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In yesterday's column, I broke down the 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates, identifying the players on their roster who profile as above-average starters, average starters, fringe-average options, and bench/bullpen players. A full MLB season requires far more than...

Team USA Exits Pan Am Tournament With A Third Place Tie

Team USA wrapped up the Pan American tournament with a rain-out this afternoon.� That means that the USA and Venezuela were declared tied for third place in the tournament.� Cuba and the Dominican Republic were scheduled to play tonight (Wednesday).� (UPDATE:� The Dominican Republic took the gold medal with a 5-2 win over Cuba.)� The third place finish qualifies the US for the 2011 Pan American Games, which will be played in Guadalajara, Mexico, and also for the 2011 Baseball World Cup.

Four members of Team USA were named to the All-Tournament Team:� 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, and LHP Mike Montgomery, all from the Royals' organization, and CF Mike Trout (Angels).

Hosmer led Team USA with a .389 average (14-for-36).� Trout led in homers with 3, and Moustakas led in RBI with 8.� Pirates' Chase d'Arnaud and Todd Frazier (Reds) each had 2 stolen bases, the most for the team.� Former Pirate Todd Redmond (Braves) pitched the most innings -- 12.2, and Justin De Fratus (Phillies) and Tim Collins (Royals) both appeared in 5 tournament games, leading the bullpen.� Redmond, Nick Hill (Mariners), and Montgomery each had 2 wins, and De Fratus and Anthony Carter (White Sox) each had 2 saves.� Chris Archer (Cubs) led with 15 strikeouts.

Chase d'Arnaud appeared in 8 of Team USA's games, and hit .321 (9-for-28).� Two of his hits were doubles and one was a triple, and he had 4 RBI.� Erik Kratz appeared in 5 games and hit .278 (5-for-18), including 2 doubles and 4 RBI.� Former Pirate Brad Eldred appeared in all 10 games as the DH.� He hit .250 (10-for-40) and tied with Reds' Todd Frazier to lead the team in strikeouts with 9.

Todd Redmond earned a 1.42 ERA in his 12.2 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks, with 10 strikeouts.� None of the hits he gave up were for extra bases.

USA Defeats Cuba

Team USA� 4,� Cuba� 1

Cubs' farmhand Chris Archer pitched an amazing 6 innings for Team USA as they continued their winning ways in the last pool game of the Pan American tournament with a win over Cuba.� Team USA will enter the semi-final round of the tournament with a perfect 9-0 record, while Cuba drops to 7-2.

Archer's 10 strikeouts kept the Cuban batters stymied for 6 innings.� They managed only 2 hits -- a double in the 2nd inning, and a single to lead off the top of the 4th.� Archer did not walk any batters, facing just 2 over the minimum.

Team USA had only one hit over the first two innings -- a single by DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) to lead off the 2nd inning.�� Eldred reached second base, but was left stranded.� The USA got onto the scoreboard in the 3rd inning.� With one out, SS Brian Barden (Marlins) beat out a grounder to short for an infield single.� CF Mike Trout (Angels) singled up the middle, pushing Barden to second base.� After a pop out, 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) doubled down the left field line.� Barden scored easily from second base, and Trout raced around from first to score also, giving the USA a 2-0 lead.

The USA threatened again in the 4th, when 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) led off with a single, but was thrown out at second when he tried to stretch it.� If Hosmer had held at first, he might have been able to score on LF Todd Frazier's (Reds) double.� Frazier was subsequently tagged out at third base when RF Jamie Hoffmann (Dodgers) grounded right to the third baseman.

An error by the Cubans led to two unearned runs for Team USA in the 6th.� Moustakas opened the inning with a walk, and Eldred singled, moving Moustakas to second base.� The Cubans brought in a new pitcher, but that didn't help.� Hosmer reached base on an error by the Cuban first baseman, as Moustakas scored on the error.� Eldred rounded third and headed for the plate, but by that time, the Cubans had the ball back under control, and Eldred was out at the plate.� Hosmer ended up on third base, and moments later, he scored on a wild pitch.� Frazier kept the inning going with a single.� C Erik Kratz reached base on a fielder's choice, though Frazier was out at second base.� Kratz was also forced out at second base on the next play, ending the inning.

