Monday, August 4, 2008

Hicks hits puts Twins on top

GCL Twins

GCL Twins 3 at GCL Pirates 2

W: J. Testa (2-0, 1.54); L: F. Ortiz (1-1, 2.33); SV: K. Mota (9)
HR: TWI: A. Hicks (3).

Tyler Cox A two-run home run by Aaron Hicks, his third of his professional career, helped propel the Twins to a 3-2 win over the GCL Pirates Sunday at Pirate City.

Herbert Lara doubled his way onto base before Hicks towering fly ball went over the right field fence to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Jean Mirajes took the start for the Twins, allowing only 2 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 3 over 4 innings. He'd give way to Michael Tonkin in the fifth.

The newcomer would get Alex Vargas to fly out before allowing a walk to Kyle Saukko. Adenson Chourio took a single off of him, but Saukko would be caught trying to steal second and Edwin Roman would strike out.

Tyler Cox worked four for the Pirates, allowing a pair of hits and a pair of walks while fanning 4. Ivan Herrera-Rusova would be on the mound when Hicks went yard. Francisco Ortiz replaced Herrera-Rusova in the top of the sixth and got Danny Ortiz, Tyler Ladendorf and Michael Gonzales to ground out, bringing the Pirates up to bat.

Joe Testa would be selected to head out to the mound, and he'd allow a line drive single to Jose Tabata. After getting Ronny Paulino to line out and Jarek Cunningham out on strikes, Edward Garcia would triple to drive in Tabata. A throwing error by Henry Sanchez at first would allowed Garcia over the plate as well, tying up the score.

Henry would not redeem himself in the seventh, going down on strikes. Pinto doubled and moved to 3rd on Juan Sanchez's ground out, but Lara went down on strikes, stranding the runner. Testa worked a quick bottom of the inning, going three up, and three down.

Aaron Hicks would triple in the top of the 8th. Anderson Hidalgo's line drive to left plated him for the game winning run. Ortiz would line into a double play and Ladendorf would ground out, stranding Hidalgo. The bottom half of the inning would be equally as quick as Testa put the next three batters to rest.

Gary Amato replaced Frank Ortiz for the top of the 9th, and got Gonzales and Henry Sanchez to strike out and Pinto to fly out to bring the Pirates up to bat. The Twins turned to closer Kelvin Mota. Jarek Cunningham would single, but Garcia ground into a force out. He'd then steal 2nd and advance to 3rd on a throwing error by Pinto. Andury Acevedo drew a walk, but Mota picked him off at 1st. Alex Vargas then flew out to end the contest.

Josmil Pinto Hicks went 2-for-2 at the plate with a pair of walks, a pair of runs and a pair of runs scored. Lara would finish up 2-for-3 with a double and a run. Hidalgo, Ortiz and Pinto were each 1-for-4, Hidalgo with a run, Pinto with a double.

With the win, the GCL Twins regain the South Division lead, 1 game in front of the GCL Pirates. Their 23-14 record (.622) is currently the best in the Gulf Coast League.

The Twins are on the road Monday against the Orioles and return home on Tuesday to face the Reds. Both games are at noon.

Sandlot Swashbucklers

Tabata Was acquired by the Pirates in a trade with the Yankees. He entered the 2007 season ranked as the Yankee's second-best prospect by Baseball America and was named to the 2007 FSL Post-Season All-Star. He was a Future's Game Selection in 2006 and was named to the Sally All-stars in 2006 and the GCL Post-Season All-star team in 2005. Tabata has been a head case for a while and has been taken out of games in the Eastern League twice this season for disciplinary reasons. He was suspended for 3 games in May after fleeing the ballpark without permission after striking out in the seventh inning.

The Yankees received Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte and sent Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen and Jeff Karstens to the Pirates in exchange.

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