken a 6-3 lead.

The top of the 8th brought a Power explosion, as 10 batters came to the plate, scoring 6 runs. �After a strikeout, Hernandez began the fun with a walk, and DH Kyle Morgan doubled, moving Hernandez to third. �A line out back to the pitcher made the runners hold their positions, but that meant that all of the scoring happened with 2 outs. �Chambers walked to load the bases. �2B Jarek Cunningham singled up the middle, scoring Hernandez and Morgan (2 runs). �A passed ball moved the runners up to second and third. �Baker walked, but ball four was a wild pitch, so Chambers scored from third (3). �A new relief pitcher didn't help Asheville's situation -- Noris greeted the new pitcher with a double, plating Cunningham (4). �A single by Cabrera and a missed catch error at first base brought in Baker and Noris (6) to complete the scoring. �Power up 12-3.

Mike Williams took over for Holden on the mound for the final 3 innings. �Williams pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th. �A missed catch error by 1B Baker and a fielding error by CF Chambers put two runners on in the 8th. �A single gave the Tourists one more run, but a fly out and a pick-off/caught stealing ended the inning. �Williams worked around a single in the 9th but kept the Tourists from scoring again, and he was awarded his first save of the season.

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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"

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3 Hits For Hernandez and Sanchez

Altoona Curve �7, �Reading Phillies �1 (box)

Justin Wilson pitched 5 scoreless innings to earn his third win, and CF Gorkys Hernandez had 3 hits to lead the Curve over the R-Phils on Friday evening.

The Curve jumped out to an early lead with 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. �SS Chase d'Arnaud led off with his second triple of the season. �He scored on Hernandez's double. �2B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch and 1B Matt Hague walked to load the bases. �3B Jordy Mercer was also hit by a pitch, forcing in another run. �LF Alex Presley bounced into a double play, erasing Mercer, but Harrison scored (no RBI). �A passed ball allowed Hague to score, and the Curve were ahead 4-0. �The Curve added another run in the 2nd inning, when d'Arnaud beat out an infield single to third base, stole second, then came around to score on Hernandez's second double of the game.

Hernandez did not get a hit in the 5th, but instead he led off the inning with a walk. �Back-to-back singles by Harrison and Hague loaded the bases with no outs. �Mercer grounded to third, where former Indy Indian Tagg Bozied made the play to force out Hernandez at the plate, leaving the bases still loaded. �Another pair of back-to-back singles, by Presley and RF Miles Durham brought in a run each.

Hernandez picked up his third hit, a single, in the 8th inning, but was out in a force play. �Presley also doubled in the 7th inning.

Justin Wilson gave up just 2 hits and a walk in his 5 innings. �Tagg Bozied singled to open the 2nd inning, but was erased in a double play. �Wilson gave up the other single and the walk in the 3rd inning, but two strikeouts left those runners stranded. �Wilson retired the last 8 batters he faced.

Dustin Molleken relieved Wilson to begin the 6th inning. �He allowed a double in the 6th but did not let the runner score. �He loaded the bases with three singles (another to Bozied) in the 7th, but two strikeouts and a fly out got Molleken out of the inning without a run scoring. �Ronald Uviedo pitched 2 innings, and allowed the R-Phils' only run in the 8th, on a walk and two singles.

Reliever Diego Moreno, who was recently promoted to Altoona from Bradenton, has been placed on the DL with right rotator cuff strain. � The Pirates are sending reliever Jack Taschner, who has been on the DL with left hamstring issues, is going to be joining the Curve for a rehab assignment.

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Three Hits Can Be Good Or Bad

Two games, each with one team collecting only 3 hits... which can be good or bad

Bradenton Marauders �2, �Clearwater Threshers �0 (box)

In this game, "only 3 hits" was good, because it was the Marauders' pitching staff who held the Threshers to just 3 hits. �Nate Adcock made the start and pitched 6 shutout one-hit innings, with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. �He worked around a walk in the 1st and worked around a hit batter in the 2nd. �The single and another walk came in the 4th, with the lead runner reaching 3rd base on a throwing error by C Eric Fryer. That was the only time in the game that the Threshers had a runner get as far as third base. �Adcock retired the next 7 batters, to finish his day's work.

Mike Colla relieved Adcock to begin the 7th inning, and he also gave up just one hit, but left that batter on first base. �Colla retired the side in order in the 8th, and began the 9th with a line out and a walk. �Tyler Cox replaced Colla on the mound, and he gave up a single to the first batter he faced, then got a double play to end the threat and the game.

The Marauders themselves put up just 6 hits, but they put their hits to good use. �In the top of the 7th, LF Quincy Latimore singled with two outs, and then scored on DH Tony Sanchez's RBI double. �In the 8th, 1B Calvin Anderson blasted a solo home run to give the Marauders some insurance. �It was Anderson's second homer in two days. �2B James Skelton also doubled in that same inning, but was left on base. �The other two Bradenton hits were a single by SS Brock Holt to open the game, and a lead-off single by Sanchez in the 2nd inning.

Lakewood Blue Claws �3, �West Virginia Power �0 (box)

This was the game where "only 3 hits" was not good -- those three were all the Power could muster up. �RF David Rubinstein and 3B Jose Brito each had a single, and C Ramon Cabrera hit a triple. �1B Aaron Baker and SS Benji Gonzalez each walked, but 4 of those base runners were left on base, and the other was erased in a double play. �CF Evan Chambers reached base on a throwing error, and got as far as second, but he too was left on.

Brandon Holden made his second start (7th appearance overall) for the Power. �He pitched 5 innings, allowing one run on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts. �That run came on back-to-back doubles by Lakewood in the bottom of the 1st inning. �Holden had to work around runners on base in each of his remaining innings, but did not let the Blue Claws score again. �Gabriel Alvarado pitched the last 3 innings of the game. �He gave up 2 more runs, on a walk followed by back-to-back doubles, in the bottom of the 8th inning. �Alvarado also struck out 4 batters.

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Altoona One-Hit; Bradenton Wins With 5-Run 10th

Akron Aeros �2, �Altoona Curve �0 (box)

CF Gorkys Hernandez had the Curve's only hit on Tuesday night as three Akron pitchers combined for the one-hit shut out. �Aeros' Scott Barnes earned the win with 5.1 hitless and scoreless innings, then Steven Wright followed with 1.2 more hitless and scoreless innings. �Omar Aguilar pitched the final two innings, and he also kept the Curve scoreless, but Hernandez led off the 8th with his hit. �Hernandez got as far as third base on two ground outs, but he was left there 90 feet away from scoring. �The catch for the Aero pitchers was that they allowed a total of 8 walks. �The Curve had at least one base runner on in 6 of their 9 innings because of all the walks. �They even loaded the bases on three walks in the 6th, but could not push a run across the plate.

Curve starter Justin Wilson pitched 5.2 innings and allowed both of the Aeros' runs on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 6 batters. �Wilson worked around two singles and a throwing error by C Hector Gimenez in the 1st inning, then got a strikeout to slide out of a jam with runners on the corners in the 2nd. �He retired the next 11 batters in order before giving up a walk and a 2-run homer in the 6th. �Tony Watson came on in relief of Wilson after the homer. �Watson finished the 6th with a fly out, then gave up a lone single in each of the next two innings. �Ronald Uviedo pitched the 9th inning and also gave up a lone single.

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