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Tag: Zac Fuesser

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn't pass on the chance to draft Paul Skenes. Less than one year ago, the Pirates had the first overall pick in a draft loaded with talent at the top described as "generational". There...
I love bullpen games. I'll start with the disclaimer that it is difficult for me to get into the fan mindset, where I need a specific outcome from any single Pittsburgh Pirates game. I run this site...

Marte In Futures Game; Marauders Win In The 14th

Two Pirates' minor leaguers have been chosen to play in the MLB Futures game, which is held during the All-Star festivities.  OF Starling Marte will be on the World team, and INF Chase d'Arnaud was named to the USA team -- though that might change if d'Arnaud is indeed called up to Pittsburgh.  

The State College Spikes' game against the Jamestown Jammers was postponed due to rain.  They will go for two on Friday night, beginning at 6:05 pm.  


New Hampshire Fisher Cats  2,  Altoona Curve  0      
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This shortened game was a pitching duel, with the two teams combining for just 7 hits.  Kyle McPherson pitched 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits.  Two of those hits were solo homers, both coming in the 4th inning, and that accounted for all of the Fisher Cats' scoring.  The only other 'Cats' hit was a single to lead off the 1st inning, and that runner was picked off base.  McPherson walked two batters, one in the 1st, and former Indy Indian Craig Stansberry in the 5th.  Stansberry was caught stealing second base.  Anthony Claggett pitched the bottom of the 6th, walking one and hitting one batter with a pitch.  

The Curve batters collected 4 hits.  CF Starling Marte led off the top of the 1st with a double, the only extra-base hit for the Curve.  SS Jordy Mercer singled, and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.  But new Curve player RF Andrew Lambo lined right to the 'Cats' first baseman, who doubled off Sanchez for a double play.  The other 2 hits happened in the 4th.  Sanchez led off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing.  3B Jeremy Farrell also singled, but was left on base.  There were only 2 more base runners for the Curve for the rest of the game -- Sanchez walked in the 6th and 1B Matt Curry walked in the 7th, and both were left on base.  

This was scheduled to be Game 1 of a double-header, and so was scheduled for 7 innings.  But this game was also interrupted by rain, and the second game was washed out.  The Curve move on to Harrisburg to begin a series tomorrow.  They will play New Hampshire again in mid-August, and will have to do the make-up then.  

Tough Night for Morris, Miller; Taillon Strikes Out 8

All of the Pirates' minor league affiliates lost on Tuesday evening.....

New Britain Rock Cats  10,  Altoona Curve 4
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It was a tough night for Curve starter Bryan Morris, who gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings of work.  Morris got into trouble in the top of the 1st.  He gave up a lead-off single, then set down the next two batters on fly outs.  Three straight singles and his own throwing error on the final single (a bunt) brought in two runs.  The top of the 2nd was worse -- three singles and three walks, with a throwing error by LF Quincy Latimore, and an RBI ground out brought in another 5 runs for New Britain, for a 7-0 lead.  Morris gave up a single in each of the next two innings, but retired those two runners with a pair of double plays.  

The Curve got three of the runs back in the 3rd inning.  DH Jose Hernandez doubled, and scored on RF Brad Chalk's single.  Chalk came in on 2B Brock Holt's triple, then SS Jordy Mercer doubled, plating Holt.  That cut the Rock Cats' lead to 7-4.  

But the Rock Cats added to their lead with 3 runs off reliever Tim Alderson.  A single, a ground out, and a wild pitch put the lead-off batter on third in the 5th, and two more walks and a wild pitch brought him in.  A walk, another wild pitch, an RBI single and an RBI double gave the Rock Cats 2 more runs in the 6th, for a 10-3 lead.  

The Curve put base runners on in most of the remaining innings of the game, but they were left stranded.  Holt singled and CF Starling Marte walked with two outs in the 5th, and the Curve did not put two runners on base again until the 9th. 1B Matt Curry walked to begin the 9th, and 3B Jeremy Farrell singled.  Curry went to third on the hit, and he scored on Hernandez's sacrifce fly.  