Nick Hill (Mariners) relieved Archer to begin the 7th inning.� He gave up a pair of 2-out singles, but got a strikeout to end the 7th inning.� He also struck out the first two batters he faced in the 8th, but then gave up a run on a single and a triple.�� Anthony Carter (White Sox) took over for Hill, and got a fly out to end the 8th.� Carter worked around a double in the 9th inning to keep the Cubans from scoring again.

Pirates' farmhand Chase d'Arnaud did not get into this game.� Kratz went 0-for-3 at the plate, and Eldred was 2-for-4.

Team USA now continues on to the semi-finals as the #1 seed.� They will play the Dominican Republic on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.� Cuba and Venezuela are the other two teams to reach the semi-final round.� Cuba has a 5-1 record in round two, the Dominicans have a 4-2 record, while Venezuela is fourth with a 3-3 record.

Also on Monday:

Canada 14,� Puerto Rico� 6 -- The Canadians had a hit-fest at the expense of Puerto Rico, posting 14 hits and two 5-run innings.� Former Pirate farmhand RF Jamie Romak went 2-for-3 with 5 RBI -- he doubled and hit a 3-run homer in the 8th.� Three other Canadians also homered:� CF Adam Stern (Brewers), C Chris Robinson (Cubs), and 1B Scott Thorman (Royals).� Robinson had 5 hits and 3 RBI in the game. � Former Pirate 3B Ramon Vasquez had 2 hits for Puerto Rico, and former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had one hit.� Pirate farmhand Tom Boleska pitched 1.1 inning and gave up only one hit.

Team Canada is done for this tournament, but they have qualified to play in next year's Pan Am tournament and also in the World Baseball Cup.

Also on Tuesday:� the opening of the Arizona Fall League and two of the Caribbean Winter Leagues -- the Mexican Pacific and the Venezuelan Leagues.

Redmond Leads Team USA To Victory

Team USA� 5,� Nicaragua� 0

Starter Todd Redmond pitched 7 shutout innings this afternoon to lead Team USA to victory over�Nicaragua in their first game of the second round of the Pan American Tournament.� Due to persistent rain in Puerto Rico, the location of the game was moved from Ponce to Carolina, then the time of the game was moved up to 4 pm.� The team barely had time to get dressed and stretch, and it was time to play.

Redmond started the game by getting into a jam in the top of the 1st.� He gave up a single to the lead-off hitter, then got two outs, then loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batter. But Redmond got out of the jam with a strikeout, and he sailed after that.� He gave up a single with two outs in the 2nd inning, but a base running blunder (don't round first base and then try to locate the ball)� let 1b Eric Hosmer tag the runner out to end the inning.� Two Nicaraguan coaches were ejected after arguing the play.� Redmond gave up two more singles -- one in the 4th, leaving the runner stranded, and one in the 7th, who he erased with a double play.� He struck out a total of 6 batters in his 7 innings.�

Team USA got the bats going in the bottom of the�1st.� With one out, 2B Cord Phelps (Cleveland Indians) doubled, then 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) walked.� When the Nicaraguan pitcher made a pick-off throw to first but forgot to make sure his first baseman was there to catch the ball, Phelps raced around to score on the error.� Moustakas ended up on third base, and a sacrifice fly by DH Brad Eldred brought him across the plate, to give Team USA a 2-0 lead.�

The bats were quiet in the 2nd inning, and SS Chase d'Arnaud walked and stole second base in the 3rd, but was left stranded.� Team USA added a run in the 4th inning.� Hosmer singled, then advanced to second base on a fly out by LF Todd Frazier (Reds).� C Erik Kratz's RBI single plated Hosmer, and the Americans were up 3-0.�

