Tag: Gabriel Alvarado

Marte Homers, Three Hits For Grovatt

A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract.  Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010.  He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH'ing.  Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI.  He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times.  Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.

Two minor league pitchers have been released:  RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston.  Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010.   Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.

 
Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  3
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Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve.   Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win.  The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st.  After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single.  Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning.  A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd.  Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.  

 The Squirrels' starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order.  The first hit he gave up was a big one -- a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte.  The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.  

The lead lasted only one inning.  Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th  He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base -- two walks and a single back to the mound.  Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score.  An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead.  Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th.  The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.

The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th.  With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore.  But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez's line out ended the game.  

Cain Throws Six Scoreless Innings

Sunday's action in the Pirates' lower minor leagues:

West Virginia Power  7,  Augusta Green Jackets  0
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Three Power pitchers powered up to shut out the Green Jackets.  Colton Cain made the start and earned his first win of the season.  He allowed just one hit and one walk in 6 innings.  Cain retired the first 9 Augusta batters in order, then gave up both the hit (a double) and a walk to begin the bottom of the 4th.  A double play and a pop out got Cain out of that little jam, then he retired 6 more batters to end his outing.  Kevin Decker allowed a single in each of his two innings, but maintained the shutout.  Ryan Beckman gave up two singles in the 9th, but left both on base to end the game.  

The Power began their scoring with an unearned run in the top of the 2nd.  C Elias Diaz reached on a fielding error in right field, then advanced to third base on RF Dan Grovatt's single.  2B Kevin Mort brought Diaz in with a sacrifice fly.  Grovatt led off the 5th with a walk.  He was forced out at second on Mort's grounder, though Mort avoided the double play and was safe at first.  LF Andy Vasquez plated Mort with a triple into right field.

The 6th was the big inning for the Power.  CF Mel Rojas and 1B Matt Curry started the frame with back-to-back singles, and after two outs, Diaz walked to load the bases.  Another walk to Grovatt forced in Rojas, then Mort drove in Curry and Diaz with a line drive single into center field.  The Power tacked on another run in the 7th, when SS Gift Ngoepe doubled, Rojas singled (his third hit of the game), and a fielder's choice on Curry's ball let Ngoepe score.  It was Curry's turn to double in the 9th, and he scored on Avila's RBI single.  

Three Hits By Grossman And Emsley-Pai

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morris Shines For Curve; Marauders Blast Jupiter

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


Altoona Curve  2,  Akron Aeros  0

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

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

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


Thompson And Curve Get The Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snyder And Rubenstein Blast Away For Marauders

A win, a loss, and a rainout in the rest of the Pirates' minor league organization on Friday evening.  The rainout was in West Virginia, where the Power were getting soggy.  They will play a double header on Saturday.

The win:  
Bradenton Marauders  13,  Charlotte Stone Crabs  0

And a shutout win, at that.   The Marauders blasted 13 runs on 13 hits, while the pitching staff held Charlotte scoreless on 6 hits.  The scoring began in the bottom of the 1st, when CF Evan Chambers walked and rehabbing major league catcher Chris Snyder homered over the left field wall.  LF David Rubinstein got the fun started in the 2nd inning with a line drive single into right field.  A single by 1B Cole White and a walk to SS Benji Gonzalez loaded the bases, then another walk to RF Robbie Grossman forced in Rubinstein.  2B Jarek Cunningham drove in White and Gonzalez with a double, and Grossman scored on Chambers' sacrifice fly.  Snyder added a single, to drive in Cunningham with the 5th run of the inning.  Walks to DH Calvin Anderson and Rubinstein loaded the bases again, but a ground out ended the rally.  
 
Rubinstein also began the Marauders' rally in the 5th.  Three consecutive singles, by Rubinstein, White, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases without an out.  Benji Gonzalez's ground out brought in Rubinstein, and a single by Grossman plated both White and Elevys Gonzalez.  A walk to Cunningham and a single by Chambers loaded the bases again.   That set up Snyder, who cleared the bases with a double into deep center field, and gave the Marauders 6 runs in that inning, for a 13-run lead.  Rubinstein's third single plus walks to both Gonzalez-es loaded the bases again in the 8th, but a strikeout ended that inning with all three still on base.  

The Marauders' pitching staff was having as much fun as the hitters.  Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, pitched the first inning, and retired the side in order on three ground outs.  After Beimel's inning, Matt McSwain came on to pitch.  He allowed only one single in his first 3 innings, and retired that runner with a double play.  He allowed two singles to lead off the 5th inning, but another double play got him out of that small jam. McSwain finished his outing with 5 scoreless innings, three hits, no walks, and no strikeouts, earning the win.  Jeff Inman pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits, and Gabriel Alvarado also allowed a hit and a walk in the final inning.  

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.  

