Tag: Ramon Vazquez

Ponce Takes The Lead In Puerto Rican Series

Again just two winter league playoff games on Tuesday night -- the Venezuelan championship has the night off.

Signing news:  C Robinzon Diaz has signed a minor league contract with the Rangers.




PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  4,  Criollos de Caguas  2  --  
Los Leones took a 3-2 game lead in this 7-game series with a win tonight.  Ponce got right down to business with a run on two hits, a throwing error, and a ground out in the top of the 1st.  Los Criollos tied the score with a walk, a double, and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 1st.  Los Leones made use of another RBI grounder to break the tie in the top of the 3rd, with a run driven in after a single and a double.  An RBI single made it 3-1.  Los Criollos got within one run in the 6th, scoring on a single, a walk, and (guess what?) an RBI ground out.  A solo home run added an insurance run for Ponce in the top of the 9th.  Caguas threatened in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Luis Figueroa was hit by a pitch and moved to third base on a ground-rule double.  A walk loaded the bases, but two fly outs ended the rally and the game.  Figueroa singled in the 3rd and walked in the 7th, but could not come around to score.  Ramon Vazquez struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance.

 
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave  2,  Yaquis de Obregon  1  --  
Pitchers ruled in this game, as Guasave tied the 7-game series at 2 games each.  Los Yaquis were held to 4 hits, and scored their only run with 3 of those hits, all singles, in the top of the 8th.  Their only other hit, another single, came in the 1st inning.  Guasave had just 6 hits, and half of those came in the first two innings.  Their first run was a solo home run in the 6th inning.  they scored again in the 7th inning, when a single, a sacrifice bunt by 1B Yurendell de Caster, and two walks loaded the bases.  An RBI single brought in what turned out to be the winning run.  De Caster had one of the Guasave singles in the 2nd inning.

Homers For Milledge And Gimenez; Toros Take Dominican Title

Just 3 winter league playoff games on Sunday, as the Mexican Pacific League takes a travel day...

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  4,  Criollos de Caguas  1  --  Los Criollos out-hit Los Leones, but Los Criollos also left 10 runners stranded, while Ponce had only 5 runners left on base.  Three errors by Los Criollos also contributed to their own demise.  Los Leones scored in the bottom of the 1st with a walk, a stolen base with a throwing error, and an RBI single.  A pair of walks, a bunt, and RBI ground out and an RBI single added 2 runs in the 3rd inning.  Two errors, an intentional walk, and an RBI grounder gave Los Leones an insurance run in the 6th.  Los Criollos scored their only run in the top of the 3rd, with a walk and a triple.  SS Luis Figueroa and 3B Ramon Vazquez each had a single and a walk in the game, and all those times they were left on base.


VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  8,  Tigres de Aragua  5  --  
A 4-run 3rd inning boosted Los Caribes for the win in the opener of the Venzuelan championship series.  The game began with home runs dominating.  Los Tigres' CF Hernan Iribarren opened the game with a home run.  Los Caribes' lead-off batter CF Endy Chavez homered to begin the bottom of the inning.  In the top of the 2nd, the first Aragua batter was hit by a pitch, and LF Lastings Milledge hit a 2-run homer.  Los Caribes had another solo homer in the bottom of the frame.  Los Caribes changed it up in the 3rd, with three doubles, followed by another homer, to take a 6-3 lead.  Aragua got closer in the 6th, with solo homers (not back-to-back) by DH Hector Gimenez and Milledge.  Los Caribes got some insurance with a run in both the 6th and 7th innings, both times on a single and a double.  In addition to his two homers, Milledge walked and stole second base in the 4th.


DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Toros del Este  4,  Estrellas de Oriente  2  --  
Los Toros completed the 5-game sweep of the series with today's win over Los Estrellas.  Pitching ruled this game.  Los Toros recorded only 3 hits, and they scored their 4 runs in the 7th inning using only one hit.  After 6 scoreless innings, a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in Los Toros first run in the 7th.  A sacrifice fly complicated by both a fielding error and a throwing error gave them their second run, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, a hit batter and an unintentional walk forced in a run each.  A hit batter with the bases loaded also forced in a run for Los Estrellas in the top of the 8th, and they also scored on an RBI single.  

Former Pirates Help Aragua Into The Championship

Cheering for the Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoff games on Saturday night...