The next 9 USA batters went down in order, until the bottom of the 8th.� D'Arnaud led off that inning with another walk, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.� A fly out by CF Mike Trout (Angels) pushed d'Arnaud to third base, then he scored on an RBI single by Phelps.� Eldred reached base on an error, then an RBI single by Hosmer brought Phelps in with the USA's 5th run.�

Tim Collins (Royals) pitched the 8th inning, working around a lead-off single.� Justin De Fratus (Phillies) took the 9th.� He gave up a 2-out single, then ended the game with a strikeout.�

�The win guarantees that Team USA will finish at least in the top 7 of this tournament, which gives them an automatic spot in the 2011 Pan Am tournament.

Also playing:

Dominican Republic� 5,�� Canada� 2

The Canadians also got a change in venue (from Ponce to San Juan) and an earlier start time due to the rain.� The Dominicans got started in the bottom of the 1st inning with a run on a bunt single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.� They picked up two more runs in the 3rd, courtesy of a triple, a single, and a double.� Canada got one run back in the top of the 4th,�on a single by Pete Orr, followed by a single that bounced off the first base umpire and a throwing error by the first baseman, allowing Orr to score.� Former Pirate farmhand Jamie Romak added another run for Canada with a solo home run in the 8th.� But the Dominican team scored one run in the 4th and another in the 8th, to easily take the win.�

Canada is now in a tight spot -- they must win their game against Panama on Saturday in order to advance to the semi-finals.

Team USA Prepares For Round Two

Round Two of the Pan American tournament begins on Friday night, and Team USA leads off with a game against Nicaragua, after having had a day off on Thursday.� They continue over the weekend with afternoon games against Venezuela on Saturday and Canada on Sunday.� Then they finish round two with a game (which�might even be a preview of the championship rounds) against Cuba on Monday night.� Both Cuba and Team USA had 5-0 records in Round One.

Some stats from Round One:

Chase d'Arnaud: batting average .412 (7-for-17) with 3 doubles and a triple, and 4 RBI.

Erik Kratz:� batting average .333 (4-for-12) with two doubles and 3 RBI, including a hit-by-pitch for an RBI.

Brad Eldred: batting average .381 (8-for-21) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run, and 4 RBI.

Todd Redmond:� had made one start and earned the win in that game, pitching 5.2 innings and allowing 3 rund (2 earned) on 6 hits, one walk, and 2 hit batters, plus 4 strikeouts.

The Arizona Fall League begins play on Tuesday, as well as the Mexican Pacific League and the Venezuelan Winter League... stay tuned!

Team USA Overwhelms Dominicans

Team USA� 8,� Dominican Republic� 3

SS Chase d'Arnaud's 2-run double sparked a 5-run 3rd inning that led Team USA over the Dominican Republic in the Pan American tournament in Puerto Rico tonight.� The Dominicans scored a run in each of the first two innings, to take a 2-0 lead off American starter Chris Archer (Cubs).� Team� USA tied the score in the bottom of the 2nd inning, then burst out with 5 runs in the 3rd off Dominican starter Bartolo Colon. Mike Trout began the fun with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pick-off throw.� Cord Phelps' single scored Trout.� Phelps moved up to second base on the throw in from the outfield and advanced to third base on a fly out by Mike Moustakas (Royals).� DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) walked, then an RBI single by 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) drove in Phelps.� Todd Frazier (Reds) worked a walk to load the bases, then C Erik Kratz picked up an RBI (Eldred) when he was hit on the hand by a pitch.� (Kratz was ok and stayed in the game.)� After another out, d'Arnaud's single up the middle scored Frazier and Hosmer, and Team USA had a 7-2 lead.� Each team scored one run in the 4th, and that was all the scoring for the rest of the game.

Brad Eldred also singled, scoring again.� Eric Hosmer had 3 hits and an RBI in the game.

