Minor League Roundup: Jeff Karstens Rehabs, Jordy Mercer Hits Game-Winner

Monday's minor league action:

-P- Indianapolis blew a three-run lead late, but won anyway over Buffalo, 8-6. Starter Daniel Cabrera went six, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. Cabrera fanned four. He left with a 6-3 lead, most of it compiled against former Pirate Garrett Olson, but Evan Meek, Jose Diaz and Doug Slaten combined to blow the lead. In his one inning Meek allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk. He struck out two. In the top of the 9th, though, Jordy Mercer hit a two-run single and the runs stood up. Mercer on the day was 2-4 with a walk and is hitting .289. You have to wonder how long the Pirates will let Clint Barmes continue to swing at pitches no other hitter in MLB will swing at. (I'm guessing the rest of the year and then some.) Starling Marte went 2-4 with a triple and Alex Presley went 1-3 with a walk and a three-run HR, his first in AAA.

-P- Altoona won its seventh in a row, 4-2 over Harrisburg, with an assist from a rehabbing Jeff Karstens, who threw three scoreless innings. Karstens allowed two hits, walked none and fanned one, throwing 25 of 37 pitches for strikes. Nate Baker followed Karstens with four innings, allowing one unearned run. Duke Welker fanned four over the last two innings, although he allowed a run on three hits. The Curve made do with just five hits, three of them for extra bases. Jarek Cunningham went 1-3 with a double for the third time in four games since returning from a wrist injury. Matt Curry added two doubles and a walk. Brock Holt had the other two hits. Robbie Grossman went 0-4 with two strikeouts and is now hitless in his last 17 ABs.

-P- Bradenton lost to Lakeland, 9-8. The Marauders blew an early 3-0 lead, fell behind 8-3, tied the game with five runs in the 9th, then lost in the 10th. Starter Hunter Strickland allowed no runs in five innings, on four hits and a walk, with two Ks. Josh Poytress, who hadn't allowed a run in 19 innings for Bradenton, gave up three, then Zach Foster allowed five more. Justin Howard went 3-5 with a double, and Wes Freeman and Benji Gonzalez each went 2-4 with a double.

-P- West Virginia got a rare win, beating Lexington, 4-3. A rest for Alen Hanson paid big dividends. He was replaced in the leadoff spot by Junior Sosa, who went 3-3 with a double, triple and walk. Sosa is now hitting 306 with a BB:K ratio of 14:15, but I haven't seen any indication that the Pirates consider him a prospect. He's still only 21. Hanson was replaced in the field by Francisco Aponte, who went 2-2 with a double before Hanson replaced him as a pinch runner; seems like a funny way to rest a guy. Hanson stayed in the game and later walked and struck out. Gregory Polanco went 2-4 with a double and Kirk Singer homered, his first. The prep pitcher struggles continued as Ryan Hafner allowed seven hits and four walks over four innings, although he gave up only three runs, two earned. He fanned two. Orlando Castro followed with four scoreless innings.

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