Tag: Charlie Morton

Pirates Take Final Warm-Up

Pirates  4,  Phillies  1

The Pirates appreciated the warmer temperatures this afternoon -- warmer than last night, anyway.  They held the Phillies to just 2 hits, and starter Charlie Morton gave up only one unearned run in 5 innings, as they won the second of two pre-season games in Philadelphia.  

A throwing error by 3B Pedro Alvarez put the first Phillies' batter on base in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  Two ground outs moved the runner to third, then brought him in.  Morton worked around a single and a walk in the 1st and another walk in the 3rd.  He made an error in the 5th, when he missed the catch on a toss from 1B Steve Pearce, but worked around that too.  When Morton was done, Mike Crotta and Chris Resop each pitched a perfect inning.  Joel Hanrahan pitched the 8th and allowed a two-out triple, but left the runner standing on third.  Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless 9th, with a walk.

The Pirates scored two in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Lyle Overbay doubled, then Alvarez blasted a home run over the right center field wall.  Steve Pearce doubled to lead off the 6th.  He moved to second on a ground out, then scored on 3B Jordy Mercer's RBI single.  The Pirates added an insurance run in the 9th.  SS Josh Rodriguez singled, then pinch-hitter Josh Harrison moved him to third with another single.  LF John Bowker drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly.  

2B Brian Friday also singled in the game, and CF Starling Marte got into the game as well.


The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Bradenton this afternoon. 

More Reassignments And Another Loss


Rays  9,  Pirates  5
The Pirates out-hit the Rays 10-9 this afternoon in Port Charlotte, Florida, but the Rays made the most of their opportunities and took the win.  The Pirates got busy in the top of the 1st, when Pedro Ciriaco, in center field again, opened the game with a single, then stole base.  He moved to third on a fly out, then scored on C Ryan Doumit's double into right field.  RF Matt Diaz started the top of the 2nd with a single, and advanced to third base on a throwing error.  He scored on a wild pitch.  1B Andy Marte doubled, was bunted over to third base, and scored on starting pitcher Charlie Morton's soft looper single into left field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.  
The lead did not last long.  Morton got out of the first inning with a double play, but began the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a double, a bunt, and a hi batter.  A 2-RBI double and a sacrifice fly brought in 3 runs for the Rays to tie the game.  The Pirates took the lead again in the 4th.  Marte led off with a single into right field, and 2B Corey Wimberly reached on a fielding error.  Morton bunted them up one base each, then both scored on SS Josh Rodriguez's line drive single into right.  
Morton sailed through the bottom half of the 3rd and 4th innings, but loaded the bases again in the 5th, on a walk and two singles.  Then he got wild and forced in one run with a hit batter, and a second run with a walk, and the game was again tied, at 5-5.  Morton got out of the inning with two fly outs, and a force out at the plate on a little dribbler that did not leave the home plate area.  
Joel Hanrahan took over on the mound for the 6th inning.  He retired the first two batters he faced, then walked the next two.  A wild pitch moved the two runners up to second and third base, then an RBI single brought in both runners, giving the Rays a 7-5 lead.  Jose Veras pitched a perfect 7th inning, with one strikeout.  The Rays scored 2 more runs off Chris Resop in the 8th inning.  A double, and a bunt back to the mound that turned into a single, put two runners on base.  A sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a triple plated the second.  

2B Gift Ngoepe led off the top of the 9th with a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer singled through to left field, but both were left on base.  LF Evan Chambers, 3B Andy Vasquez, RF Robby Grossman, and 1B Matt Hague also got into the game. 


The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this afternoon in Bradenton.  No word as yet -- results from the minor league camp can be hit or miss.


The Pirates pared down their camp roster by four more this morning.  Pitcher Daniel McCutchen was optioned to AAA Indianapolis, where he could either be a starter or pitch in long relief.  Relievers Tyler Yates and Sean Gallagher were also reassigned to minor league camp, and are both expected to go to the Indy Indians' bullpen.  C Wyatt Toregas and INF Josh Fields were also reassigned to minor league camp.  

Pitcher Fernando Nieve, who was reassigned to the minor league camp on Monday and released on Tuesday, was not unemployed for long.  On Thursday, he signed a minor league contract with the Astros.  