Archer pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks, with 5 strikeouts.� Reliever Nick Hill (Mariners) pitched the next three innings and held the Dominicans scoreless.� Anthony Carter (White Sox) and Tim Collins (Royals) each pitched one scoreless inning to wrap things up.

Team USA wraps up their first-round play on Wednesday evening, facing Panama.

Cuba� 4,� Canada� 2 --� RF Jamie Romak doubled twice, and one was a ground rule double that bounced over the left field wall to drive in both of Canada's runs in the 4th inning to give Team Canada the first lead of the game.� But Cuba got one run back in the bottom of the 4th.� They scored 3 more runs in the 6th with two outs, when a bases-loaded double cleared the bases to take the win. Reliever Tom Boleska pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th inning, allowing no hits and striking out 2 batters.

Puerto Rico� 3,� Colombia 2 --� 3B Ramon Vasquez had 2 hits (a single and a double) and SS Luis Figueroa added 3 hits including a solo home run in Puerto Rico's victory.

Team USA Has A Hit-Fest Against Colombia

Team USA� 13,� Colombia� 6

Team USA recorded 19 hits on their way to 13 runs as they ran over Colombia.� SS Chase d'Arnaud collected 3 of the hits, with one RBI, and C Erik Kratz and DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) had 2 hits each.� Team USA got going with a big 7-run 3rd inning.� 2B Brian Barden (Marlins) opened the inning with a double into left center field.� D'Arnaud grounded to second base, moving Barden to third.� RF Brett Jackson (Cubs) and CF Mike Trout (Angels) both walked, loading the bases.� 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) drove in two runs (Barden and Jackson) with a single that slipped into right field.� Brad Eldred added a run with another RBI single that brought in Trout.� 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) also singled, plating Moustakas.� Then LF Jamie Hoffman (Dodgers) tripled into right center, scoring both Eldred and Hosmer.� Hoffman scored when Kratz grounded to short, and the Americans had a 7-0 lead.

Colombia scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd, on a walk, a triple, and an RBI ground out.� Team USA countered by scoring in the next 4 innings.� D'Arnaud singled to lead off the 4th inning, moved to second base on an error, to third on a ground out, and then scored on Trout's double.� Kratz picked up an RBI with his double in the 5th, and d'Arnaud's single drove in Kratz.� Doubles by both Trout and Moustakas added another run in the 6th.� D'Arnaud scored again in the 7th, when he doubled and LF Todd Frazier (Reds) brought him across the plate with a single.� Trout collected another RBI with a single that scored Frazier.

Mike Montgomery made the start for Team USA, earning the win with 5 innings of work.� He gave up the 2 runs in the third innings on a total of 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters.� Andre Lamontagne pitched 2 innings in relief.� He gave up Colombia's other 4 runs (one earned), all in the 6th inning.� An error put the first runner on base, then a double, a single, another double, and another error brought in the runs.� Bruce Billings finished the game by retiring the side in order in the 8th and 9th innings.

Also playing:

Canada�� 13,� Argentina� 2 --� Starting pitcher Mike Johnson gave his bullpen a rest by pitching 7 innings and allowing only 2 runs on 10 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts.� The Canadians scored in 5 of the 7 innings, including a 6-run 6th inning.� The final stroke was a 2-run home run by RF Adam Loewen (Blue Jays) in the bottom of the 7th, which gave the Canadians the greater-than-10-run lead that ended the game early.

Puerto Rico� 7,� Panama� 6 -- 3B Ramon Vasquez scored 3 of Puerto Rico's runs, though he had only one hit -- he also was hit by a pitch.� Former Indy Indian SS Luis Figueroa had 2 hits and an RBI.� Puerto Rico scored 4 runs in the 2nd inning, but Panama caught up with 3 runs in the 4th, and had a 6-5 lead going into the top of the 9th.� That was when Puerto Rico scored 2 more runs to take the win.

