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The Pittsburgh Pirates are 35-37 after winning two bullpen games in the last week, while getting reliable starts from their rotation. This week's Statcast Heroes dives into those bullpen games, while looking at the depth out...
The Pittsburgh Pirates called up right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies prior to Monday's game. With the bullpen depleted after two bullpen games over the last week, Jefferies joined Dennis Santana as the middle relief options available for...

Leach Pitches 7 Shutout Innings; Power Lose #6 Straight

Bradenton Marauders �13, �St. Lucie Mets �1 (box)

Brian Leach won his third game of the season with 7 shutout innings against St. Lucie. �Leach scattered 4 hits, no walks, and had one batter reach base on an error. �He never had more than one runner on base in any one inning. �He also struck out 8 Mets' batters.

The only run the Mets scored came in the 8th inning. �Ramon Aguero took over for Leach to begin the 8th. �He gave up a single, then a passed ball and a ground out put the runner on third base. �Another single drove in the run. �Noah Krol pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing one single.

While the Marauders' pitching staff was holding the Mets down, the Mets' pitching staff was having a lot more trouble with the Marauders' bats. �They were quiet for the first two innings, then exploded for 5 runs in the 3rd. �CF Austin McClune began the fun with a walk. �DH Andrew Walker dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but when the Mets' pitcher missed the pick-up, the Marauders had runners on first and second with no outs. �2B Adenson Chourio also bunted, and the bases were loaded. �SS Greg Picart cleared the bases with a triple into right field. �RF Robbie Grossman kept things going with a walk, and a wild pitch put him on second base, though it didn't let Picart score. �Picart did score on C Tony Sanchez's sacrifice fly, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore drove in Grossman.

McClune got the next inning started too, this time with a single. �Walker walked, and Chourio singled, scoring McClune. �A balk moved both runners into scoring position, and a wild pitch brought in Walker. �Grossman's sacrifice fly plated Chourio, and the Marauders were up, 8-0.

It was Grossman's turn to triple in the 6th, which brought in both Walker, who had reached base on a fielding error, and Picart, who had singled. �Picart drove in his 4th run of the game with a single in the 8th, after McClune walked and Chourio singled for the second time. �Another fielding error by the Mets put Latimore on base in the 9th, and 1B Calvin Anderson brought him in with his 6th home run of the season.

Altoona Is No-Hit Victim in Night Cap

Game 1: �Altoona Curve �3, �Harrisburg Senators �2 (box)

The Curve got the evening off to a good start in the first of two 7-inning games, as they made up for the rain-out on Wednesday. �C Kris Watts led the offense with 2 hits and SS Chase d'Arnaud drove in 2 of the Curve runs.

Harrisburg scored first, with a run in the 2nd inning on two singles, a wild pitch by Altoona starter Tim Alderson, and a sacrifice fly. �The Curve tried to respond in the bottom of the inning, when Watts and LF Anthony Norman both singled, and Alderson walked to load the bases. �All three were left on base when a line out ended the inning. �But the Curve got the job done in the 4th inning. �RF Alex Presley led off by beating out a bunt for a single. �Watts lined another single into left field. �3B Shelby Ford dropped down a sacrifice bunt, and when the Harrisburg third baseman threw wide of first base for an error, Presley raced around to score, leaving Watts on third and Ford on second. �An intentional walk to Norman brought up Alderson, who flied out for the first out of the inning. �Then d'Arnaud ripped a line drive into left field, scoring both Watts and Ford. �The Curve came close to getting another run, when CF Gorkys Hernandez flied out to right field, but instead of that being a sacrifice fly, Norman was thrown out at the plate after tagging up.

Alderson gave up another run in the top of the 5th, on a single, a stolen base, and another single. �He pitched a total of 6 innings and allowed those 2 runs on 7 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts. �Alderson earned his 5th win of the season, giving him a 5-2 record. �Danny Moskos earned his 14th save of the season by pitching a perfect 7th inning.

