Four Run 5th Inning Too Much For Altoona

Tony Watson

Last night the Altoona Curve got a great start from Rudy Owens, but ended up losing a low scoring game thanks to a few bad breaks.  The first three innings of tonight’s game looked like a repeat of last night, with Altoona starter Tony Watson getting off to a strong start.  Watson retired the first nine batters he faced, with four strikeouts, and only one ball leaving the infield, a shallow pop out to left field.

Altoona got on the board first in the top of the third, giving Watson the lead.  Jose de los Santos led off with a nice bunt single, and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Watson.  De Los Santos advanced to third on a ground out by Chase d’Arnaud, then scored when Josh Harrison lined an RBI single past a diving shortstop to give Altoona a 1-0 lead.

Watson was fine until the start of the 4th inning.  Darren Ford led off with a bunt single, and advanced to second on a throwing error.  The throw went behind the runner, on the foul side of the bag, and Jose de los Santos couldn’t manage to pull it in.  Ford moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Brandon Belt.  Watson walked the next batter, his second walk allowed of the inning, loading the bases with one out.  Sharlon Schoop hit a slow rolling ground ball to short, but Altoona wasn’t able to turn the double play, bringing another Richmond run in, giving Richmond a 2-1 lead.

Watson ran in to more trouble in the fifth inning.  After getting the first out, Watson allowed a line drive double to opposing pitcher Mike MacDonald.  The double was hit right to center fielder Miles Durham, who misjudged the play, and let the ball go over his head.  MacDonald scored on a single by Ryan Lormand.  Thomas Neal followed that up with a two out double to right-center, bringing in the second run of the inning.  Miles Durham almost made the catch, but collided with the wall, and dropped the third out in the process.  After a single by Belt, Watson allowed a two RBI triple to Connor Gillaspie, which ended the night for Watson.  Watson allowed six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.  His fastball was sitting at 88-89 MPH.  Jared Hughes came on to strike out Schoop and end the inning.

Altoona got three runs back in the top of the sixth inning.  Chase d’Arnaud led off with a fly ball double down the right field line, then scored on an RBI single by Josh Harrison.  Brandon Jones hit a bloop single to right field, and both Jones and Harrison advanced when right fielder Thomas Neal over-ran the ball.  Two batters later, Hector Gimenez lined a single to the left field gap, bringing in both Jones and Harrison, and cutting the score to 6-4.  After Miles Durham reached on an error, Richmond pulled Mike MacDonald.  MacDonald finished the night with 5.1 innings, eight hits, four runs, three earned, no walks, and one strikeout.

Hughes allowed a leadoff double in the sixth inning, followed by an RBI single two batters later.  The only other run allowed by Hughes was a solo homer to Gillaspie in the seventh inning, putting Richmond up 8-4.  Hughes ran in to a jam in the eighth, with runners at second and third and two outs, but got a strikeout to end the inning.  Hughes ended his night with 3.1 innings pitched, and two runs allowed on five hits, with a walk and six strikeouts.  His fastball was also in the 88-89 MPH range.

Altoona was unable to get any runs off of the Richmond bullpen, with Daniel Turpen pitching 2.2 shutout innings, followed by a shutout inning in the ninth by Andy Sisco to close out the game, giving Richmond an 8-4 victory.  Tony Watson took the loss, falling to 3-1 on the season, while Mike MacDonald got the win, improving to 3-7.

Altoona will look to take their first game of this four game series tomorrow at 7:05 PM as Altoona sends Jeff Locke (1-0, 1.59) to the mound to take on Richmond starter David Mixon (10-6, 3.69).

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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