Other news:

Pedro Alvarez, last week's Player of the Week, is now also the September Rookie of the Month for the National League.� The former Indy Indian hit .311 in September, with 10 doubles, 5 homers, and 26 RBI.

The Arizona Fall League begins play next week.� Also starting play on Tuesday of next week:� The Mexican Pacific League and the Venezuelan Winter League.� The Dominican and Puerto Rican Leagues begin play on October 22nd.� Pirates' farmhand Rogelios Noris is slated to join his hometown Venados de Mazatlan.

Team USA Demolishes Aruba; Boleska Struggles For Team Canada

Team USA� 14,� Aruba� 0

Four USA pitchers combined on a one-hit shutout of Team Aruba in this evening's Pan-Am Tournament.� Everett Teaford (Royals) made the start and faced only one batter over the minimum -- he gave up a single to Aruba's LF Christian Diaz to open the game.� The next two batters struck out, and the first inning ended with a fielder's choice grounder that had Diaz out at first base.� Teaford retired the next 12 batters he faced, including 10 strikeouts.� He struck out the side in the 5th inning.� Bryan Henry (Diamondbacks) relieved Teaford for the 6th inning, and Henry struck out two batters then got a ground out to end the inning.� Anthony Carter (White Sox) retired the first two batters in the top of the 7th, then Nick Hill (Mariners) came in from the bullpen to get the last out of the inning.

The American bats were quiet for the first two innings, but things got going in the bottom of the 3rd.� RF Jamie Hoffmann (Dodgers) singled to lead off the inning, then SS Brian Barden (Marlins) put Team USA onto the scoreboard with a 2-run homer.� Moments later, 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) added another home run, to give the USA a 3-0 lead.

A walk by C Jordan Pacheco (Rockies), a single by Hoffmann, and a fielder's choice on a grounder by Barden made it 4-0 in the 4th inning.� Then Team USA broke things wide open in the 5th.� With one out, 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) and LF Todd Frazier (Reds) both walked.� After a pitching change and a fly out, an error on a pick-off throw to first put Frazier on second and let Hosmer come around to score.� Hoffmann walked, then another error at shortstop on a ball hit by Barden loaded the bases.� CF Brett Jackson's (Cubs) single scored Hoffman and Frazier.� 2B Cord Phelps (Cleveland Indians) singled, driving in Barden.� Jackson advanced to third base on Phelps' single, and when the Aruba pitcher balked, Jackson scored.� Phelps scored from second base on Moustakas' single.� DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) also singled, and Hosmer loaded the bases with his second walk of the inning.� A fly out ended the inning with the bases still loaded, but Team USA had scored 6 runs, and had a 10-0 lead.

And it wasn't over yet.� Pacheco walked again to open the bottom of the 6th.� Four straight singles, by Hoffmann, Barden, Jackson, and Phelps brought in 3 runs, then a ground out by Moustakas drove in Jackson with the fourth run of the inning.� That gave Team USA a 14-run lead.� Aruba got one more chance in the top of the 7th, and went down in order, and with the international rules (they don't like the term "mercy rules") that ended the game.

Pirates' Erik Kratz and Chase d'Arnaud did not get into this game.

Also on Sunday:

Venezuela� 5,� Canada� 3 --� Canada scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the 1st, then didn't score again until C Cole Armstrong (White Sox) smacked a solo home run in the bottom of the 9th.� RF Jamie Romak had one hit in four trips to the plate.� Tom Boleska pitched 2 innings for Canada, and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in the 4th inning.� Dave Davidson followed Boleska, but he also allowed 2 of Venezuela's 3 runs in the 6th, on 2 hits and 2 walks.� Davidson was charged with the loss.

Dominican Republic� 3,� Puerto Rico� 2 --� This one took 13 innings, and that was with the international rules that start the extra innings with runners already on base.� 2B/3B Ramon Vasquez went 0-for-2 at the plate and was hit by a pitch.� SS Luis Figueroa drove in one of the Puerto Rican runs with a sacrifice fly.

