The two other starters, Omar Cruz and Nick Garcia, both struggled.
TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS
Game Time: 7:08pm
Starting Pitcher: Roansy Contreras
- Final Line: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K
- Rodolfo Castro 2-4, 2B
- Canaan Smith-Njigba 1-2, HR (1), 2 BB
- Brendt Citta 1-1, HR (1)
- Trey McGough 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
- Cristofer Melendez 1 IP, 1 BB
Indianapolis (12-10) beat Iowa, 4-3, in dramatic fashion. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth, Indy got a leadoff home run from Canaan Smith-Njigba and a one-out, pinch-hit home run from Brendt Citta. It was the first of the year for each. Otherwise, the Indians struggled at the plate. They had only five hits and fanned 17 times. Oneil Cruz was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He’s batting .176. Travis Swaggerty, who fanned three times and had a sacrifice bunt, is hitting .164. Rodolfo Castro had a single and a double. Roansy Contreras started and threw three shutout innings, with five strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches, up from 57 in his last start, which seems more like stalling than “stretching out.” Matt Eckelman gave up all three runs. Trey McGough, working his way back from injury, threw two scoreless innings and struck out three. Cristofer Melendez got the save with a scoreless ninth.
DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE
Game Time: 7:05pm
Starting Pitcher: Omar Cruz
- Final Line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
- Jared Triolo 4-5
- Nick Gonzales 3-5
- Liover Peguero 0-3, 2 BB
- J.C. Flowers 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Altoona (9-11) lost to Akron, 4-2. Omar Cruz was pitching impressively in relief, but had more trouble in his first start. He gave up four runs on four hits, two of them longballs. J.C. Flowers threw two and a third scoreless innings, although he let one of Cruz’ runners score. The offense had eight hits, seven of them by Jared Triolo and Nick Gonzales. After a bad start to the season, Triolo is hitting .292. Aaron Shackelford had the only extra-base hit, a double. Matt Fraizer and Carter Bins each went 0-4. They’re batting .164 and .154, respectively.
HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS
Game Time: 6:00pm
Starting Pitcher: Nick Garcia
- Final Line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
- Yoyner Fajardo 1-4, BB, 2 SB
- Maikol Escotto 3-4, 3B, BB, SB
- Henry Davis 1-4
Nick Garcia had a very rough start as Greensboro (7-13) lost to Rome, 8-5. Garcia gave up seven runs, six earned. The Grasshoppers had six hits and struck out “only” 14 times. Maikol Escotto had half the hits, including a triple. Henry Davis had a two-run single and did not get hit by a pitch.
LOW-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS
Game Time: 6:30pm
Starting Pitcher: Po-Yu Chen
- Final Line: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
- Jacob Gonzalez 2-4
- Tsung-Che Cheng 1-4
- Juan Jerez 1-4
- Jakob Goldfarb 2-2, BB, HBP
Bradenton (12-8) got a strong start from Po-Yu Chen and beat Dunedin, 5-4. Chen gave up only one hit and an unearned run over five innings, while striking out seven. Xavier Concepcion and Yunior Thibo combined to allow three runs in the seventh. That put Dunedin up, 4-3, but the Marauders came back with two in the bottom half and hung on. The Marauders had eight hits, all singles. Jacob Gonzalez and Jakob Goldfarb each had two.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.