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Cannonballs coming: Clay Holmes throws six shutout innings

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MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Altoona was off.

— Clay Holmes bounced back strongly from two rough starts to open the season, throwing six shutout innings as Indianapolis (4-10) lost to Durham, 4-1. Holmes showed significantly improved control, walking nobody while fanning seven and throwing 51 of 80 pitches for strikes. He allowed five hits. By various accounts, Holmes’ fastball was sitting around 96 mph and he hit 99 once. Johnny Barbato followed Holmes with his Pirates’ debut, throwing two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit and struck out one. Unfortunately, Indy went with two struggling relievers, Cody Dickson and A.J. Schugel, in the ninth and they allowed four runs. Schugel has been hammered in five straight outings. He’s now allowed 11 runs, 15 hits and three walks in just eight innings. Austin Meadows went 2-4 and drove in the only Indianapolis run with a double.

Max Moroff: 0-4
Gift Ngoepe: 2-4
Elias Diaz: 0-4
Chris Bostick: 1-3

— Taylor Hearn’s start in Bradenton’s (9-6) 6-1 loss to Clearwater didn’t last long, thanks to a second inning in which he couldn’t get the third out until it was too late. With one on and two out, he gave up a walk and an infield hit to load the bases. A two-run single and a three-run HR followed. He struck out the next hitter, but with 56 pitches, 37 of them in that one inning, Hearn was done. He was charged with five runs on six hits and a walk. He fanned four. Yunior Montero, who has a story* even more interesting than Edgar Santana, followed with three innings, allowing an unearned run that scored without a hit. Montero seemed to tire in his last inning, walking two, sandwiched around Mitchell Tolman fumbling a double play grounder. Montero hit a batter to force in a run, but Will Craig saved him from further damage with a diving grab of a line drive, which he turned into a double play. Montero allowed one hit and struck out three. The Clearwater starter struggled to throw strikes, but the Marauders repeatedly bailed him out by chasing pitches and by making outs (three in all) on the bases. The only Bradenton run came on a HR by Tolman, his second. He went 2-4.

Cole Tucker: 1-4, 2B
Will Craig: 2-4
Seth McGarry: 2 IP, 3 K

*Montero first signed in 2010, but his contract was voided twice due to inadequate documentation (no age or identity fraud was ever shown). He pitched in only one game prior to 2014, so he wasted three full years.

— West Virginia (7-8) lost to Lakewood, 2-1, in 11 innings.. Cam Vieaux needed just 70 pitches to go six innings. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks, striking out one. The Power trailed, 1-0, going into the bottom of the ninth, but tied the game when a runner came all the way around from first on a passed ball and two errors on the same play.* West Virginia eventually lost the game on an unearned run that scored without a hit. Stephen Alemais went 2-5 with a double, but was thrown out on the bases both times, the second time trying to stretch a double into a triple with two out. Trae Arbet went 1-5 and got picked off, so the first two batters in the lineup wiped themselves off the bases all three times they reached. The Power had seven hits and struck out 16 times.

*That one at-bat produced four errors and a passed ball:

With Chris Harvey batting, passed ball by Henri Lartigue, Logan Ratledge scores. Missed catch error by center fielder Carlos Duran. Throwing error by catcher Henri Lartigue.
Chris Harvey reaches on a fielding error by first baseman Alex Wojciechowski. Chris Harvey advances to 2nd, on a throwing error by first baseman Alex Wojciechowski.