Curve Game Suspended With 10-Run Lead; Marauders And Power Need Extras

Saturday evening action for the Pirates' minor league affiliates:

Altoona Curve  11,  Reading Phillies  1  (Suspended)
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After rain delayed the start of this game, the Curve must have decided that they needed to score a lot and quickly, in case the rain cut the game short.  The rain did come again, but too early for a complete game.  Instead, it was suspended in the 3rd inning, with the Curve leading by 10 runs.  R-Phils starter Juan Ramirez could not get through the 1st inning.  The first four Curve batters reached base safely:  a lead-off triple by RF Anthony Norman, a double by CF Starling Marte (one run), a walk by SS Jordy Mercer, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore to load the bases.  After a fly out, 3B Jeremy Farrell drove in both Marte and Mercer with an RBI single (runs 2,3).  C Travis Scott singled, loading the bases again.  2B Greg Picart grounded to first, and the R-Phils' first baseman returned the ball to the plate, forcing out Latimore for the second out.  Pitcher Aaron Pribanic singled into right field, bringing in Farrell (run 4), and a walk by Norman forced in Scott with the 5th run of the inning.  That was the end for Ramirez, and the new reliever, Tyson Brummett, struck out Marte to end the inning.  

But the Curve came right back at Brummett in the 2nd.  With one out, Latimore singled, and 1B Matt Curry doubled him in.  A walk by Scott and a single by Picart brought in Curry, and the Curve extended their lead to 7-0.  

Pribanic retired the R-Phils in order in the bottom of the 1st.  He gave up one run in the 2nd, on two singles and two ground outs.  Then the Curve came roaring right back in the top of the 3rd.  Norman led off with a walk, and a fielding error put Marte on first and Norman on second.  Mercer singled, plating Norman.  After one out, Brummet threw two wild pitches, scoring Marte and leaving Mercer on third base.  Curry walked, then Farrell doubled, driving in Mercer.  Curry went to third base, and he scored on Scott's sacrifice fly.  A ground out ended the top of the inning, and at that point, the game was halted, with the Curve ahead 11-1.  The game will resume at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and the regularly scheduled game will follow, but that game will be only 7 innings long.  Hope the Curve didn't use up all their hits in those first three innings.  

Six-Run Inning Not Enough Power; Marauders Earn Shut Out

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday, but the Power and the Marauders were in action.


Delmarva Shorebirds  10,  West Virginia Power  7
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A 6-run offensive blast by the Power was enough to tie the score, but not enough for the win.  Delmarva got the game started with a 3-run homer off Zack Von Rosenberg in the top of the 1st, after a double and a single.  Von Rosenberg put runners on base in the next two innings but did not let them come around to score.  A walk and a 2-run homer increased the Shorebirds' lead to 5-0 with one out in the 4th.  A single and a walk followed that homer, and Von Rosenberg was relieved by Porfirio Lopez.  Lopez finished the 4th, but gave up two more runs in the 5th on a single, a walk, a balk, another single, and a fielding error by SS Drew Maggi.  

The Power led off each of the first four innings with a hit:  singles by Maggi (1st), 1B Chase Lyles (2nd), and 3B Eric Avila (3rd), and a double by LF Dan Grovatt (4th).  Grovatt was the only one who scored, on RF Justin Howard's RBI  single.  The Power went into the bottom of the 5th trailing 7-1, and that's when the fireworks started.  With one out, Avila walked, Maggi doubled, and 2B Kevin Mort walked, to load the bases.  Grovatt tapped back to the mound, where the Shorebirds' pitcher thought he could get a force out at the plate.  Instead, he made a fielding error, and Avila scored.  A wild pitch brought in Maggi, then Howard walked to load the bases again.  Lyles' RBI single into center field plated Mort with the third run of the inning.  C Kawika Emsley-Pai was hit by a pitch, forcing in Grovatt, and after a pitching change, DH Elias Diaz brought in both Howard and Lyles with a 2-RBI single, to tie the score at 7-7.  After a fly out, Avila's second walk of the inning loaded the bases again, but a ground out by Maggi ended the inning.  

Zac Fuesser took over on the mound for the 6th, which was scoreless (for both teams).  The top of the 7th began with a missed catch error by Lyles at first.  Fuesser's balk pushed that runner to second base, and a bunt advanced him to third.  He scored on an RBI double, then a walk, two singles, and a fielding error by RF Howard added two more runs.  

Casey Sadler pitched the 8th inning for the Power.  He gave up a double and hit a batter, but got out of the inning without a run scoring.  The Power put two runner on in the 7th, when Lyles  and Diaz both walked, but a double play and a fly out ended that inning.  They threatened again in the bottom of the 9th.  Grovatt singled, but was erased in a double play.  Then Lyles walked and Emsley-Pai and Diaz singled to load the bases, but a strikeout ended the game.  


