Tag: Matt McSwain

Cunningham Homers Twice; Power Hold On For The Win

Monday evening's games in the Pirates' lower minor leagues

Harrisburg Senators  6,  Altoona Curve  2
(box)

The Curve were able to put runners on base but not push them across the plate tonight.  Starter Bryan Morris worked around a double in the 1st and a pair of walks in the 3rd to keep the Senators scoreless in the first three innings.  He got into trouble in the 4th, with a lead-off triple, followed by a walk and an RBI double.  A single drove in 2 more runs for a 3-0 Harrisburg lead.  The Curve had left CF Starling Marte stranded on third base in the 1st, after his single, stolen base, and a throwing error.  2B Brock Holt also singled in the 3rd and was left on base.  SS Jordy Mercer answered the Senators' 3-run inning with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but LF Quincy Latimore singled in that inning, and he was also left stranded.  

Tim Alderson
took over for Morris to begin the 5th inning, and he pitched 2 scoreless frames.  He loaded the bases in the 6th with a single and two hit batters, but ended the inning with a ground out.  Mike Colla allowed a triple in his scoreless 7th.  Then Noah Krol came on for the 8th, and gave up 3 more runs on a single, an RBI double, an RBI triple, and a wild pitch.  

The Curve put two runners on base in the 7th, when 1B Miles Durham singled and 3B Jeremy Farrell walked, but both were left on base.  Marte singled again in the 8th, and again could not come around to score.  The final Curve run scored in the 9th, when Durham tripled, then scored on Latimore's sacrifice fly.  


Curve’s Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short

The Curve played an early game on Wednesday...

Akron Aeros  3,  Altoona Curve  2

(box score)

Down 3-1 going into the top of the 9th, the Curve rallied, beginning with 3B Jeremy Farrell reaching base on a fielding error by the Akron shortstop.  A passed ball put Farrell on second base.  Strikeouts by LF Shelby Ford and RF Brad Chalk made the Curve's situation even more desperate.  2B Brock Holt hit his third single of the day, and CF Starling Marte also singled, loading the bases with two outs.  But the Curve's hopes ended when SS Jordy Mercer also struck out.  

Jeff Locke made the start for the Curve, and he was charged with the loss.  Locke worked his way out of a jam with runners on the corners in the 1st inning, and worked around a lead-off single in the 2nd.  Another single led off the 3rd inning, and back-to-back doubles, one zipping just out of reach of Farrell's backhand dive, drove in 2 runs.  After a single, a walk, and two strikeouts in the 5th, Locke was relieved by Anthony Claggett.  Claggett finished up the 5th with a ground out, leaving two runners on base.  He also pitched the 6th and 7th innings, and surrendered a solo home run to lead off the 6th.  Tom Boleska pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Aeros from scoring again, despite a single and a walk.

The Curve scored their first run in the 4th.  1B Miles Durham and C Kris Watts worked back-to-back walks, and when Farrell lifted a soft single into right field, Durham scored from second base.  Farrell and Holt each walked once, and Farrell also singled in the 6th inning.  Holt singled to open the game, then again in the 5th.  

The Curve will have their home opener tomorrow.


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: Strickland, Irwin, And More

Continuing to look at the Pirates' minor league pitchers, moving upward in the organization:

Hunter Strickland  --   R/R,  6' 5",  200 lb
Strickland was the Red Sox' 18th round pick in the 2007 draft, and he was traded to the Pirates in July 2009 in the deal involving Andy LaRoche.  He joined the West Virginia team, and made 8 starts over the rest of the season (43 innings), going 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA for the Power.  Strickland returned to West Virginia to begin the 2010 season, where he made another 8 starts for another 43 innings.  His results were not as good -- an 0-4 record and a 5.86 ERA, with 58 hits and 28 earned runs.  Both his walk rate (8, 1.7 walks/ 9 innings) and his strikeout rate (15, 3.1 K/ 9 innings) were low.  In mid-May, Bradenton needed a pitcher, and Strickland was promoted.  He made two strong relief appearances, combining for 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts.  Then he made two starts, and got blasted -- 8 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2.1 innings, and 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings.  At that point, Strickland was having tightness in his right forearm (or maybe it had been there already, and that was why he had been struggling), and he went on the DL, missing the remainder of the season.  Strickland should be ready to go for 2011, and at age 22, he should be back in Bradenton, where he will need to get back on track.