Team USA Takes First Tournament Game

Team USA� 7,� Puerto Rico� 4

Team USA opened the Pan-Am tournament with a win over host Puerto Rico in Ponce on Saturday evening.� (USA was the home team for the game.)

Team USA got onto the scoreboard first, with 4 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning.� DH Brad Eldred (Rockies) opened the inning with a triple into left center field.� 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) walked, and LF Todd Frazier (Reds/Louisville Bats), another name familiar to Indy Indians' fans, brought them both in with a 3-run home run.� CF Mike Trout (Angels) added the fourth run when he tripled, then scored on an error by the Puerto Rican SS Luis Figueroa (probably the same Luis Figueroa who played for the Indy Indians in 2004).

Puerto Rico got one run back in the 4th.� RF Jorge Padilla led off with a single, and moved to second base when 1B Naftali Soto was hit by a pitch.� A fielder's choice put Padilla on third, and he scored on DH Gabriel Martinez's RBI single.

The Puerto Ricans came within one run in the top of the 6th.� Padilla began with a walk, then after two outs, Martinez singled again, advancing Padilla to third base.� C Martin Maldonado singled, which drove in Padilla, then an error by CF Trout let Martinez score also.� Tim Collins (Royals)� came on to relieve starter (former Pirate farmhand) Todd Redmond (Braves) and Collins ended the inning with a pop out.� Redmond had pitched 5.2 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and a walk with 4 strikeouts.

Team USA responded with 3 more runs in the bottom of the inning.� Todd Frazier and C Erik Kratz opened the frame with back-to-back singles, and Trout's ground out pushed them both into scoring position.� RF Brett Jackson (Cubs) hit the second 3-run home run of the game, and Team USA had a 7-3 lead.

Puerto Rico made one last attempt to rally in the top of the 9th.� They loaded the bases with a hit batter (2B Irving Falu), a single by another former Pirate, 3B Ramon Vasquez (now with the Mariners), and an error that let Figueroa reach base.� Padilla grounded to second base, but there was only time to get the out at first, so Falu scored.� Another ground out ended the inning and Team USA had the win.

Doubles were popular among Pirates' and former Pirates' hitters.� Brad Eldred doubled in the 3rd, but was left on base.� SS Chase d'Arnaud doubled in the 4th, and advanced to third when Jackson singled, but he was left standing on third base.� Erik Kratz doubled in the 8th inning, and he was also left stranded.

In other games:

Team Canada won their first game also, beating Nicaragua 7-6, but they had to battle both the rain and Nicaragua's comebacks. Canada took a 3-run lead in the 2nd inning, including an RBI double by RF Jamie Romak. Nicaragua scored one run in the bottom of the 4th, and Romak got the run right back for Canada in the top of the 5th with a solo home run.� Then Nicaragua scored single runs in both the bottom of the 5th and the 6th (a solo home run), to make it a one-run game at 4-3.� Canada scored 2 runs in the top of the 7th, when SS Jonathan Malo (Mets) tripled, then scored on 2B Pete Orr's (Nationals) single.� Nicaragua tied the score with 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th on a bases-loaded double.� But Malo and Orr came through in the top of the 9th -- a bunt single by Malo, a single by CF Adam Stern (Brewers), and an RBI single by Orr gave Canada the lead and the win.

On Friday night, Puerto Rico beat Aruba by a score of 12 - 0.� Only 7 innings were played -- remember that in international baseball, there are "mercy rules", and after 7 innings, the Puerto Ricans were ahead by more than 10 runs.� The Aruba pitchers walked 9 batters and gave up 11 hits in those 7 innings.� 3B Ramon Vasquez scored twice and was 0-for-1 in official plate appearances.� SS Luis Figueroa made another error but als had a hit and an RBI.

**

Just over a week until the Arizona Fall League begins play.

