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Cumpton dominates in AAA, Holmes struggles

Brandon Cumpton threw seven two-hit, shutout innings for Indianapolis, but Clay Holmes struggled and not much else good happened.

Friday's action:

-- Indianapolis beat Lehigh Valley, 5-1, behind a strong start from Brandon Cumpton (pictured). He threw seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk, and fanning three. Jose Contreras pitched the 8th, allowing a solo HR. Duke Welker finished, walking two and fanning two in his one inning. Josh Harrison went 2-3 with a walk and three runs scored. Jordy Mercer went 1-3 with a triple and a walk.

-- Altoona dropped a 7-3 decision to Erie. Starter Casey Sadler allowed four runs, three earned, in four innings. Nate Baker, who once looked like a decent prospect, allowed two runs in one inning and now has an ERA of 21.00. In fact, a look at the Altoona lineup confirms the view that AA is the level where the prospects get separated from the suspects. It's filled with players who seem to have hit a wall there, or who are new to the level and not off to good starts. Alex Dickerson went 0-4 and is now hitting .183. Gift Ngoepe had a triple but struck out in his other three ABs. He's hitting .150. Andrew Lambo, who's now spent time in AA in six straight seasons, hit his third HR. Matt Curry, in his third year at the level, went 1-3 and is hitting .257. Mel Rojas, Jr., who got off to a good start this year, went 0-4 and is down to .253. Jarek Cunningham, in his second year at the level, went 1-3 and is hitting .219. And Oscar Tejeda appeared as a pinch hitter after being sent down from AAA. This is his third shot at AA. Fortunately, few if any of these players are among the Pirates' better prospects.

-- Bradenton lost to St. Lucie, 5-2. Eliecier Navarro started and allowed four runs, three earned, in six innings. Jacob Stallings went 2-2 with a double. Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco each went 1-4, with Hanson's hit being a double.

-- West Virginia lost to Savannah, 4-2. Clay Holmes gave up three in the first, but recovered well enough to follow with four scoreless innings. His line, though, was pretty ugly: six hits and four walks in five innings, with no strikeouts. On the season he has 19 walks and 14 Ks. In his last two game, that's nine walks and one K. Raul Fortunato had two hits. Stetson Allie had a double in four ABs, but struck out the other three times.