Pirates AA prospect Castro calls game-winning HR

Curve win wild 14-13 game as Oneil Cruz one of the stars
Altoona Curve ballpark
Altoona Curve Photo credit 93.7 The Fan

ALTOONA, PA (93.7 The Fan) – He slowly walked up the first base line with his bat in his hand thumping his chest as Pirates prospect Rodolfo Castro hit a solo homer to propel the Curve to a 14-13 win over Akron Wednesday.

Turns out the 22-year-old told his teammates before leading off the 8th, he was going to hit a home run.

“I got the homer in this at bat,” Castro said he told his team Thursday.  “I will hit a home run right now.”

He was right, taking the first pitch over the right field wall.

Castro also drove in three other runs on a pair of singles.  The switch-hitter now has 25 RBI, third in the AA Northeast League.

“I’m so happy and enjoying it,” Castro said.  “I’m passionate and love this game.”

Altoona 6’7” shortstop Oneil Cruz turned on a 96 mile-an-hour fastball and hit it over 400 feet, drove in another run with a single, scored 3 runs and walked twice.  Cruz is now top 10 in the league in homers and RBI and top 15 in batting average.

A second round pick of the Pirates in 2017, Cal Mitchell with a bases-loaded triple.  The 22-year-old right fielder drove in 4 and is hitting .295 on the season.  He’s a left-handed hitter and hit 15 home runs with 64 RBI in 2019 after driving in 65 the previous year.

Mason Martin hit 35 HR and drove in 129 runs in 131 games between low and high A in 2019.  A lefty-hitting first baseman, Martin had a two-run triple Wednesday and now has 19 RBI on the season.  The 22-year-old also has 6 doubles and 5 homers on the season.

The news not all good, at least from the pitching staff.  The Curve walked 8 and allowed 17 hits to go with the 13 runs.  Starter Travis MacGregor, who missed 2019 after Tommy John surgery and 2020 due to COVID, lasted only 1.2 innings, giving up 6 runs on 6 hits with 4 walks and a strikeout.  The righty’s ERA is now 4.87.

That 3 hour 44 minute, wild game is win 20 for the Curve out of 31 games.  It also puts them over .500 at home at 7-6 with Akron in town through Sunday.