Bass Makes A Venezuelan Start

Just one game in the Mexican Pacific League last night:

Naranjeros de Hermosillo 19, Aguilas de Mexicali 1 -- Los Naranjeros did it all on 16 hits, including 2 from former Pirate Humberto Cota, who was playing first base.� Hermosillo scored 11 runs in the 5th inning. They sent 15 batters to the plate, and had 6 singles and 5 walks.� There was one wild pitch and only 2 of Mexicali's errors occurred in that inning.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:

Navegantes del Magallanes� 6,� Bravos de Margarita� 0 -- 3B Andy LaRoche had one of Los Bravos 5 hits, and that was a double off fellow Pirate Corey Hamman, who pitched the bottom of the 9th for Los Navegantes.� After a two-out walk in the bottom of the 1st, the next 15 Margarita batters went down in order.� The closest they came to scoring was in the 6th when they loaded the bases on a single, a double, and a walk, but could not score.� LaRoche reached as far as third base in the 9th, when Hamman also gave up a single, but LaRoche was left on base when Hamman ended the inning and the game with a ground out.� Los Navegantes scored one run in the top of the 1st on former Pirate LF Mike Ryan's RBI single.� Ryan also singled in the 2nd, when Magallanes added another 3 runs.� A solo homer gave them another run in the 3rd, and they scored again in the 7th.� Pirate farmhand Jhonathan Ramos pitched the 8th inning for Margarita, and he struck out three Navegantes in order.� Ramos was followed by former Pirate farmhand RHP Yoffri Martinez, who was a little wild (two walks and two wild pitches) but did not give up a hit or a run in the top of the 9th.

Tigres de Aragua� 9,� Caribes de Anzoategui� 2 -- Brian Bass struck out 8 batters in 3.2 innings for Los Tigres and allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk.� He worked around the lead-off walk in the 1st, and a single in the 2nd, then two singles in the 3rd, while striking out two batters in each of those innings.� He gave up another single and struck out two more in the 4th before being relieved.� DH Raul Chavez singled in Aragua's 3-run 3rd inning.� He singled again, and 1B Hector Gimenez walked and scored in the 3-run 6th inning.� Gimenez also singled and scored in the 2-run 7th inning, and Los Tigres scored again in the 8th.� Former Pirate farmhand C Miguel Perez was 0-for-3 at the plate for Aragua.� Gabriel Alvarado pitched to three batters for Los Caribes in that 6th inning.� He gave up a single (which drove in Gimenez), then threw a wild pitch on strike three, which let another run came in, then got the ground out that ended the inning.� Adenson Chourio had a pinch-hit appearance in the top of the 9th.� He grounded into a force out, but was safe at first, then he stole second base.

Fall and Winter League Rosters

The Arizona Fall League begins play today, with seven Pirates' farmhands on the roster for the Mesa Solar Sox.� Players from the Los Angeles Angels, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, and the New York Mets will round out the Solar Sox' roster. � Pitchers Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic, and Justin Wilson are all participating, and all are expected to pitch in relief, as other pitchers have the priority for starting roles.� Team USA's Justin De Fratus (Phillies) is also on the roster, so he must be planning to join the Solar Sox later in the week after the Pan Am tournament wraps up.

Behind the plate, look for C Tony Sanchez, who is trying to make up time after missing much of the regular season due to a fractured jaw.� Sanchez has also been asked by MLB to keep a blog of his experiences in the Arizona Fall League.� (He hasn't started it yet -- stay tuned.)� Phillies' pitcher Josh Zeid and Angels pitcher Ryan Brasier, both slated as starters for the Solar Sox, have also been asked to write blogs.

Altoona infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will be sharing some infield time with six other infielders, including Josh Vitters of the Cubs.� Their Curve teammate Andrew Lambo will be sharing outfield duties with four other outfielders, including Phillies' John Mayberry.

Mexican Pacific League

Los Venados de Mazatlan is the hometown team of OF Rogelios Noris. He got in a little playing time last year as a rookie, and was a bit of a surprise, with some home runs and some very good pinch-hit appearances. The 21-year-old hit .236 with the West Virginia Power during the 2010 season.

Also listed on one Mazatlan roster (but not all) is LHP Jovany Lopez. Lopez is a 19 year old from Los Mochis, who has spent two seasons with the Pirates Venezuelan Summer League team.� This season, he made 18 relief appearances (27.2 innings) and had a 5-0 record with a 3.90 ERA.� He gave up 30 hits and 12 earned runs, but allowed only 5 walks and struck out 21.

Three former Pirates are also playing in the Mexican Pacific League:� Inf/Of Yurendell de Caster is with Los Algodoneros de Guasave, C Humberto Cota is on the roster of Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo, and OF Jeff Salazar will be in center field for Los Yaquis de Obregon.

Curve and Marauders Both Fall To Big Innings

Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ....������ (box)

Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.

The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d'Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators' 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.

It didn't last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators' pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder's choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter -- and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.

Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D'Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg's reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.

Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings -- he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison's glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison's glove.

Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison's throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.

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