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tigres de Aragua  5,  Leones de Caracas  2  --  
The Big Cats had to have a one-game playoff because they finished tied for second place in the round robin tournament.  Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Uviedo made the start for Los Leones, and while he made it through the first inning, Los Tigres got to him in the next three innings.  DH Hector Gimenez blasted a solo homer in the 2nd inning.  A walk, a sacrifice bunt by CF Jorge Cortes, and two RBI's on a double and a single gave Aragua another 2 runs in the 3rd inning.  LF Lastings Milledge started the 4th inning rally with a walk, moved to second on a ground out, and to third on a wild pitch.  An RBI single plated Milledge, and sent Uviedo to the showrs.  The Caracas reliever gave up a single to Cortes, then another RBI single gave Aragua their final run.  Caracas scored their first run on a solo homer by LF Mike Ryan in the 2nd inning.  Ryan also singled in the 7th inning, and came around to score from first base on 2B Jose Castillo's RBI double.  Castillo singled in the bottom of the 9th, and C Carlos Maldonado reached base on an error, and was replaced by a pinch-runner.  With two outs, Wil Ledezma came on to make the final out, earning a save.  Los Tigres will now face Los Caribes in the championship series.  



DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Toros del Este
  11,  Estrellas de Oriente  2  --  Los Toros posted 14 hits as they ran over Los Estrellas, who hurt their own cause with 6 errors.  The scoring began with 3 runs in the top of the 1st.  SS Pedro Ciriaco began a rally in the 3rd with a lead-off single.  He scored on a fielding error and a single, and an RBI ground out brought in another run.  A walk, a single, and another error in the 4th made the score 6-0.  Los Estrellas got onto the scoreboard with a solo homer in the 6th, and scored again with two singles in the 7th.  Los Toros kept going, though, scoring 2 runs in the 7th on yet another error, a walk, and a double.  Ciriaco walked in the 8th, and scored on a 3-run homer.  Ciriaco singled in the 6th as well.  Franquelis Osoria pitched the top of the 9th for Los Estrellas, and worked around his teammates' 6th error to keep Los Toros from scoring in that inning.  Los Toros now lead the championship series 4 games to none, and need one more for the series sweep.  

Roster Updates And Playoff Games

An update on some recent roster moves by the Pirates:

Pitcher Jose Veras took a few days, but did sign a minor league contract with the Pirates.  Veras is a 30-year-old who was first signed by the Rays in 1998.  He began playing in the US in 2002, and split both the 2003 and 2004 at the AA and AAA levels.  He was granted free agency after 2004 and was signed by the Rangers for 2005, spending that season at the AAA level, where he made 57 relief appearances with a 3.80 ERA.  Veras signed with the Yankees after that, and pitched in their organization for the next 3+ seasons.  He split that time between the AAA level (2.56 ERA in 95 innings, with 115 strikeouts) and the major league club (4.50 ERA in 102 innings, with 94 strikeouts).  The 2008 season was his best of those, with 60 relief appearances for the Yankees and 3.59 ERA and a 5-3 record.  In 2009, the Yankees traded Veras to the Cleveland Indians, where he finished the last 3 months of the season.  The Dominican native made 22 relief appearances for Cleveland with a 1-2 record and a 4.38 ERA, with 22 strikeouts.  He signed with the Marlins for 2010 and began the season in AAA New Orleans.  He began the season slowly, but got better in May and was tough in June:  a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings (10 games) with 12 strikeouts.  That earned him a promotion to the Marlins, where he finished the season with 48 relief appearances.  In 48 innings, he earned a 3-3 record and a 3.75 ERA with 54 strikeouts.  Veras did not play winter ball this off-season.  The righty will be competing for a spot in the Pirates' bullpen

C Wyatt Toregas has also been inked to a minor league contract.  He was the Cleveland Indians' 24th pick in the 2004 draft, and began his pro career in 2005, reaching the AAA level in 3008 and the major leagues in 2009.  Toregas hit .284 for the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in 60 games in 2009, with 7 homers and 69 RBI.  In 19 appearances for the Indians in that season, he hit only.176 with 6 RBI.  The Virginia native was still on the Indians' 40-man roster at the beginning of 2010, but spent the entire season in the minor leagues, possibly battling injuries.  At AA Akron, he got into just 17 games, hitting .203 with one home run and 6 RBI.  At AAA Columbus, he was in just 14 games and hit .200 with 2 homers and 6 RBI.  He has a slim chance of sticking with the Pirates out of spring training, but will more likely be in Indianapolis to begin 2011.