Curve Held To 3 Hits; Marauders Held To 2 Hits

Saturday evening's action with the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates.

Don't forget to vote for the All-Star Teams:
Pirates/MLB:  vote here
Indianapolis Indians/International League:  vote here
Altoona Curve/Eastern League:  vote here



Portland Sea Dogs  4,  Altoona Curve  0
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The Curve were held to just 6 base runners -- 3 singles and 3 walks, and could not push any of them around to score.  SS Jordy Mercer was the only Curve to reach base in the first 5 innings.  He walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but was out at second base when 1B Matt Curry flied out.  

Starter Mike Colla retired Portland in order in the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run in the 3rd.  He gave up another solo blast in the 4th, and struck out the other three batters in that inning.  In the 5th, a lead-off double and an RBI single gave the Sea Dogs their third run in the 5th.  Portland's third homer of the game made it 4-0 in the 6th.  Colla left after 6 innings, having allowed 7 hits (3 homers and 4 other hits), one walk, and 6 strikeouts.  He threw 94 pitches, with 58 strikes.  

The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, with a walk by DH Kris Watts and singles by RF Brad Chalk and 2B Brock Holt loading the bases with one out.  But CF Starling Marte bounced into a double play to end the inning.  Mercer singled in the 7th, and he was also erased with a double play.  Chalk walked in the 9th, but was left on base.  

Matt McSwain pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Curve in relief of Colla.  He gave up two singles, but one was eliminated with a double play, and the other was left stranded.  Noah Krol pitched the top of the 9th, allowing a walk and a single.   

Power Pitchers Dominate In Early Game; Complete One-Hitter For McPherson

The Power had an early game today, while the Curve and the Marauders are scheduled for the evening:

West Virginia Power  3,  Hickory Crawdads  2  
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Three Power pitchers combined to hold Hickory to just 4 hits in the late-morning start.  Colton Cain earned his 4th win of the season, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs, only one of which was earned.  He gave up 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5 batters.  Two of those 3 hits came in the top of the 1st -- a lead-off single, then after two outs moved the runner to second base, another single when the batter beat out the throw on a grounder to third base.  But Power 1B Justin Howard was paying attention, and he was able to throw from first base back to the plate, where C Elias Diaz tagged out the runner who had rounded third and was trying to score.  

Three consecutive hits began the bottom of the 1st for the Power:  singles by SS Drew Maggi and CF Mel Rojas, and an RBI double by RF Dan Grovatt, who drove in Maggi.  DH Cole White brought in Rojas with an RBI ground out, to give the Power an early 2-1 lead.  

Cain retired the side in order in the 2nd, then began the 3rd by giving up a double.  A sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third base.  The next batter was hit by a pitch, giving Hickory runners on the corners.  Then a wild pitch by Cain and a throwing error on Diaz as he tried to retrieve the ball, let both base runners score, to tie the game.  

The Power put runners on base over the next two innings, but base running problems eliminated the runners -- picked off and caught stealing, and being caught off base on a fly out for a double play.  2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 5th, and he too was doubled off first base when Maggi flied out.  Rojas walked after Maggi was out, then Grovatt doubled for the second time in the game, and also drove in his second run, as Maggi gave the Power the lead.  

Cain allowed only 2 walks over his last three innings of work.  Vincent Payne made his first appearance for the Power this season, with 2 scoreless innings.  He retired the side in order in the 7th, then gave up a walk in the 8th, but that runner was caught stealing.  Zac Fuesser pitched the 9th.  He gave up a single, but also picked the runner of first base, and was credited with his first Save.  

The Power had only two base runners over the last 3 innings, when 3B Eric Avila walked and was erased in a double play, and a single by Grovatt, for his third hit of the game, in the 8th.  Grovatt stole second base, but was left on base.   

Power Go Long; Curve Cut Short

Friday evening's action with the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates:

Altoona Curve  6,  Binghamton Mets  6
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Rain halted the game between the Curve and the Mets in Binghamton, NY in the top of the 7th inning, with the score tied at 6-6.  Starter Aaron Thompson got into trouble early in the game, when he gave up 4 runs to the B-Mets in the bottom of the 1st.  A single and a hit batter led off the inning, then two fly outs and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position.  Three singles brought in a run each, and a double added the 4th run of the inning.  Thompson gave up a hit in each of the next two innings, but erased one with a double play, and left the other stranded.  A solo homer in the bottom of the 4th gave the Mets a 5-0 lead, then a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly gave the Mets their 6th run in the 5th. 