Phillip Irwin  --  R/R,  6' 3",   220 lb 
Irwin was the Pirates' 21st round pick in the 2009 draft.  He pitched well for State College in his pro debut in 2009, with a 2.12 ERA despite a 1-2 record in 29.2 innings for the Spikes.  Irwin was assigned to West Virginia to begin the 2010 season.  He had a solid month of April, making one relief appearance and 3 starts.  In 15 innings, he allowed 3 earned runs (1.80 ERA) on 11 hits and struck out 13 batters for the month.  Then Irwin went onto the DL for a month (injury not specified).  When he returned, he made two relief pitches, for 3 combined scoreless innings), then got back into the starting rotation.  He had an up-and-down rest of the season, finishing with a 6-3 record and a 3.35 ERA.  In a total of 113 innings, he allowed 99 hits and 42 earned runs with just 20 walks and 111 strikeouts.  Irwin said that his tougher starts allowed him to remain focused and kept him motivated during the season.  He was rewarded with a promotion to Bradenton for their brief playoff run, and got into one game.  He threw 1.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, with 2 strikeouts.  Irwin enjoyed his time in Bradenton, and said that he had fun and learned from some of the more experienced players.  The 24-year-old should get a return to Bradenton for the 2011 season, where he says his goal is to "stay healthy and focused".  

 

Curve Tie Their Series; Marauders Season Ends

Two of the Pirates' affiliates in playoff action:

Altoona Curve� 6,� Harrisburg Senators� 4 ....������ (box)

The Senators and the Curve battled back and forth, with errors and poor base running on both sides, but it was the Curve who came out on top to even the best-of-5 series at 1 game each.� The Curve scored their runs on 7 hits, 5 of which were doubles.� LF Andrew Lambo and 2B Chase d'Arnaud let the way with two hits each, and Lambo contributed 3 RBI.

Harrisburg scored first, with an unearned run in the top of the first.� With one out, Curve starter Jeff Locke walked two batters, then got the next batter to ground to short, for what should have been a double play.� SS Jordy Mercer made the throw to 2B Chase d'Arnaud for the force out at second, but d'Arnaud's relay to first base was off-target.� The batter was safe, and the runner who had been on second base came around to score.

The Curve got the run back again in the bottom of the 2nd.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a double, moved to third base by tagging up on C Hector Gimenez's fly out, and scored on Andrew Lambo's RBI ground out.� The Curve managed only a double by 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd, then scored again in the 4th.� Hague and Gimenez opened the 4th with back-to-back walks.� Lambo rocketed a line drive down to the right field corner, bringing in Hague to take the lead.� RF Miles Durham grounded to short, but a quick play by the Senators going to the plate, had Gimenez out at home.� Lambo moved up to third base on the play, and he scored on CF Anthony Norman's sacrifice fly.� Curve up, 3-1.

The Senators came right back in the top of the 5th to tie the score again.� Jeff Locke had kept the Senators from scoring over three innings, despite having runners on base in both the 2nd (walk and single) and 3rd (double and walk).� Another double led off the 5th, then Locke got the next two batters out.� The next batter lifted a fly deep into the left-center field alley, which sailed beyond Norman's leap and to the wall.� Lambo couldn't get to it either, and the runner scored.� The Senators made it runners on the corners when a short fly ball skipped off d'Arnaud's glove and bounced away.� That was all for Jeff Locke, who had pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs so far, one earned and one not, on 4 hits and 4 walks, with 5 innings.� Derek Hankins relieved Locke, but he threw a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to score, also charged to Locke.� Hankins ended the inning with a strikeout, but the score was tied again, 3-3.

Marauders Win Second Half Title; Walk-Off Homer For Gonzalez

Sunday's action with the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates... this is the season finale for the Spikes, and the regular season finale for the Marauders.

West Virginia Power� 4,� Hagerstown Suns� 3 ....��� (box)

Elevys Gonzalez was the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a blast over the right-center field wall for a walk-off homer.� The Suns had scored first with a solo home run off Power starter Eliecer Navarro to lead off the 2nd inning and another solo blast to begin the 4th inning.� Navarro scattered 5 more hits over the rest of the first 5 innings without allowing a run to score.� He began the 6th inning by giving up a walk, then an RBI double to give the Suns their third run.� Maurice Bankston relieved Navarro to finish the 6th inning, then went on to pitch 2 scoreless innings.

The Power got one run back in the bottom of the 4th, with the help of 3 consecutive walks.� CF Evan Chambers walked first, but was caught stealing second base.� Walks to 1B Aaron Baker and DH Jose Hernandez put two runners on base, then C Ramon Cabrera skipped a ground-rule double over the left-center field wall, scoring Baker.� A pop out ended the inning without any further scoring.