Game 2: �Senators �1, �Curve 0 (box)

The second game was another story. �SS Chase d'Arnaud led off the bottom of the 1st with a walk. �He was immediately erased when CF Gorkys Hernandez bounced into a double play. �And that was it. �No more Curve base runners, no hits, no more walks, no one reaching on an error or being hit by a pitch. �Just another 19 outs, 21 all together (it was a 7-inning game, as part of the double-header). �Harrisburg starter Chuck James pitched 5 innings and struck out 7, including striking out 6 Curve batters in a row in the 3rd and 4th innings. �Reliever Cole Kimball pitched a perfect 6th including 2 more strikeouts. �Reliever Zech Zinicola pitched the 7th, another perfect inning with two strikeouts.

And, as if that weren't bad enough -- it was even worse for Curve starter Rudy Owens. He pitched 7 innings and allowed only one run on 7 hits, no walks, with one strikeout, and still suffered the loss (his 3rd of the season). �Owens worked around a single in the 2nd and a double in the 3rd to keep the game scoreless. �He gave up a double and hit a batter in the 4th, but still did not allow a run. �Harrisburg's only run came in the 5th, with 2 outs, on 3 consecutive singles. �Owens allowed one more single in the 6th, then removed that base runner with a double play. �Jimmy Barthmaier pitched a scoreless 7th inning, also allowing just one single and also eliminating that threat with a double play.

Losses At All Levels

The Indy Indians lost today, as did all of the other affiliates who were playing -- the Power also won, splitting a double header.

Tomorrow MLB will hold the 2010 Draft... stay tuned!

New Hampshire Fisher Cats �5, �Altoona Curve �3 (box)

Like yesterday, the Curve had an early 3-run inning to take the lead, but also like yesterday, they gave up runs in the late innings and lost to the Fisher Cats. �And like the Indy Indians today, the Curve faced a former teammate -- Ronald Uviedo, who was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last week, made the start for the Fisher Cats. �Uviedo was a reliever while pitching for the Curve, so he will need to get stretched out -- he was limited to just 3 innings today. �Uviedo retired his old mates in order in the 1st inning, but gave up two walks, to LF Alex Presley and DH Jim Negrych in the 2nd. �The walks were followed by a booming home run by RF Miles Durham, to give the Curve 3 runs. �Uviedo also walked 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd inning, but left him on base.

Jared Hughes had the start for the Curve. �He begin the bottom of the 1st inning with three straight singled, loading the bases with no outs. �A grounder to short for a force out at second brought in one run, but they did not get a double play. �Instead, Hughes struck out the next batter and ended the inning with an easy grounder to first.

That 3-1 score held for the next 5 innings. �Counting those three outs after the three singles in the 1st, Hughes retired 17 Fisher Cats batters in order, taking him to the 6th inning with two outs. �That's when he loaded the bases again, on a single, a walk, and a single, before bearing down to get out of the jam with a fly out.

After Uviedo finished the 3rd inning, the Curve got a walk by C Hector Gimenez in the 4th, and SS Chase d'Arnaud was hit by a pitch in the 5th, but neither scored. �They came close in the 6th, when Josh Harrison led off with a double. �A passed ball had Harrison moving, but he was caught in a run-down on the third base line, and eventually tagged out.

New Hampshire added a run in the bottom of the 7th off reliever Tony Watson. A double and two ground outs did the trick, and the Curve lead was cut to 3-2. �The Curve got the run back right away, when d'Arnaud led off the top of the 8th with a triple, then scored on a wild pitch. �Two more Curve batters got on base in the inning, with a walk to CF Gorkys Hernandez and 1B Matt Hague being hit by a pitch, but a double play ended the inning without further runs scoring.

The Fisher Cats did their damage in the bottom of the 8th. �With Watson still on the mound, a double and a ground out put a base runner on third. �Jimmy Barthmaier relieved Watson, but he walked the only batter he faced. �Danny Moskos came on next, and he gave up an RBI single to tie the game. �A throwing error on the play moved the runners to second and third base. �Another single drove in both runners to give the Fisher Cats the winning run plus an insurance run. �The Curve tried to rally in the 9th, when Gimenez walked and Negrych singled, but two strikeouts ended the game.