The Curve put one runner on base in each of the first four innings, but none of those runners came around to score.  2B Brock Holt walked in the 1st, but was out in a double play.  C Tony Sanchez singled in the 2nd and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  Holt smacked a ground-rule double in the 3rd, and SS Jordy Mercer walked and got as far as third base in the 4th.  

1B Miles Durham got the Curve going with a rally in the top of the 5th, when he was hit by a pitch.  Thompson tried for a sacrifice fly, but it turned into a forcer out of Durham at second base, leaving Thompson on first.  Holt singled, then CF Starling Marte tripled into right field, scoring both Thompson and Holt.  LF Quincy Latimore singled into left field, bringing in Marte, to cut the B-Mets' lead to 5-3.

The Mets made it 6-3 in the bottom of the 5th, but the Curve came right back with another 3 runs in the top of the 6th to tie the game.  A fielding error at shortstop put 3B Jeremy Farrell on base, and Sanchez's double let Farrell came around to score from first base.  RF Brad Chalk walked, then pinch-hitter Eric Fryer drove in base runners with the second triple of the game.  

Tim Alderson came on to pitch the bottom of the 6th, and he worked around a single, to maintain the tie.  The top of the 7th began with a single by Latimore, and a grounder force out by Mercer, leaving Mercer on first base.  Mercer stole second and then moved to third base on a wild pitch.  Farrell walked, to give the Curve runners on the corners  -- and that's when the storms halted the game.  

The game will resume on Saturday prior to the regularly scheduled game.  This game will finish as a 9-inning game, but the regularly scheduled game will probably be a 7-inning game.  


Veal Back In Action, Walk-off Win For Curve

Sunday afternoon action with the Pirates' lower minor league teams:  

Altoona Curve 5,  Akron Aeros  4
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2B Brock Holt singled up the middle in the bottom of the 9th, scoring 1B Miles Durham from second base, for the Curve's walk-off win.  
Curve starter Aaron Thompson began his outing by facing only the minimum over the first three innings.  He gave up a single in the 2nd, but erased that runner with a double play.  The Aeros scored the first run of the game in the top of the 4th, when they loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Thompson could record an out.  A sacrifice fly drove in the runner from third, but Thompson got another double play to get out of the inning.   

The first 11 Curve batters also went down in order, until LF Quincy Latimore singled in the 4th.  He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer's grounder.  The Curve got onto the scoreboard and tied the game when 3B Jeremy Farrell blasted a solo homer to lead off the 4th inning.   

Thompson again retired the side in order in the 5th.  The Aeros took the lead again in the top of the 6th with 2 runs off Thompson.  A single, a stolen base, and another single put runners on the corners with one out.  A wild pitch moved the runner from first to second, though the runner on third had to stay there.  Two more strikeouts drove in two runs, to give Akron a 3-1 lead.  

The Curve answered with one run in the bottom of the 7th.  Mercer and Ferrell led off the inning with singles, and C Tony Sanchez walked to load the bases.  After a pitching change, RF Eric Fryer bounced into a double play, which let Mercer score from third base, though Fryer did not get credit for an RBI.  The Curve added two more in the bottom of the 8th to take the lead.  Pinch-hitter Kris Watts singled up the middle, and was replaced by pinch-runner Brad Chalk.  Holt sacrificed bunted Chalk to second.  CF Starling Marte beat out an infield single, moving Chalk to third, and Marte stole second base to put two Curve runners in scoring position.  Latimore drove in Chalk with a sacrifice fly, an Mercer brought in Marte with an RBI single.  Curve ahead, 4-3.

Mike Dubee relieved Thompson and pitched 2 scoreless innings.  He retired the side in order in the 6th, then gave up just a walk in the 8th.  Noah Krol took over for Dubee for the 9th.  He was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up a solo home run to tie the score.  Then he was credited with the win because he was the pitcher of record in the bottom of the 9th.  The bottom of the frame began with a fly out, then Fryer singled and Durham reached on a fielding error at shortstop, moving Fryer to third.  Chalk bounced to short, giving the Akron shortstop the opportunity to fire back to the plate, and Fryer was tagged out at home.  With Durham on second and Chalk on first, Holt singled into center field, and had the walk-off win when Durham raced around third base to score on the single.  


8th Inning Rally For Power; Marauders Win On Chambers’ Homer

The Altoona Curve had a scheduled day off on Monday....