Morton Looks Good, As Does Owens

Pirates  3,  Astros  1
Starter Charlie Morton continued to show the Pirates' management that he belongs in the starting rotation with a 6-inning shutout performance today in Kissimmee, Florida.  Morton scattered 4 hits over his 6 innings and did not walk a batter.  He struck out 5 Astros.  C Humberto Quintero had two of those hits -- a single in the 3rd, when he reached as far as third base before being stranded, and a two-out single in the 5th.  Astros' starter Jordan Lyles followed that second single with a line drive into left field, and Quintero raced around the bases.  Pirates' LF Josh Fields got the ball back into the infield quickly, and Quintero was caught in a run-down and tagged out by C Ryan Doumit.  Evan Meek and Chris Leroux each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Neither gave up a hit, but both worked around base runners who got on due to fielding errors.   SS Benji Gonzalez had a tough afternoon, with a fielding error in the 7th, back-to-back fielding errors in the 8th, then another fielding error in the 9th that lead to an unearned run.  With Mike Crotta on the mound in the 9th, the error, a single, and a walk loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly drove in the Astros' only run.  Crotta has not allowed an earned run in his previous 6 appearances (8.1 innings).  

SS Ronny Cedeno provided the Pirates with their first 2 runs, on a 2nd-inning home run that followed Josh Fields' double.  Ryan Doumit picked up the RBI in the 3rd inning with a triple into left field, driving in 1B Andy Marte, who had singled.  Steve Pearce, who started at third base today, singled twice in the game.  CF Pedro Ciriaco, 2B Corey Wimberly, RF Cole White, 1B Garrett Atkins, and pinch-hitter Josh Rodriguez also got into the game.  

More roster moves are expected on Monday, as the Pirates head into the final full week of spring training.

Pirates’ Pitchers Rule

Pirates  4,  Blue Jays  1
Pitchers were the story for the Pirates this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida.  Five Pirates' pitchers combined to hold the Blue Jays to 4 hits this afternoon in Dunedin, Florida.  Charlie Morton made his second strong start in the Grapefruit League.  He gave up one run in the top of the 1st, courtesy of two former Pirates:  CF Rajai Davis led off with a double, legged out when LF Matt Diaz was a little slow in picking up (the Pirates should have anticipated Davis' speed).   3B Jose Bautista drove the run in with a single slipped through into left field.   Morton ended the inning by inducing a double play, then he retired the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings.  That included a nice barehanded snatch of a bunt attempt, and a whirl to throw the batter out at first.  Brad Lincoln buzzed through the next three innings, retiring all 9 batters he faced.  Morton and Lincoln each struck out one batter, and neither gave up a walk.  Tyler Yates and Jeff Locke each took an inning, and neither gave up a hit, though Yates walked one.  Cesar Valdez gave up the other two Jays' hits in the 9th inning.  After a strikeout, he surrendered two singles, and with a wild pitch, that gave him runners on the corners.  But he picked the runner off first, then ended the game with a strikeout.

The Pirates' hitters were having some trouble with Blue Jays' starter Brett Cecil.  Cecil struck out 5 of the first 6 Pirates' batters, and allowed only one hit, a double by C Jason Jaramillo, in the 3rd inning.  Jaramillo doubled again to lead off the 6th inning.  CF Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, then a ground out put both runners into scoring position.  3B Pedro Alvarez drove in both with a standing triple into the right field corner, to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.  They added a run in the 7th, when 2B Brian Friday doubled into left field with two outs, then scored on C Dusty Brown's single.  Another two-out rally provided the Pirates' fourth run in the top of the 9th.  SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a singled into right field, then stole second base.  3B Josh Rodriguez slipped a single into left field, and Ciriaco came around to score.  Rodriguez also stole second base, and Brown was hit by a pitch, but the rally ended when CF Corey Wimberly popped out.  
 
Also getting into the game:  Jeremy Farrell pinch-hit (ground out) in the 8th inning;  his father, John Farrell, is the new manager of the Blue Jays.  1B Josh Fields, LF Alex Presley, RF Gorkys Hernandez, and 3B Andy Marte also played.