In addition to Veras and Toregas, a few other minor leaguers have been invited to big league camp for spring training:  catchers Tony Sanchez and Eric Fryer, infielders Chase d'Arnaud and Brian Friday, and outfielder Andrew Lambo.  


Triple For Gonzalez and Homers For House, Gimenez, and Chavez


Cheering for Pirates' players and friends in the few winter league playoff games on Sunday....

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes del Cibao  8,  Toros del Este  2 --  
A 7-run 7th inning by Los Gigantes included a 2-run homer and a 3-run homer, and it gave them all the firepower they would need.  Former Indy Indian Tim Harikkala finished the 5th inning after Los Toros scored their runs, then loaded the bases with a double and two walks in the 6th, though another reliever was able to end the inning without a run scoring.  Juan Perez pitched the 8th inning for Los Gigantes and struck out the side.  

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  7,  Gigantes de Carolina   6  --  
2B Benji Gonzalez singled and tripled for Los Gigantes, but Ponce pulled it out with 2 runs in the bottom of the 10th.  Los Gigantes began the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st.  They added a run in the 6th on a single and Gonzalez's RBI triple.  A double and a single gave them another run in the 7th.  Los Leones scored one run in the 5th, then tied the score with 3 walks and a grand slam in the 7th.  The game went into extra innings, but Carolina quickly scored a run in the top of the 10th with a single and a double.  But in the bottom of the frame, Ponce had a runner reach base on an error, and a 2-run homer gave them the walk-off win.  Gonzalez also singled in the 4th but was caught stealing.  

Senadores de San Juan  8,  Criollos de Caguas  2  --  Another game with 3 runs scored in the top of the 1st, and Los Criollos were chasing Los Senadores for the rest of the game.   Los Criollos scored their runs in the 7th, on a pair of doubles and an RBI single by 3B Ramon Vazquez.  SS Luis Figueroa singled in the 4th, but was left on base.  

Save For Rodriguez, Win For Machi

A few signing notes for former Pirates, all minor league contracts:  
1B Brad Eldred signed with the Giants,  P Ian Snell and INF Ramon Vazquez signed with the Cardinals, and OF Matt Kata signed with the Rangers.  


Cheering for a few Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoffs....

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  2,  Criollos de Caguas  1  --  
RJ Rodriguez earned his 3rd save of the playoffs with a perfect 9th inning of work.  Los Leones scored their runs in the 4th, on three straight hits -- a single and two doubles.  Los Criollos' only run came in the top of the 6th, on a double, a ground out by SS Luis Figueroa which moved the runner to third, and a RBI single.  3B Ramon Vazquez singled to lead off the 5th for Los Criollos, but he was caught stealing second base.

Gigantes de Carolina  5,  Senadores de San Juan  4  --  Benji Gonzalez made the start at second base for Los Gigantes, and he scored their first run.  In the bottom of the 1st, Gonzalez singled, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  San Juan scored 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, and Los Gigantes countered with a run in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3 singles.  They tied the score in the 7th with a double, a hit batter, and an RBI single.  The tie continued into the top of the 10th, when Los Senadores took the lead with a single and a double.  But four singles in the bottom of the inning drove in 2 runs to give Los Gigantes the win.

Sullivan Earns A Win

The Dominican and Puerto Rican Leagues wind up their round-robin playoff series this weekend, while the Venezuelans continue theirs for another week or so.  

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas  5,  Gigantes de Carolina  2  --  
Los Criollos began the scoring with a fly out-RBI for 3B Ramon Vazquez after two singles.  An RBI single gave them a run in the 3rd, and a 2-run homer made it 4-0 in the 5th.  Los Criollos wrapped it up with a run in the top of the 7th, on two singles, a walk, and a throwing error.  Carolina scratched out a run in both the 7th and 8th innings.  SS Luis Figueroa singled and walked for Los Criollos, but did not score.

Leones de Ponce  7,  Senadores de San Juan  2  --  A 4-run inning in the top of the 8th gave Los Leones the win.  San Juan out-hit Ponce, 10 - 9, but they couldn't bring the runners around, leaving 11 on base.  RJ Rodriguez pitched the bottom of the 9th for Ponce, but gave up three consecutive singles to open the inning, which drove in one run.  He struck out two, then loaded the bases with another single, then ended the inning with a grounder force out.


VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Aguilas de Zulia  7,  Bravos de Margarita  4  --  
Los Bravos got the game started with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on three singles and two throwing errors.  But Los Aguilas scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, another in the 3rd, and took the lead with a 3-run homer in the 5th.  They added a run on a double and a triple in the 6th, and their 7th run on a double, a hit batter, and a single in the 7th.  Jhonathan Ramos came on in relief for Los Bravos after that run scored in the 7th, and he ended the inning with a ground out.  Ramos came back out to begin the bottom of the 8th.  The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error, then Ramos gave up a single.  A ground out and a line out followed, and then Ramos was relieved.  Another ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.  

Caribes de Anzoategui  6,  Leones de Caracas  5  --  This one took 13 innings to decide.  Los Leones broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 8th when C Carlos Maldonado started a rally with a single.  He was replace by a pinch-runner, who scored on an RBI single.  Los Caribes tied the score again with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, and the game went into extras.  Neither team could get much going in the 10th or 11th, and though Los Caribes threatened in the bottom of the 12th, they still could not get a run across.  Los Leones broke the tie in the top of the 13th.  A double, an intentional walk, and a fielder's choice loaded the bases.  A grounder to third was fired back to the plate, for a force out at home.  Then LF Mike Ryan, who had already singled twice and walked three times in the game, grounded to second base.  The runner going from first to second was out, but Ryan was able to beat out the throw to first, and a run scored.  But Los Caribes were not done yet -- a single and two walks loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, and a line drive single into left field drove in two runs for the win.  Jose Ascanio pitched a perfect inning in the bottom of the 8th for Caracas.

Win For Uviedo, Appearance For Gonzalez

A few winter league games with Pirates' players and friends...

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas  4,  Leones de Ponce  3  --  
Two runs in the 3rd and another 2 runs in the 6th gave Los Criollos the edge.  SS Luis Figueroa singled and scored a run.  3B Ramon Vazquez drove in a run with a ground out.

Senadores de San Juan  5,  Gigantes de Carolina  4  --  A 5-run 6th inning pushed Los Senadores past Los Gigantes.  That inning included a walk, a fielding error, two singles, and back-to-back triples.  Los Gigantes scored a run in the 4th on an error and a single, then scored 3 more runs in the 5th on two doubles and a triple.  Benji Gonzalez entered the game as a pinch-runner for Los Gigantes in the top of the 8th, but was doubled off second base.  He remained in the game at second base for the bottom of the inning.   

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Leones del Caracas  5,  Tigres de Aragua  2  --  
Ronald Uviedo earned the win with 5 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk.  Los Tigres' first run came in the 4th inning on a single, a double by 1B Hector Gimenez, and a sacrifice fly by LF Lastings Milledge.  In the 5th, a pair of singles, including one by C Raul Chavez, plus another sacrifice fly, gave Aragua their second run.  Los Leones scored 2 runs on three singles in the bottom of the 1st.  In the 2nd, a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly brought in a third Caracas run.  Two walks, two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave Los Leones two more runs in the 4th. LF Mike Ryan singled, but the runner from second base was out at the plate, on the throw in from Milledge to Chavez.  

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Tomateros de Culiacan  6,  Algodoneros de Guasave  3  --  
Los Tomateros scored a pair of runs in three different innings, beating Guasave, who scored single runs in three different innings.  SS/LF Luis Cruz led off the bottom of the 8th with a single for Los Tomateros, and he scored on a 2-run homer.  DH Yurendell de Caster walked to lead off the 7th for Guasave, and he came around to score that inning's run on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly.  Los Tomateros are leading the 7-game series 2-0.  In the other Mexican League series, Los Caneros de Los Mochis are leading Los Yaquis de Obregon 2 games to none. 

AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE
Sydney Blue Sox  4,  Adelaide Bite  3  --  
Bite starter Paul Mildren had some tough innings against the Blue Sox, and he suffered his 6th loss of the season.  A throwing error, and an RBI single gave the Blue Sox their first run in the bottom of the 1st.  Mildren gave up a walk and a pair of doubles, accounting for 2 runs, in the 2nd inning.  He worked around runners on base in the next three innings, including leaving two runners in scoring position after a walk and a double in the 5th.  He got into more trouble in the 6th, opening the inning with a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly, before being relieved.  Overall, Mildren gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts.  Meanwhile, the Bite were scoring a little, but not keeping up.  They picked up one run on an exciting play in the 4th.  1B Todd Gossage drove a liner into right field, and scrambled around for a triple, and when the Blue Sox' shortstop missed the catch on the throw in from right, Gossage was able to keep running, scoring on the error.  Gossage doubled and came around to score in the 7th inning.  Two singles and a fielding error gave the Bite one more run in the top of the 9th.
 