Presley and Harrison Spark Curve and Farrell’s Homer Boosts Marauders

Altoona Curve �5, �New Britain Rock Cats �4 (box)

A 2-2 tie brought on a busy 10th inning for the Curve and the Rock Cats, but it was the Curve who came out on top. �Tony Watson had pitched two scoreless innings in the 8th and the 9th, and he was still the pitcher of record in the 10th inning.

RF/LF Alex Presley opened�the 10th inning with a solo home run over the right field wall to break the tie. �Two outs later, SS Chase d'Arnaud singled into left field, and CF Gorkys Hernandez followed with another single through the hole into left field. �A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position for 3B Josh Harrison, who came through with a liner into left, scoring both d'Arnaud and Hernandez on the single. �The Curve had a 5-2 lead.

Reliever Danny Moskos and Harrison made things interesting in the bottom of the inning. �With two outs, Harrison made a fielding error on a ball off the bat of RF Mark Dolenc, extending the inning. �A single by DH Rene Tosoni (remember him from Team USA?) and a fielding error by Hernandez in center field brought in Dolenc and put a Tosoni on third. �1B Erik Lis singled into center, scoring Tosoni and making it a one-run game. A passed ball by C Hector Gimenez moved Lis to second base, but Moskos ended the game with a fly out. �Moskos earned his lucky 13th save, and Watson earned his second win.

Presley, Hernandez, Gimenez, and Presley each had 2 hits in the game, with 2 RBI by Presley and 3 RBI by Harrison. �The Curve's first run came in the top of the 1st, on a double by d'Arnaud, a throwing error on a pick-off attempt that put d'Arnaud to third base, and an RBI grounder by Harrison. �Singles by 1B Matt Hague, Gimenez, and Presley added another run in the 4th.

Starter Tim Alderson pitched 6 innings and allowed one run on 5 hits and 2 walks. �The run came on a solo homer by Erik Lis to lead off the 2nd inning. �The Rock Cats added two more singles in that inning, but those two runners did not come around to score. �Alderson also gave up singles in the 3rd and the 5th innings, but Gimenez threw out both runners trying to steal second base.

Jimmy Barthmaier made his first AA rehab start, but it did not go as well as he'd hoped. �He gave up a walk and a single, then got a sacrifice bunt. �Another single drove in the tying run, and that was all for Barthmaier. �Tony Watson came in to finish the inning. �He got CF Ben Revere to line right to Harrison at third base, who then doubled the runner off third for a double play.

Powell Dominates Braves But Takes Tough Loss

Gwinnett Braves �2, �Indianapolis Indians �1 (box)

IMG_2550Jeremy Powell (photo) took a no-hitter into the 7th inning for the Indians at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Georgia, but ended up with a 2-hitter and a very tough loss. �Opposing pitcher and former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond, who threw a no-hitter in his last start dueled Powell through those 7 innings, giving up 5 hits but only one run, as he took the win.

No surprise -- most of the first half of this game was played in a steady soft rain. �Powell looked strong in the bottom of the 1st, as he gave up a 2-out walk to 2B Joe Thurston, but left him on base when the inning ended with a line out to left field. �Powell went on to retire the next 14 batters, 15 in a row, until the bottom of the 6th, when he gave up another 2-out walk to CF Matt Young. �Only two of those outs were strikeouts, but Powell did not make his teammates have to make wild plays to record the outs.

Powell began the 7th inning by getting Thurston to ground out to short, but the next batter, 1B Barbaro Canizares ruined Powell's no-hit bid with a ball into the right-center field alley for a triple. �RF Mitch Jones further spoiled Powell's night by taking a 1-0 pitch down the left field line and over the wall for a 2-run homer. �There was nothing LF Jose Tabata could do but turn and watch it fly. �Powell got the next two outs easily, and that was the end of his night. �Powell had thrown 88 pitches (55 strikes) and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks, with a total of 3 strikeouts.