Pirates Fall To Rays, But Morton Looks Good

Rays  9,  Pirates  5  

The Pirates opened the official Grapefruit League season with a loss to the Rays.  The Pirates were held to just 6 hits.  All but two were singles and all but one were by the established major leaguers.  1B Garrett Atkins smacked a ground rule double for an RBI in the top of the 9th, and C Dusty Brown singled moments later.  LF Jose Tabata, 2B Neil Walker, 1B Lyle Overbay, and C Chris Snyder had the other hits.  LF Alex Presley walked twice in two trips to the plate; the second walk came in the top of the 9th, with two outs and a runner on second base, and the Pirates management watching carefully to see how he'd handle the situation.

Charlie Morton pitched the first two innings for the Pirates.  He had the lead-off batter reach base in both innings, on a walk and a single, but both times he got out of the innings courtesy of a double play.  Brad Lincoln worked around 2 singles to keep the Rays from scoring in the 3rd, but gave up a solo home run to Evan Longoria in the 4th.  Overall, an encouraging outing for Morton, and not too bad for Lincoln.  Chris Resop also gave up a solo home run in the 5th, which tied the score at 2-2.  After Daniel Moskos pitched a scoreless inning, Daniel McCutchen got into trouble in the 7th.  A double and two walks loaded the bases, and another double cleared them, giving the Rays a 5-2 lead.   Justin Thomas also struggled in his inning, the 8th, though the 4 runs that came in were all unearned, after a fielding error by 3B Josh Fields.  Tom Boleska, up from minor league camp, finished the inning, giving up a single before getting the final out. 

Other minor leaguers getting some playing time:  2B Josh Rodriguez, CF Gorkys Hernandez, SS Pedro Ciriaco.

Cedeno and Milledge Homer, Morton Pitches 6 Scoreless

Winter league action with the Pirates' players and friends on Wednesday...

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE

Tigres de Aragua� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� (Game 1) -- SS Ronny Cedeno's 3-run homer in the 4th inning put the game away for Los Tigres.� Aragua scored one run in each of the first three innings.� A single, a sacrifice bunt by Cedeno, and an RBI single by DH Hector Gimenez plated the run in the 1st inning.� A walk, a single by CF Jorge Cortes, and an RBI ground out brought in the run in the 2nd.� Gimenez also drove in the run in the 3rd with another RBI single.� LF/RF Lastings Milledge was hitless in this game, as was Margarita's 3B Andy LaRoche. Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits.

Tigres de Aragua� 2,� Bravos de Margarita� 0� (Game 2)� -- RF Lastings Milledge blasted a solo homer over the left field wall in the top of the 1st, and that was all the scoring Los Tigres needed.� Milledge added another RBI in the 7th inning with a single to give Aragua some insurance, and he also walked in the 3rd inning.� Los Tigres needed only 5 hits in the game, with 1B Hector Gimenez getting one of those.� CF Jorge Cortes walked in three trips to the plate, but SS Cedeno and C Raul Chavez were both hitless.� 3B Andy LaRoche singled to lead off the 2nd inning for Margarita, but did not score.

Aguilas de Zulia� 5,� Navegantes del Magallanes� 1� -- DH Mike Ryan scored Magallanes' only run, which came in the 6th inning, when he singled, then scored on an RBI double.� Ryan also singled in the 1st inning.� Zulia scored one run in both the 1st and 2nd innings, then 2 more in the 6th, and one in the 7th.� Corey Hamman took the mound in relief in the 7th, with two outs and a runner on 2nd base.� He gave up an RBI single to the only batter he faced, though the run was charged to the previous pitcher.

Roster Moves and Winter Leagues: Rough Night For Morton And Hamman

A few roster moves by the Pirates today:

Several players have been removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Indianapolis:� LHP Justin Thomas, RHP Sean Gallagher, RHP Steven Jackson, 1B Jeff Clement, and OF Brandon Moss.

Of these, Thomas, Jackson, and Moss are now all free to declare themselves minor league free agents.� Clement does not have enough service time to get to be a free agent, so he's "stuck" on the Indianapolis roster.� He's had knee surgery, and hopes to be ready by spring training.� Gallagher does have the service time, but the Pirates are probably negotiating with him to try to keep him.

LHP Wil Ledezma has signed a one-year contract with the Pirates for 2011.

