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Pirates MiLB recap: 5/2/14

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Bradenton got rained out, while Indianapolis wasted a fine start, Altoona failed to mount a comeback, and West Virginia failed to hold a lead.

-- Indianapolis gave up five runs in the 8th and lost to Pawtucket, 6-1.  Starter Jake Brigham*, who's mostly been mediocre this year, gave up just one run on two hits and two walks over seven innings.  He fanned five.  Dan Schlereth, a reclamation project who does not seem to be working out, followed in the 8th and failed to retire any of the three hitters he faced.  Josh Kinney then came on and gave up a grand slam to Daniel Nava.  Gregory Polanco went 2-5 and Andrew Lambo 1-3 with a walk.  They're now hitting .398 and .353, respectively . . . but, hey, it's not like the Pirates need any help on offense, especially in right.  Nevin Ashley went 2-4 with a double.  Jaff Decker was 0-4 with four strikeouts.

*Brigham struck me as one of the more interesting of the Pirates' minor league signings.  He was considered a prospect in his Texas days due to a mid-, occasionally upper-90s fastball, but he hasn't had an ERA below 4.00 since 2007.  He's seldom pitched in relief, so I thought he'd be a good candidate for a move to the bullpen, but the Pirates have kept him starting.  Until today his performance was pretty much what it'd always been, although he has fanned more than a batter an inning.

-- A 9th inning rally fell short as Altoona lost to Akron, 5-4.  Starter Adrian Sampson allowed just an unearned run, but lasted only four and two-thirds innings, probably due to his pitch count.  He allowed five hits and walked two, and struck out three.  Keon Broxton went 3-4 with a double, Alen Hanson 2-4 with a double, and Elias Diaz 2-4 to leave his average at .391.  Stetson Allie was 0-3 with two walks.  Mel Rojas went 2-5 and lined out to end the game with the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

-- West Virginia blew two late leads and lost to Greensboro, 8-7.  Wyatt Mathisen* (pictured) went 3-5 with a double and his first HR.  JaCoby Jones hit a three-run shot, his third, although he went 1-5 overall with three strikeouts.  Elvis Escobar and Edwin Espinal each went 2-5 with a double, Danny Collins 2-5, and Michael Fransoso 2-3 with a triple and a walk.  Erich Weiss went 0-5 with three strikeouts, his second straight three-whiff game.  In his last ten games, Weiss has no walks and 16 Ks.  Dovydas Neverauskas allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings.  Yhonathan Barrios took the loss, giving up two 8th-inning runs to blow a one-run lead.

*The power output was a welcome sign for Mathisen.  Going into the game, he had just one extra base hit, a double, in 86 ABs, leaving him with an anemic .244 slugging average.  It's not like he's been overpowered, though.  On the season now he has eight walks and eleven Ks, which is less than a strikeout every eight ABs.