IMG_3130Todd Redmond had to do a little more work than Powell did. �He contended with Indians' base runners in each of the first four innings. �RF Brandon Jones (photo), hitting in the 2-spot tonight, walked in the top of the 1st. �C Erik Kratz doubled to the left field wall to begin the 2nd inning, and he got as far as third base, with 2B Brian Friday on first with a walk. �The Braves had a scary moment, when Jeremy Powell grounded sharply back to the mound, where the ball ricocheted off Redmond (not sure what part of him) and to Thurston at second base. �Thurston threw to first to end the inning, and Redmond turned out to be not injured. �Brian Friday also singled in the 4th inning.

The Indians' run came in the 3rd. �With one out, Brandon Jones lashed a triple to right field that missed being a home run by just a few feet. �1B Brian Myrow followed with a double over the head of CF Matt Young and all the way to the wall, easily scoring Jones. �That was all Redmond would allow, though. �After Friday's single, Redmond retired the next 11 Indians' batters in order. �He allowed only 4 hits and struck out 10 Indians' batters.

Once the Braves had broken up the no-hitter, Steven Jackson, who just re-joined the club, relieved Powell. �Jackson worked around a single in the 8th, but did not allow a run.

Michael Dunn came on in relief of Redmond, and he was similarly effective. �He walked�Jose Tabata to begin the top of the 8th, then struck out the next three batters: �Jones, Myrow, and 3B Pedro Alvarez. That was Alvarez's fourth strikeout of the game.

IMG_2584The Indians had one more chance at a rally in the top of the 9th. �With Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Braves, Erik Kratz (photo) led off another inning with a long double to left field. �Strikeouts to CF Brandon Moss and Brian Friday followed, with Indians' manager getting tossed after Friday's strikeout for arguing about strike zone issues. �Doug Bernier came in to pinch-run for Erik Kratz, but Bernier was tagged out for the final out of the game when SS Argenis Diaz grounded to third.

Indians' Hitting Gems of the Game: �The Indians had only 5 hits in the game, but two of them belonged to Erik Kratz -- two doubles to the left field wall. �(Only one of the Tribe's hits was a single -- the one by Brian Friday.)

Indians' Defensive Gem of the Game: �Jeremy Powell taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning. �Wow. �(At least he didn't lose the no-hitter because of poor umpiring!)

NOTES:

Roster moves: �Reliever Steven Jackson, who was optioned from the Pirates is, of course, with the team in Gwinnett. �In order to make room for Jackson on the roster, reliever Corey Hamman was removed from the Indians' roster and moved to the State College roster. �This is probably a paper move, and Hamman may still be with the team, since State College doesn't begin their season for a couple weeks yet.

Starter Jimmy Barthmaier is working his way back after Tommy John surgery. �He has made two rehab appearances in Bradenton (one hit and one run in 3 innings), and has now been moved up to Altoona to do some rehab with the Curve.

Brad Lincoln was originally supposed to make the start tonight, but he swapped days with Jeremy Powell because Powell had so little work lately. �Powell's last start on Saturday was cut short due to a suspended game.

The Indianapolis Star featured an article about Erik Kratz today, by Andrew Astleford. � Check out the table at the bottom of the second page -- there are two other former Indianapolis Indians there: �Chris Coste (2004), and Jason Childers (2002-04).

Go Tribe!

(photos by Nancy)

Gimenez Homers Twice; Anderson Is Player Of The Week

Two morning games today in the Pirates' organization. �Pat Irvine was brought up from extended spring training to take the place of catcher Josue Peley, who was traded away a few days ago. �Irvine was the Pirates' 33rd round pick in the 2009 draft. �He played at State College for the second half of 2009, but he split his time between third base and left field.... now he's a catcher.

Lexington Legends �6, �West Virginia Power �3 (box)

The Power and the Legends were the first to get started this morning, and the Power bats woke up first. �CF Evan Chambers opened the game with a looping single into right-center field. �2B Jarek Cunningham dropped another single in, right in front of the Legends' center fielder, then a wild pitch moved both runners up a base. �DH�Aaron Baker grounded out to first base, allowing Chambers to score from third base. �LF Rogelios Noris was hit by a pitch, but a double play ended the inning. �The Power took advantage of an error by the Legends' second baseman, who bobbled the ball, then threw wide to first base in the 2nd inning, putting 3B Elevys Gonzalez on base. �RF Jose Hernandez drove Gonzalez in with a double lined into the right field corner. �After two innings, the Power were leading 2-0.