Homers For Milledge, Ryan, and Cruz

Cheering for the Pirates' players and friends in winter league playoff action ...

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tigres de Aragua  5,  Bravos de Margarita  4  --  
A double and a single in the top of the 10th gave Los Tigres the winning run.  Los Tigres had started the scoring in the top of the 1st, on three singles, including an RBI single by LF Lastings Milledge.  Los Bravos countered with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th.   Milledge tied the score with a solo home run in the top of the 6th.  With Jean Machi on the mound for Margarita in the top of the 8th, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch put a Tigres' batter on third base, and he scored on an RBI single.  Machi came back to pitch a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th.  Los Bravos tied the score again in the bottom of the 9th on a solo homer.  Los Tigres broke the tie in the top of the 10th, then held off Los Bravos in the bottom of the frame.  Wil Ledezma pitched a perfect 6th inning for Los Tigres, then gave up a 2-out single in the 7th.  C Raul Chavez and 1B Hector Gimenez picked that runner off first base to get Los Tigres out of the inning.  Gimenez went 0-for-4 at the plate, and Chavez went 0-for-2.  Miguel Perez came into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement behind the plate, but did not have a plate appearance.  

Leones del Caracas  10,  Caribes de Anzoategui  6  --  Seven runs in the top of the 1st gave Los Leones an edge that Los Caribes could not overcome.  Los Leones sent 11 batters to the plate in the 1st inning, and the first 6 batters reached base safely:  single, single, walk, grand slam, single, single (by C Carlos Maldonado).  After a pop out, LF Mike Ryan hit a 2-run homer, which was followed by a double, before the inning ended.  Maldonado added another RBI single in the 2nd inning, and Caracas picked up another 2-run homer in the top of the 9th.  Los Caribes scored in all but one of the first 6 innings, but four of those innings brought in just one run, not enough to catch up.

A Win For Machi

The Pirates' mini-camp begins tomorrow in Bradenton....  just 35 days until Spring Training begins,  81 days until major league opening day, and 87 days until the minor league opening day (not that anyone here is counting, of course....)

Meanwhile, the Caribbean leagues continue with their playoffs.  The Mexican Pacific League will begin the semifinal round on Tuesday. 

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE 
Caribes de Anzoategui  5,  Leones del Caracas  4  --  
LF Mike Ryan singled in the bottom of the 1st for Los Leones, and a walk, another single, and an error gave Los Caribes 2 runs in that inning.  They added a solo homer in the 5th, followed by a run on a single, two walks, and a sacrifice fly.  Then Los Caribes roared back at Los Leones in the top of the 6th.  A solo homer opened the inning, then a walk and a strikeout were followed by three singles and 2-RBI double, then a sacrifice fly, for 5 runs total.  C Carlos Maldonado went 0-for-4 for Los Leones.

Bravos de Margarita  4,  Aguilas de Zulia  3  --  Jean Machi was credited with the win, as he was the pitcher of record when Los Bravos won the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th.  Los Aguilas scored 3 runs in the top of the 4th, with a solo homer, and a 2-RBI single.  Three singles gave Los Bravos their first run in the bottom of the 3rd.  With two outs in the bottom of the 5th, three consecutive singles, a fielding error, and a balk brought in 2 more runs for Margarita to tie the score.  Machi came on to pitch the 8th and 9th innings for Los Bravos.  He faced just 6 batters, allowing a single, but then erasing that runner with a double play.  The bottom of the 9th began with a single, then two bunts, one with a throwing error by the Aguilas' pitcher, put two runners in scoring position.  An intentional walk loaded the bases, and an RBI single ended the game. 


PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas  4,  Senadores de San Juan  3  --  
Each team had a 3-run homer -- Los Criollos' came in the 4th inning, and Los Senadores' came in the bottom of the 9th.  The deciding run came in the top of the 6th by Los Criollos.  A double, an intentional walk to 3B Ramon Vazquez, and an RBI single drove in the winning run.  Vazquez walked twice in the game, while SS Luis Figueroa walked once, but neither had a hit.

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