RHP Jose Ascanio and 1B Steve Pearce (who has also had knee issues) are officially off the DL and back on the 40-man roster.� RHP Ross Ohlendorf also falls into this category.

On to Wednesday's winter league action, with Pirates' players and friends:

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

Senadores de San Juan� 4,� Gigantes de Carolina� 3� -- San Juan rallied from a 3-1 deficit to score one run in the 5th and 2 runs in the 6th for the win.� Los Gigantes scored one run in the 4th on a double and a single.� They added 2 runs in the 5th, on two singles, an error, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.� Benji Gonzalez made a pinch-hitting appearance for Los Gigantes in the 8th inning, but flied out.� He remained in the game at third base for the final inning.

Criollos de Caguas� 4,� Indios de Mayaguez� 0� -- 3B Ramon Vazquez and SS Luis Figueroa each had one hit for Los Criollos in their win.� Vazquez's single in the 5th drove in one of Los Criollos' runs.� They also scored 2 runs in the 4th on two singles and two errors, and another run in the 6th on two singles and a sacrifice fly.

5-Run Inning Lifts Clippers Over Tribe

Columbus Clippers� 10,� Indianapolis Indians� 5 ..�� (box)

IMG_4254The Indianapolis Indians posted 13 hits this evening at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, with every member of the batting order but one collecting at least one hit.� But the Clippers posted 14 hits, and added a 5-run 7th inning, to sail past the Indians for the win.� The Louisville Bats also won today, beating the Toledo Mud Hens 8-0, so the Bats remain 1.5 games ahead of Columbus in the International League Western Division, with one week left in the season.

Indians' starter Mike Crotta (photo) struggled in each inning he pitched, and after 4+ innings, he had already thrown 90 pitches (56 strikes).� He had two runners on base in the 1st inning, but got out of that jam without a run scoring.� With one out, CF Ezequiel Carrera reached base on a throwing error by SS Pedro Ciriaco. Carrera stole second base, and after 2B Cord Phelps walked, both Carrera and Phelps pulled off a double steal to put both into scoring position.� Crotta bore down and struck out 1B Wes Hodges, then ended the inning when DH Jordan Brown flied out.

That was Crotta's only scoreless inning.� He gave up one run in each of the next three innings and was responsible for 2 runs in the 5th.� 3B Jared Goedert led off the 2nd inning with a single, and he also stole second base.� SS Drew Sutton walked, then LF Matt McBride reached on a tapper back to the mound that Crotta could not handle.� Goedert scored from second base on the play, to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead.

The Indians had gone down in order in the first two innings, but they came right back with 3 runs in the top of the 3rd.� With one out, Pedro Ciriaco doubled into left field.� 2B Brian Friday worked a walk, then LF Kevin Melillo loaded the bases with a line drive up the middle for a single.� 3B Akinori Iwamura lifted a long fly ball into left field, which Columbus LF McBride had to keep chasing back and back.. but he caught it on the warning track for a sacrifice fly, as it let Ciriaco score from third base to tie the score.� CF Alex Presley grounded through the right side of the infield for an RBI single that brought in both Friday and Melillo.� DH Brandon Moss lined another single into right field, but a fly out ended the inning.� The Indians had taken what would be their only lead of the game, 3-1.

Four Tribe Pitchers Combine For Shutout

Indianapolis Indians� 8,� Columbus Clippers� 0 ..��� (box)

IMG_4157Four Indianapolis Indians pitchers combined to shut out the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.� They held the Clippers to a total of 4 hits and 2 walks.� CF Alex Presley supported them with 3 hits, and both 1B Doug Bernier (photo) and RF Brandon Moss contributed 3 RBI.

The Indians got things started in the top of the 1st with a one-out single by 3B Akinori Iwamura, and after the second out, RF Brandon Moss launched his 21st home run of the season, bringing in Iwamura for a 2-0 lead.� They added 2 more runs in the 2nd.� With one out, SS Pedro Ciriaco smacked a grounder towards third base.� The ball glanced off the glove of Columbus 3B Argenis Reyes and past him down the left field line, and Ciriaco cruised into second base with a double.� After a strikeout by C Jason Jaramillo, 2B Brian Friday lifted another double into center field, and Ciriaco came around to score from second base.� Doug Bernier followed with a line drive single into left field, and Friday also scored.� Bernier stole second base, but was left there when a ground out ended the inning.� The Indians were up, 4-0.