Power starter Brandon Holden also got off to a good start, retiring the Legends in order in the 1st inning, and allowing only a walk in the 2nd -- then he threw out the runner trying to steal second to end the inning. �The Legends loaded the bases against Holden in the 3rd inning with one out -- on a walk, a single, and a fielding error by SS Benji Gonzalez. �But Holden induced a double play to end the inning, with a ground out to 2B Cunningham, who stepped on second base, then threw on to 1B Kyle Morgan to end the inning without a run scoring.

The Legends got to Holden in the 4th inning. �A lead-off single was followed by a strikeout, but then a double brought in the first Lexington run. �Another single drove in the second run of the inning, to tie the game. �Lexington added three more runs in the 5th, as they took advantage of mistakes by the Power. �A lead-off double by 2B Jose Altuve and a single by SS Miguel Arrendell put runners on the corners. �When Arrendell tried to steal second base, new Power catcher Pat Irvine�made a throw to second base, but his throw went into center field for an error, allowing Altuve to score and Arrendell to reach third base. �CF Evan Chambers' throw back to the infield, presumably aiming for third base, went sailing into the stands, and Arrendell also scored. �After another single, Holden was relieved by Jhonatan Ramos. Ramos had trouble too, hitting a batter, and giving up a single, which brought in the third run of the inning (charged to Holden). �A throw in to the plate was on-target but but the runner slid to the outside edge of the plate and eluded Irvine's tag. �A passed ball put runners on second and third, but the next batter tapped a grounder to first, which 1B Morgan fired back to the plate, and this time Irvine was able to apply the tag to prevent the run from scoring.

After scoring in the 2nd, the Power were able to put runners on base in 4 of the next 5 innings. �Jarek Cunningham and Benji Gonzalez singled, Jose Hernandez singled twice, and Kyle Morgan doubled, but none of them could come around to score. �The Power scored again in the 8th, when Aaron Baker led off with a double down the left field line, barely fair. �He advanced to third on Rogelios Noris's ground out, and then scored on Morgan's RBI ground out. �Pat Irvine was up next, and with a count 3-0 on him, the rain that had been going on for some time became much harder, and the game was halted for a rain delay. �The rain didn't last long, though, and play was resumed, with Irvine getting robbed of what should have been a double down the right field line, thanks to an excellent run and dive by the Legends' RF JD Martinez.

Ramos pitched two more scoreless innings, giving up three more singles. �Zach Foster came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th. �He gave up a solo homer to Altuve, to keep the Legends three runs ahead. �The Power could not respond in the top of the 9th, and the Legends had the win. �Brandon Holden was charged with the loss, his fourth of the season. �Hernandez went 3-for-4 for the Power, and Cunningham had 2 hits.

The Curve also had a morning game.... �"Read More"

Marauders Sunk, West Virginia Power-less

Holiday weekend play in the Pirates' minor league organization:

Tampa Yankees �14, �Bradenton Marauders �5 (box)

The Marauders were boarded and sunk by the Yankees on Sunday afternoon in Bradenton. �Two late-inning rallies kept them from being shut out, but were not nearly enough for the Marauders to catch up.

The Yankees hit starter Hunter Strickland hard, beginning in the 2nd inning, when the first four batters reached base: �two singles, a walk, and a hit batter forcing in a run. �A sacrifice fly brought in a second run, and another single gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

It got worse in the 3rd inning. �With out out, Strickland gave up a ground-rule double, and an RBI single. �When the runner from first base stole second, 2B James Skelton could not keep hold of C Eric Fryer's throw, and the runner was safe at second base. �A walk and a single loaded the bases, and another single drove in the second run of the inning. �Melkin Laureano relieved Strickland at that point, but Laureano gave up a walk to drive in a run, and then a bases-clearing double for three more runs. � Laureano was responsible for only one of those runs (earned), and only one of the five runs that Strickland allowed in the 3rd inning was earned.