Kratz and D’Arnaud Head to Puerto Rico With Team USA

Pirates' minor leaguers C Erik Kratz and INF Chase d'Arnaud are off to Puerto Rico with Team USA for the Pan American Games Tournament.� The tournament is run by COPABE (Confederacion Panamericana de Beisbol) and is a World Cup qualifying tournament.� Team USA will be practicing at Roberto Clemente Stadium (a good omen for Pirates' minor leaguers) in Carolina, PR today, then at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan tomorrow (Friday).� Their first tournament game will be on Oct 2nd (Sat.), as the Americans face Puerto Rico in Ponce.� Team USA is also scheduled to play Aruba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in the first round of the tournament.

D'Arnaud was a recent addition to the Team USA roster, just this week, as Andrew Romine joined the Angels' active roster.� Kratz was also not on the original team, but joined last week when Brian Jeroloman (Blue Jays) was removed from the roster.

Former Pirate Brad Eldred, now in the Rockies' organization, is also a member of Team USA, as well as former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond, now with the Braves.

Team Canada has been working out with Team USA in North Carolina, though the Canadians are in a different group for the first round of the tournament.� Pirate farmhand RHP Tom Boleska (Altoona) will be pitching for Canada.� Two former Pirates farmhands will join him -- LHP Dave Davidson and OF Jamie Romak.� Another familiar face will be in the third base coaching box:� former Altoona manager Tim Leiper.

Wilson Dominates As Curve Take Game 3

Altoona Curve� 7,� Harrisburg Senators� 2 ...�� (box)

The Pirates' only minor league affiliate still playing in the post-season, the Altoona Curve, defeated the Harrisburg Senators 7-2 in the third game of the Eastern League Western Division playoffs tonight in Harrisburg.� After splitting the first two games in Altoona, the Curve now have a 2-1 game lead in the best-of-5.

The Curve pitching was a big key in the game, as starter Justin Wilson dominated the Senators for 6 scoreless innings.� He allowed only two hits and struck out 7 Harrisburg batters, though he also walked 5.� The first two batters in the Harrisburg line-up, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and SS Josh Johnson, led off in four different innings, and each time at least one got on base.� Lombardozzi had both of the singles given up by Wilson.� In the bottom of the 1st, Lombardozzi led off with a single and Johnson walked.� Wilson got a line out and a strikeout, then walked another batter to load the bases, but then ended the inning with a fly out.

Wilson retired the side in order in the 2nd, then the same two came up again to begin the 3rd.� This time Lombardozzi grounded out, then Johnson walked again.� Wilson got a double play to erase Johnson at second base, ending the inning.� Another walk and another double play got Wilson through the 4th inning, and he retired the side in order in the 5th.� The 1-2 punch began the 6th inning with another single by Lombardozzi (only Wilson's second hit allowed) and a third walk to Johnson.� This time Lombardozzi advanced to third base by tagging up on a fly out, but two strikeouts ended the inning.

Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 7th inning.� He worked around a single in that inning, then had to face guess who to lead off the 8th inning.� This time they turned it around -- Colla walked Lombardozzi and gave up a single to Johnson.� Colla wasn't any more impressed than Wilson had been.� He left them standing right there, with a strikeout and two short fly outs.

Meanwhile, the Curve batters were busy scoring.� They posted a total of 12 hits, with five different batters collecting 2 hits each:� 2B Chase d'Arnaud, 3B Josh Harrison, 1B Matt Hague, lF Jim Negrych, and RF Miles Durham. The Curve threatened in the 2nd, when Hague led off with a line drive single into right field.� He was erased with a double play, then C Hector Gimenez and Negrych worked back-to-back walks.� They were both left on base when a fly out ended the inning.� Three consecutive singles got another rally going in the 3rd inning.� D'Arnaud and Harrison both grounded through the left side of the infield, and SS Jordy Mercer lined the third single into right field.� That brought up Hague, who rocketed a long ball off the top of the wall in center field, not missing a home run by much.� It fell in for a double, clearing the bases to give Altoona a 3-0 lead.