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IMG_3940Charlie Morton was originally listed as the starting pitcher tonight, but he was recalled by the Pirates so that he can made the start for them tomorrow.� Dana Eveland (photo) made the spot start in Morton's place.� Eveland had to work around one runner on base in each of the first three innings.� 2B Drew Sutton lined a single into left field in the bottom of the 1st, but Eveland got 1B Wes Hodges to bounce into an around the horn double play, Iwamura to Friday to Bernier.� DH Jared Goedert walked with two outs in the 2nd, but Eveland struck out former Indy Indian Luke Carlin to end the inning.� Clippers' SS Josh Rodriguez reached base on a fielding error by Brian Friday to begin the 3rd inning, but Eveland induced three grounders, again keeping the Clippers scoreless.

Bullpen Falters As Indians Lose Late

IMG_4470










Alex Presley is back to the bag safely









Louisville Bats� 6,� Indianapolis Indians� 3 ..���� (box)

IMG_4467It was a tough night for the Indians' bullpen, as they stumbled in the last two innings, giving the win to the Louisville Bats at Victory Field.� The Indians wasted an excellent starting effort by Charlie Morton (photo), who pitched 6 shutout innings and allowed only 4 hits.� The Indians posted 5 hits, while the Bats out-hit them with 13 knocks.

Morton got some help from his defense, but he cruised along in this start.� He faced only the minimum over the first three innings, and only one batter over the minimum in the first five innings.� He began each of the first three innings with a strikeout, and struck out one more batter after that.

The second batter in the top of the 1st, SS Chris Valaika, slipped a single up through the middle of the infield, where 2B Brian Friday would have been if the Indians' defense was not in a shift position.� The next batter, 1B Yonder Alonso, also grounded up the middle, right over the second base bag.� SS Pedro Ciriaco made a diving stop, and as he hit the ground stretched out prone behind second base, the ball fell out of his glove,� Ciriaco scrambled to pick it up, then still on the ground, flipped the ball back and lateral to Friday covering second base.� Friday was at the bag, and he made an outstanding turn, and fired the ball to 1B John Bowker, just in time to beat Alonso to the first base bag.

Morton retired the side in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a lead-off single to CF Dave Sappelt in the 4th -- the ball glanced off 3B Mitch Jones' glove and into left field.� But again the infield stepped up.� Valaika grounded to third base, where Jones started an around-the-horn (5-4-3) double play to erase Sappelt.� Alonso almost put the Bats onto the scoreboard with a long fly ball to left field.� The ball hit the top of the left field wall, missing a home run by inches, then bounced into left field for a double.� Morton did not erase Alonso from the base path, but instead struck out the next batter, RF Wladimir Balentien, to end the inning.

IMG_4480The Bats also went down in order in the 5th, and that inning ended with an odd play.� 2B Wilkin Castillo bunted a 1-1 pitch to right in front of the plate, but as he was moving out of the batters' box, he came in contact with the ball, so was called out.� C Jason Jaramillo, as the closest fielder, gets credit for the put-out in that situation.

The only time Charlie Morton had two base runners on base at the same time was in the 6th inning.� With one out, Bats' pitcher Chad Reineke dribbled a little grounder (not a bunt) along the third base line, just fair.� By the time Morton and Jaramillo got over to it, Morton picked up the ball, but he had no play at first, and Reineke was on with an infield hit.� Sappelt followed with a grounder to short, and it looked like Morton was going to have yet another base runner erased with a double play.� Pedro Ciriaco made the scoop, but he got excited and his throw to second missed Brian Friday entirely, and sailed into right field.� Reineke advanced to third and Sappelt to second on the error.� With the Indians leading 2-0 at that point, those two runners in scoring position represented the tying runs, and the go-ahead run was at the plate.� Pitching coach Dean Treanor came out for a little chat with Morton (photo).� Then Morton got Valaika to ground softly to third base, and the runners had to hold up.� Another grounder by Alonso to short ended the inning for Morton, and without a run scoring.

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