Laureano gave up 3 more runs in the 5th inning, on a double followed by back-to-back home runs. �He struck out the next three batters in a row, but the Yankees were up 12-0. �Tom Boleska was next out of the bullpen for the Marauders. �He retired the Yankees in order in the 6th, but gave up another 2-run homer in the 7th to increase Tampa's lead to 14-0. �Mike Colla and rehabbing Jimmy Barthmaier each pitched an inning to finish it up for Bradenton, and they were the most effective pitchers -- each retired three batters in order.

It might have been easy for the Marauders to give up. �They had managed only a walk and a single by DH Tony Sanchez over the first four innings. �They had put two runners on base in the 5th, on singles by 1B Calvin Anderson and 3B Adenson Chourio. CF Robbie Grossman and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman both singled in the 6th, but none of those runners were able to come around to score.

Finally, in the 8th inning, the Marauders were able to crack the scoreboard. �SS Brock Holt led off with a single, and Grossman reached base on a fielding error. �Norman, who had remained in the game in left field, was hit by a pitch to load the bases. �Eric Fryer brought in Holt with a sacrifice fly, and Anderson's second single of the game scored Grossman. �14 - 2 is still better than 14 - 0.

The Marauders rallied again in the 9th, this time with two outs. �Holt and Grossman started it again with back-to-back singles. �Norman was hit by a pitch again, to load the bases. �Sanchez doubled, clearing the bases, and the Marauders had climbed to 14 - 5. �Fryer walked and Anderson singled for the third time in the game, loading the bases again, but RF Eric Huber struck out to end the game.

Triple Play For Curve; Barthmaier’s Season Debut

Akron Aeros �5, �Altoona Curve �2 (box)

The Curve turned the second double play in their history today, in an early game in Akron. �In the 6th inning, with reliever Derek Hankins on the mound,�Akron's LF Cristo Arnal led off with a single, and former Curve and Indy Indian C Miguel Perez was hit by a pitch. �CF John Drennen lined right to SS Chase d'Arnaud, who made the catch, quickly stepped on second base, and fired to Matt Hague at�first base for the third out. �(The first triple play by the Curve came on May 3, 2001 at home in Altoona, against the Harrisburg Senators. �It was a 2-6-3 play: �C JR House to SS Shaun Skrehot to 1B Chris Peterson.)

Unfortunately, the triple play could not make up for a lack of offense, as the Curve batters managed only 4 hits and 2 runs in the game, ending their 8-game winning streak. �After going down in order over the first two innings, the Curve scored both of their runs in the 3rd inning, with the help of three Akron errors. �C Kris Watts led off with a double. �DH Miles Durham singled into center field, moving Watts to third, and Durham moved up to second base when the Aeros' first baseman missed the catch on the throw in from the outfield for an error. �The second error occurred on d'Arnaud's ball to second base, and it let both Watts and Durham score, as d'Arnaud was safe on first. �2B Josh Harrison also reached base on an error, advancing d'Arnaud to third base, but they did not advance further before the inning ended.

After two more 1-2-3 innings, the Curve put two runners on base in the 6th, on CF Gorkys Hernandez's single, and Hague being hit by a pitch. �They were also both left on base. �Altoona loaded the bases in the 7th on walks to Watts and Durham, and d'Arnaud being hit by a pitch, but two strikeouts ended that threat. �The last Curve hit was by LF�Jose De Los Santos in the 9th, who was also left stranded.

Jared Hughes made the start for the Curve. �He gave up one run in the bottom of the 1st inning, on a lead-off double, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly. �He gave up singles in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, but erased both runners with a double plays, one started by d'Arnaud (6-4-3) and one started by Hague at first base (3-6-1).

Hughes could not get out of a jam in the 4th inning, though. �A walk, a wild pitch, and two singles led off the inning and brought in one run. �Hughes got two outs, but then gave up back-to-back doubles, bringing in three more runs. �Hughes exited having allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and a walk over 3.2 innings. �Derek Hankins finished the 4th inning, then pitched 4 more scoreless innings, scattering 3 hits, 2 walks, and the hit batter.

["Read more" for the Marauders' and the Power games]

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