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Cannonballs coming: Pirates promote all the shortstops (almost)

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates-Media Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Couple of news items first:

The Pirates have promoted three shortstops (sub. req’d). Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker will each move up a level, Newman to Indianapolis and Tucker to Altoona. Stephen Alemais will move from the GCL, where he’s been rehabbing from a hand injury, to Bradenton. Alemais had been with West Virginia prior to the injury, but Adrian Valerio is there now. As a third round draft pick out of a major college, Alemais probably should be in high A anyway, but Tucker previously blocked him.

A more unfortunate note: As pointed out here (sub. req’d), Hunter Owen has gone on the DL at West Virginia. Owen was having a good year at the plate while doing the outfielder-at-third-experiment thing. It wasn’t going well on the defensive end; maybe for that reason Owen played his first game of the year in the outfield two days ago, only to get hurt in that game. Bradenton is trying to make the playoffs with only two outfielders who can hit at all, and the Power aren’t going to the post-season, so a promotion for Owen seemed an obvious move. I don’t know what the injury was.

— Nick Kingham had another rough outing in Indianapolis’ (53-43) 9-4 loss to Durham. Kingham threw 87 pitches over four innings, giving up eight runs on seven hits and four walks. He struck out five. Kingham now has an ERA of 6.10 since the beginning of June. Danny Ortiz had a three-run HR, his eighth HR on the year.

Chris Bostick: 0-4
Jordan Luplow: 2-4
Elias Diaz: 0-4
Eric Wood: 2-4, 2B
Gift Ngoepe: 1-2, 2B, BB
Edgar Santana: 1.1 IP, H, K
Dovydas Neverauskas: 1.2 IP, H, K

— Altoona (49-45) edged Harrisburg, 3-2. Austin Coley gave up six hits and four walks in six innings, but only two runs. He struck out seven. Elvis Escobar hit his third HR and Logan Hill went 2-4.

Kevin Newman: 0-3
Jerrick Suiter: 0-4
Wyatt Mathisen: 1-3
Yeudy Garcia: IP
Tate Scioneaux: 2 IP, BB, K, Sv

— Bradenton (52-40) wasted an outstanding start by Pedro Vasquez in a 4-3 loss to Fort Myers. Vasquez threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while fanning seven. He threw only 74 pitches, which may reflect the team cutting back on his workload. He went over 100 innings in this game, with six weeks to go in the season. It’s his third pro season and he threw only 71.2 innings last year and 91 the year before. The Marauders led, 2-0, after seven, but Geoff Hartlieb gave up two runs each in the eighth and ninth. Will Craig drew a pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth, but one run is all Bradenton got. The Marauders had just six hits.

Cole Tucker: 0-4, 3 K
Mitchell Tolman: 1-4, 2B

— West Virginia (41-50) beat Kannapolis in 11 innings, 7-4. Oddy Nunez allowed two runs over six innings. He gave up seven hits, walked nobody and struck out four. The Power took a 4-2 lead into the eighth, but a two-out error by Trae Arbet led to two runs and a tie game. It stayed that way until the 11th, when a two-run triple by Garrett Brown broke the tie. Adrian Valerio went 2-4, but came out of the game after being involved in a force play.

Brown: 2-5, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI (batting .301)
Dylan Prohoroff: IP, 3 K, Sv

— Morgantown (17-12) came from behind to take a fleeting lead in the ninth, but ended up losing to Auburn in 13 innings, 5-4. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth with two out and nobody on, the Black Bears tied the game when Chris Sharpe went all the way to third on a wild throw by the pitcher, then scored on a wild pitch. Bligh Madris followed with his first career HR to put the Bears on top. Unfortunately, they quickly blew the lead in the bottom half when Joel Cesar gave up a leadoff double and catcher Raul Hernandez threw away a bunt attempt. Adam Oller lost it in the 13th on a walkoff single. Starter Scooter Hightower allowed only two hits and two walks in six innings, but gave up three runs, two earned. He struck out three.

Sharpe: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB
Madris: 3-6, 3B, HR (1)
Jared Oliva: 1-6, 3 K
Tristan Gray: 1-6
Brett Pope: 2-5, 2B
Cesar: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 5 K

— Bristol (8-19) failed to hold a five-run lead and got destroyed by Elizabethton, 17-8. Travis MacGregor had a decent start, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out three. Dany Hernandez, one of the Pirates’ two obscure Cuban signings this year, gave up four runs, one of them unearned, in one inning to blow a 7-3 lead. Hernandez is playing in rookie ball at age 26. (The other Cuban signee, Yoandy Fernandez, is pitching well in relief at Morgantown, where at 29 he’s about eight years too old for the level.) The Pirates used four relievers in the game; by the end of the day they had ERAs of 13.50, 9.58, 12.71 and 7.31. Edison Lantigua had a single and a walk in his first two plate appearances, but came out for a pinch hitter for unknown reasons. Matt Diorio and Huascar Fuentes each went 2-5 with a double.

Yondry Contreras: 1-3
Ben Bengtson: 1-2, 2 BB
Jason Delay: 1-5

— The GCL Pirates (7-13) lost to the Blue Jays, 7-5. Steven Jennings’ third start didn’t go as well as the first two. He lasted two and a third innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out three. David Lee, a 27th round pick who was one of the Pirates’ last two signings, made his debut with a scoreless inning. He gave up a hit and a walk, and struck out one. Hector Garcia retired six straight in a rehab outing, striking out three.

Lolo Sanchez: 1-3, BB
Mason Martin: 1-4, 2B, BB
Calvin Mitchell: 0-5
Rodolfo Castro: 1-3, BB
Gabriel Brito: 2-4, 2B, BB

— The DSL Pirates (21-18) lost to the Astros Orange, 6-2. The Pirates had only two hits, both by Emison Soto.

Francisco Acuna: 0-3, BB
Samuel Inoa: 0-4