Eight Call-Ups Cap The Season

As expected, shortly after the Indianapolis Indians' season ended, the Pirates made the phone call to bring up seven players to the big league club.� Some of the call-ups were expected, but there were surprises too.

IMG_4652Pitchers Brad Lincoln and Justin Thomas, who are already on the Pirates' 40-man roster and have spent time with the Pirates already this season, were both recalled.� Catcher Jason Jaramillo and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco are also on the 40-man roster, and both were expected to be brought up.� Jaramillo spent the first half of the season with the Pirates, while Ciriaco came to the Pirates' organization in a trade from the Diamondbacks at the end of July.� It's the first trip to the majors for Ciricao.

The other four players were not on the 40-man roster and have to be added.� Outfielders Brandon Moss and Alex Presley (photo) did not expect the call up for just that reason -- they didn't think the Pirates would want to bother adding them to the roster and pay them to spend a lot of time on the bench.� But Presley was going to need to be added to the 40-man roster after the season in order to prevent him from being eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft.� The Pirates' outfield is going to be crowded with outfielders looking for a chance to play and hit.� Pitchers Brian Bass and Steven Jackson have both pitched for the Pirates at some point this season, but were removed from the 40-man roster.� Now they are being addd back on, to help bolster the Pirates' bullpen.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates had to make other moves.� Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and Jeff Clement were both moved to the 60-day disabled list.� Infielder Akinori Iwamura and catcher Erik Kratz were both removed from the 40-man roster and designated for assignment.� The Pirates had been trying to find a spot for Iwamura with another team, but have been unsuccessful.� Kratz was the feel-good story of the summer with his call-up during the All-Star game, but he lost out in the numbers game.

Moss Takes IL RBI Title As Indians Win

Indianapolis Indians� 5,� Louisville Bats� 3 ..��� (box)

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RF Brandon Moss's (photo) double in the top of the 7th inning gave the Indians the winning run and gave Moss his league-leading 96th RBI at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky this evening.� RBI #96 secured Moss' win of the International League's RBI title.� The second-place slugger, Durham's Dan Johnson, is now playing in the major leagues, and the third-place slugger, Gwinnett's Freddie Freeman, is also in the majors. Two players are tied for fourth, Lehigh Valley's Andy Tracy and Charlotte's Stefan Gartrell, are both still in this league, but one of them would have to get 16 RBI tomorrow to catch up to Moss.�


Tribe LF Kevin Melillo got down to business with the first pitch of the game, which he ripped on a line drive into right field for a triple.� SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a single into center field, allowing Melillo to score easily from third base.� After a strikeout by CF Alex Presley, Moss lined a single into right field, moving Ciriaco to second base.� Another strikeout to 1B Mitch Jones, then C Erik Kratz singled up the middle, driving in Ciriaco, and the Indians had the early 2-0 lead.

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IMG_4455Chris Jakubauskas (photo) made the start for the Indians, and he was happy to take the mound with two runs in his pocket.� Jakubauskas buzzed through the first three innings, allowing only a double -- to Bats' pitcher Jeremy Horst -- in the 3rd inning.� Jakubauskas began the 4th inning by giving up a single to SS Zack Cozart and a walk to Danny Dorn, but he retired the next three batters, and the two runners were left standing on base.

The Bats did get to Jakubauskas in the 5th.� Three consecutive singles opened the inning -- by 3B Eric Eymann, 2B Kris Negron, and pinch-hitter Mike Costanzo.� Eymann scored on Costanzo's grounder that just barely got past 2B Brian Friday and into right field. � CF Dave Sappelt followed with a grounder to Friday, who was able to get the force out at second base.� The speedy Sappelt beat out Pedro Ciriaco's relay throw to first base, as Negron scored the tying run from third base.� Zack Cozart grounded to 3B Doug Bernier, who also got the force out of Sappelt at second base, but Friday's thow to first base was not in time to get the out on Cozart.� The inning ended with a pop out by Danny Dorn.

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