West Virginia Power  9,  Kannapolis Intimidators  8
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Late inning rallies for a total of 7 runs gave the Power the win over Kannapolis.  1B Matt Curry got the scoring started with a solo home run to begin the bottom of the 2nd.  That run was overwhelmed, though, when the Intimidators exploded for 6 runs in the top of the 3rd.  Power starter Zack Von Rosenberg had allowed only one walk over the first two innings, but that fell apart in the 3rd inning.  A single, a walk, and a triple brought in two runs.  A sacrifice fly gave Von Rosenberg the first out of the inning, but it also scored the runner from third, for a 3-1 lead.  Two more singles, another triple, and another single brought in 3 more runs, for a 6-1 lead, and sent Von Rosenberg to the showers.   Zac Fuesser relieved Von Rosenberg, and Fuesser's first move was to pick off the runner on first base and get him out in a run-down.  A walk and a strikeout ended the inning.  

The Power got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3B Eric Avila's double and a fielding error on LF Dan Grovatt's bouncer to short.  Fuesser gave up a pair of walks and a single in the 4th, but a timely double play kept any runs from scoring.  He also gave up a pair of singles in the 5th, but was aided by an outfield assist from Grovatt.  Kannapolis scored again in the 6th, with a two-out ground-rule double and an RBI single.  Two more doubles gave Kannapolis another run in the top of the 7th, for an 8-2 lead.

Then the Power burst out with 7 unanswered runs over their last two at-bats to take the lead and the win.  With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a single into left field, and Avila drove him in with a triple.  SS Drew Maggi's ground out plated Avila.  2B Kevin Mort singled and pinch-hitter Rogelios Noris walked, but they did not score in that inning.  The Power continued the surge right where they left off in the 8th.  RF Justin Howard led off with a double and CF Mel Rojas was hit by a pitch.  C Kawika Emsley-Pai loaded the bases with a walk.  Marquez drove in Howard with a single grounded into right field, leaving the bases still loaded.  Avila bounced to short, for a force out at second base, but Rojas scored the second run of the inning on the play.  After an out, Mort singled, plating Emsley-Pai, then Noris tripled in both Avila and Mort, for the tying and go-ahead runs.  

Zach Foster relieved Fuesser for the final two innings.  Foster allowed a double and hit a batter with a pitch in the 8th, but two strikeouts left them stranded.   He also walked a batter in the 9th, but got two more strikeouts to preserve the Power lead and earned his first win of the season.  

Taillon Pitches Well But No Decision; Three Hits For Marte and Gonzalez

Friday the Thirteenth was lucky for the Curve and the Power....

Altoona Curve  6,  Erie SeaWolves  2
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The Curve posted a lucky 12 hits, as CF Starling Marte led the charge with 3 singles.  Marte, along with 2B Brock Holt got the scoring started with back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the 1st.  LF Eric Fryer's sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and SS Jordy Mercer's sacrifice bunt plated Holt.

Erie came right back with a pair of doubles off Curve starter Jared Hughes to tie the game at 1-1.  Hughes allowed only one walk over the next three innings.  In the top of the 6th, he gave up a 2-out single, followed by a ground-rule double.  Because it was ground-rule, the lead runner had to stop at third base, and Hughes was able to get out of the inning with a ground out, keeping the SeaWolves from scoring again.

The Curve missed out on scoring opportunities in two innings.  Holt doubled and Marte singled in the 3rd, but both were left in scoring position.  Both C Tony Sanchez and DH Kris Watts singled in the 4th, and they were also left on base.  A pair of doubles got the scoring re-started in the 5th.  Marte walked and Fryer singled with one out.  Marte advanced to third base on a fly out by Mercer, then scored on 3B Jeremy Farrell's double into left field.  Sanchez bounced a ground-rule double over the left field wall to bring in both Fryer and Farrell, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.  

Marte started another rally in the 7th with a liner to second base for a single.  He stole second base, then scored on Fryer's grounder into right field.  That chased the Erie starter, but their reliever did not have any better success.  Fryer had gone to second base on the throw in from the outfield, and he advanced to third when the new reliever balked.  Farrell doubled in Fryer for a 6-1 lead.  

Hughes finished his evening with a scoreless 7th inning, having allowed one run on 6 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts.  Tim Alderson pitched a perfect 8th, then Noah Krol gave up one run in the top of the 9th on three singles, one of which ricocheted off Krol and into center field.  

Curve Fall In 9th; Cumpton Earns Second Win

The Bradenton Marauders have a scheduled day off today.

