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Pirates minor league report
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08/22/2002 7:01 pm ET 
Pirates minor league report
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com

Nashville Sounds (AAA)
(67-63, second place in Pacific Coast League standings)

The Sounds have been on an absolute tear, winning 10 of their last 12 games to pull to within a game of New Orleans for first place in the PCL Eastern Division standings. Beginning Thursday, Nashville hosts Memphis in a pivotal five-game series that will wrap up their home schedule.

The most dominating performance of the week came from starting pitcher Salomon Torres. Torres blanked Omaha on just one hit while striking out 14 batters Monday night to improve his record to 7-4.

Keep an eye on: Torres pitched well for the Pirates in Spring Training after sitting out most of the previous four seasons. He will probably get a look from the big league club in September.

Noteworthy: If the Sounds are able to qualify for the playoffs it will be their first postseason birth since 1994.

Altoona Curve (AA)
(67-62, fourth place in Eastern League standings)

The Curve continue to be great draws at Blair County Ballpark. With five games remaining on the home schedule, Altoona is just 17,523 fans shy of the club record attendance of 348,316 set last season.

The great fan support could be one reason that the Curve has already set a single-season franchise record with 43 home wins. Altoona is 43-23 at home, 24-39 on the road.

Keep an eye on: John Grabow, the Pirates' third-round pick in 1997 has bounced back to win seven of his last 11 decisions after beginning the season 1-7.

Noteworthy: Tony Alvarez's 147 hits are just nine shy of the team mark set by Rob Mackowiak in 2000.

Lynchburg Hillcats (A)
(78- 45 overall, 31-26 record in second half, third place in Carolina League standings)

A 15-2 loss Tuesday to Frederick notwithstanding, Sean Burnett has put together a fantastic season. The Bucs top draft pick in 2000 is 12-4 with a 1.99 ERA in 24 starts.

Keep an eye on: Chris Duffy, an eighth-round pick out of Arizona State a year ago, the Hillcats center fielder is batting .298 with 10 home runs and 21 stolen bases.

Noteworthy: The Hillcats lead the league in batting average (.275), home runs (118) and team ERA (3.01).

Hickory Crawdads (A)
(76-51 overall, 32-25 record in second half, third place in South Atlantic League standings)

SAL Player of the month for July, Walter Young, shows no signs of slowing. Young went 5-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs Tuesday. Young leads the league with 22 home runs and 94 RBIs and is third in batting with a .333 average.

Keep an eye on: . Jose Bautista, the Crawdads third baseman has shown some pop at the plate, hitting .297 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Noteworthy: Chris Shelton leads the SAL with a .350 batting average.

Ed Eagle covers the Pittsburgh Pirates for MLB.Com and can be reached at ed.eagle@pittsburghpirates.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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