The bottom of the 7th began with the Power trailing 3-1.� Cabrera led off with a line drive single up the middle, then LF Rogelios Noris doubled, and 3B Andy Vasquez tripled, tying the score as both Cabrera and Noris scored.� Vasquez was cut down after rounding third base, on the throw in from the outfield.

Bankston hit a batter with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th, but left him stranded.� Jhonathan Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.� The Power went down in order in ther 8th.� Noris singled and stole second base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not come around to score, and the game went into extra innings.� Ramos gave up a one-out single in the top of the 10th, but then struck out the next two batters.� That set up the bottom of the 10th, when Elevys Gonzalez greeted the new Suns' reliever with the game-winning homer.

Gonzalezes Power Up With Homers

The West Virginia Power had their last late-morning game of the season today.� The rest of the Pirates' lower minor affiliates play this evening.

West Virginia Power� 12,� Rome Braves� 4 ...��� (box)

The Power hammered away at the Braves, scoring in every inning after the 1st, doubling up the Braves in hits.� Jarek Cunningham and LF Rogelios Noris led the way with 3 hits each.� 2B Rome got off to a good start with a solo home run to begin the 2nd inning.� The Power came right back in the bottom of the inning, when 1B Aaron Baker walked and scored on RF Jose Hernandez's double off the right field wall.� A ground out pushed Hernandez to third base, and he scored on Noris' line drive single inot left field.� 3B Elevys Gonzalez added another run with a lead-off homer on the first pitch of the 3rd inning (his 4th of the season).� Noris crushed a ball off the top of the left field wall with one out in the 4th inning, cruising into third base for a stand-up triple.� He scored moments later on SS Benji Gonzalez's first home run of the season.

Power starter Brett Lorin had allowed that homer in the 2nd, and gave up singles in the 1st and 3rd, plus two walks in the 4th.� The Braves got to him in the top of the 5th, though.� With two outs, Lorin hit a batter, then gave up a double and a 3-run homer.� That brought Rome within one run of the Power, 5-4. But that was all the scoring the Power pitchers intended to let the Braves do.� Maurice Bankston relieved Lorin to pitch 2 scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the 7th.� Jhonathan Ramos, just promoted from State College, celebrated his return to the Power with two perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts.

The Power added some insurance runs in the bottom of the 5th inning.�� Jarek Cunningham led off with a single, and he advanced to second base on a wild pitch.� CF Evan Chambers walked, then when the Braves changed pitchers, Cunningham and Chambers greeted the new hurler by pulling off a double steal.� Hernandez lined a single into right field, scoring Cunningham, and C Ramon Cabrera's sacrifice fly brought in Chambers.� Noris lined into center field, and when Hernandez tried to make it to third base, the throw in from the outfield got past the Rome third baseman.� Hernandez scrambled for the plate, but the third baseman recovered the ball quickly, and Hernandez was out at the plate.� Noris was credited with only a single on the play, and the Power had a 7-4 lead.

Three more runs scored in the 6th.� Benji Gonzalez singled and stole second base, and Cunningham tripled off the center field wall to bring him in.� Chambers walked and also stole second base, then Baker doubled, plating both Cunningham and Chambers.� DH Andy Vasquez added a solo home run in the 7th inning.� Then the Power loaded the bases in the 8th on a walk to Cunningham, Chambers being hit by a pitch, and a single by Baker.� A sacrifice fly by Hernandez brought Cunningham across the plate for the Power's 12th run of the game.

The South Atlantic League announced their post-season All-Star Team today, but no Power players were named to the team.

Owens Wins #12, Two Homers For Hague As Curve Clinch Title

Tuesday's action for the Pirates' lower minor leaguers....

Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)

The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League's Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.

Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague's two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning -- he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.

Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie's only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.

Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer's ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman's double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).

Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.

Owens Wins #10

Pirates' lower minor leaguers on Saturday...

Altoona Curve� 10,� Binghamton Mets� 4 (box)

The Curve posted 14 hits, with two big innings, as all but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit in the game, as starter Rudy Owens earned his 10th win of the season.� SS Jordy Mercer doubled three times and 1B Matt Hague doubled twice, with 4 RBI.� Even Owens doubled, walked, and scored twice.

Owens got off to a little bit of a shaky start on the mound.� He gave up a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly to begin the bottom of the 1st.� A single and a double gave the Mets a second run in the 3rd.� Owens settled in after that, and allowed just one hit in each of the 4th and 5th.

