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Pirates' Altoona Affiliate Wins Eastern League Championship

The Pirates' Class AA Altoona Curve affiliate won the Eastern League championship last night after defeating the Yankees' Trenton Thunder, 5-2. This is about the same crew of prospects who won the Carolina League championship last year for the Bucs' Class A+ Lynchburg team.

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Tony Watson's six-inning, ten-strikeout performance was the latest strong showing by a Curve starting pitcher - Justin Wilson pitched seven shutout innings on Friday, and Jeff Locke recorded eight strikeouts in seven innings on Thursday. Wilson, Locke, Bryan Morris and Rudy Owens are all Altoona starting pitchers who could find themselves in the Pirates' rotation by the start of 2012. With only James McDonald, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf even looking like locks to make the Bucs' rotation in 2011, there will certainly be room for some fresh blood.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.