Harrisburg Senators  3,  Altoona Curve  2
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Three walks and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 9th gave the Senators a walk-off win against the Curve.  
Altoona had scored first, on 3B Jeremy Farrell's solo home run in the top of the 2nd inning.  The Senators replied with a solo home run by 3B Tim Pahuta in the bottom of the inning.  The Curve took the lead again in the top of the 4th, when LF Quincy Latimore singled, then Farrell picked up another RBI with his double into center field.   

Mike Colla pitched 5 innings and struck out 5 batters in his start.  He gave up that solo homer, plus two singles in the 1st inning.  Colla walked two batters, and those were the only Harrisburg base runners over the last three innings of his outing.  Tim Alderson struck out two batters in his scoreless 6th inning.  Chris Leroux took the mound to begin the 7th inning.  He was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up Pahuta's second solo home run, tying the game at 2-2.  

The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, when CF Starling Marte led off with a single.  Latimore grounded into a force out at second, replacing Marte at first.  A fielding error by Pahuta let SS Jordy Mercer reach base safely.  Former Indy Indian Jimmy Barthmaier came on in relief for Harrisburg, and he got Farrell to bounce into a double play, ending the rally.  Barthmaier gave up a double to 1B Miles Durham with one out in the 7th, then walked pinch hitter Kris Watts, before being relieved himself.  A strikeout ended that threat without a run scoring.  

Each team put a runner on base in the 8th -- Mercer walked and stole second for the Curve, and the Senators had a single, and the runner moved to second on a wild pitch by Leroux -- but neither one scored.  The Curve went down in order in the top of the 9th.  Noah Krol replaced Leroux to begin the bottom of the 9th.  He walked the first batter he faced, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second base.  Pahuta was intentionally walked, then the next batter was unintentionally walked to load the bases.  A ground out to third looked like it might be a double play, but the 5-4-3 throw only got out the batter at first, while the runner going to second was safe.  That allowed the runner from third to score, giving the Senators the win.

 

Marte Homers, Three Hits For Grovatt

A few roster moves before we get to the games:
The Pirates have signed 1B Gerlis Rodriguez to a minor league contract.  Rodriguez, a Dominican native, played for State College in 2010.  He played about half of his 48 games at first base, and did some DH'ing.  Rodriguez hit .201, with 8 doubles, one triple, one homer, and 24 RBI.  He walked 11 times and was struck out 34 times.  Rodriguez will probably be back with the Spikes when their season begins next month.

Two minor league pitchers have been released:  RHP Gabriel Alvarado and RHP Maurice Bankston.  Alvarado was with the West Virginia Power for the past two seasons, mostly as a starter in 2009 and then as a reliever in 2010.   Bankston also spent most of the last two years with the Power, and he also started in 2009 then moved to the bullpen in 2010.

 
Richmond Flying Squirrels  5,  Altoona Curve  3
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Jeff Locke gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings, but got out of jams with timely double plays in his start for the Curve.   Unfortunately, the bullpen gave up 4 more runs and the Squirrels took the win.  The only run Locke gave up came in the bottom of the 1st.  After a lead-off single, Locke got two fly outs, then gave up a walk and an RBI single.  Another walk followed, before Locke ended the inning.  A double play ended the 2nd inning with two runners left stranded (walk and hit batter), and a second double play eliminated a lead-off single in the 3rd.  Locke also worked around a double and a walk in the 4th, then retired the side in the 5th.  

 The Squirrels' starter retired the first 10 Curve batters in order.  The first hit he gave up was a big one -- a solo home run over the left field wall by CF Starling Marte.  The Curve took a 2-1 lead in the 5th inning, on a line drive double by 3B Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball, and an RBI single lined into center field by C Tony Sanchez.  

The lead lasted only one inning.  Tom Boleska relieved Locke to begin the bottom of the 6th  He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base -- two walks and a single back to the mound.  Boleska struck out the next batter, then a grounder force out at second (but not the double play) let the tying run score.  An RBI single gave Richmond a 3-2 lead.  Boleska pitched a scoreless 7th inning, then Matt McSwain took over for the 8th.  The first two batters McSwain faced both smacked solo home runs, and Richmond was up 5-2.

The Curve scratched out one more run in the top of the 9th.  With two outs, LF Quincy Latimore worked a walk, then SS Jordy Mercer and Farrell hit back-to-back singles, plating Latimore.  But that was all they were able to get, as Sanchez's line out ended the game.  

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