The Curve got one run back in the top of the 4th, after putting runners on base in each of the first three innings but failing to score.� In the 4th,� Mercer hit his first double, and he scored on RF Miles Durham's RBI single.� Then they broke through in the 5th.� Owens led off the inning with a walk.� LF Jose De Los Santos singled, then 3B Josh Harrison bunted both runners into scoring position.� 2B Jim Negrych was intentionally walked to load the bases.� Hague cleared the bases with a double into left field, then Mercer hit his second double (this one was a ground-rule double), plating Hague.� The Curve had a 5-2 lead.

The next inning began with a solo home run by Miles Durham.� One out later, Owens doubled, and De Los Santos singled.� A fielding error on a ball hit to third by Harrison let Owens score.� Negrych brought in both Owens and De Los Santos with another double, and Hague made it three doubles in the inning with his 26th of the season, bringing in Negrych with the fifth run of the inning.� The Curve were up, 10-2.

Mike Colla relieved Owens to begin the 6th.� He gave up a solo homer in that inning, and another solo homer in the 8th, but retired the other 12 batters he faced in 4 innings.� Owens earned his 10th win of the season, and Colla earned his first save.

Curve Lose In Extras; Marauders Split Twin Bill

Sunday's games in the Pirates' lower minor leagues were partially hampered by rain.... The GCL Pirates again had today off.

The State College Spikes and the Aberdeen IronBirds fell victim to rain.� That game will not be made up, as the Spikes are not scheduled to play Aberdeen again this season.� Tomorrow is an off day for the Spikes, then on Tuesday, Matt Curry, Adalberto Santos, and Jhonatan Ramos will be participating in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

West Virginia Power 3,� Lexington Legends 3 -- suspended (box)

The Power and the Legends were supposed to play 2 games today, making up for last night's rainout.� They got started on Game 1, but got only into the third inning (of a 7-inning game) before the rain returned.� That game was suspended and the second game was postponed.

The game began with a scoreless first inning for both teams.� In the top of the 2nd, LF Rogelios Noris and C Ramon Cabrera both singled, then with two outs, 1B Kyle Morgan blasted a 3-run homer.� The Legends responded with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame on four singles.� With one out in the top of the 3rd, the game was suspended.� They will try to finish this one, then play a second game tomorrow.

New Hampshire FisherCats� 3,� Altoona Curve� 2 (box)

More extra innings for the Curve and the FisherCats, but this one went New Hampshire's way.�� The Curve threatened in the 2nd inning, when both 1B Matt Hague and 2B Jordy Mercer led off with back-to-back singles.� DH Jim Negrych's grounder forced out Hague at third, and C Kris Watts walked to load the bases.� Another ground out ended the inning, though.�� A triple by SS Chase d'Arnaud and a sacrifice fly by 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd inning did put the Curve onto the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead.� They scored again in the 5th on an exciting play.� CF Jose De Los Santos began with a single.� D'Arnaud grounded to short, for what should have been a double play, but the New Hampshire second baseman missed the catch, and both runners were safe.� De Los Santos tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out, then stole home in a double steal.

Rudy Owens pitched 5 scoreless innings in his start for the Curve, striking out 6 batters.� He scattered 5 hits, no walks, and only had more than one runner on base at a time in the 3rd, but got out of it with a strikeout and a ground out.� Jared Hughes relieved Owens to start the 6th.� Hughes walked a batter then erased him with a double play in the 6th.� In the 7th, Hughes hit the first batter, CF Callix Crabbe with a pitch.� Crabbe stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI single.� That batter was thrown out at second base by RF Miles Durham when he tried to stretch his single into a double.� Moments later, a solo home run tied the game at 2-2.� Hughes also pitched the 8th, and again gave up a walk and erased the runner with a double play.

The tie continued as the Curve went down in order in the 7th.� D'Arnaud was hit with a pitch in the 8th, was bunted to second by Harrison, then stole third base, but was left stranded.� Daniel Moskos worked around a lead-off single to keep the tie going in the top of the 9th.� Jim Negrych singled in the bottom of the inning, but was erased in a double play.� Derek Hankins retired the FisherCats in order in the top of the 10th.� Kris Watts singled in the bottom of that inning, and was replaced by pinch-runner Anthony Norman, who was also left on base.

Hankins came out again for the 11th.� With two outs, he gave up a single, then an RBI double to Crabbe, and the FisherCats had the 3-2 lead.� Matt Hague walked with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, but a grounder off the bat of Negrych forced out Hague at second base to end the game.

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