The Altoona Curve beat the Reading Phillies 11-2 on Saturday night, thanks to two separate five run innings, led by some big hitting from Chase d’Arnaud and Matt Hague.
Yung-Chi Chen led off with a double, and was moved over to third on a ground out by Anthony Norman. After Justin Wilson struck out, Chase d’Arnaud connected with an RBI double to the left field gap, tying the game at 1-1 at the time. Jim Negrych was hit by a pitch, and Jordy Mercer walked to load the bases. Matt Hague hit a loop single to shallow right field, bringing in two runs, and giving the Curve a 3-1 lead. Hector Gimenez knocked in Mercer with a single, and Miles Durham followed up with an RBI double to make it 5-1.
Altoona got their second big inning in the seventh inning. Chase d’Arnaud led off the inning with a stand up triple on a line drive down the third base line. Jim Negrych was hit by the first pitch, getting hit for the second time tonight. Jordy Mercer connected with an RBI double to the gap, bringing in d’Arnaud and putting runners at second and third. Matt Hague singled, bringing in one run, and another scored on a throwing error by the third baseman, with Hague moving to third on the error. Hector Gimenez brought Hague in with a sacrifice fly. Miles Durham then tripled, and scored on a ground out by Chen.
D’Arnaud wasn’t done, connecting with a one out triple in the eighth inning, a stand up triple on a liner down the third base line, which was very similar to his triple in the seventh. D’Arnaud went 4-for-5 on the night with a double, two triples, three runs, and an RBI to lead the offense. Matt Hague also had a nice game, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs.
Justin Wilson didn’t have his best control tonight, although he limited mistakes and lasted five innings, allowing one run on three hits, with five walks and five strikeouts. Wilson threw 103 pitches, and almost half of them were balls. He was helped in a big way by double plays in the first and the fourth inning. Chase d’Arnaud also bailed him out by leaping to catch a line drive with two outs and runners at first and second in the fifth inning.
Wilson’s velocity was in the high 80s, according to the Altoona stadium gun. He managed to get a lot of ground balls, with a 9:0 GO/AO ratio. He did pick up the win, improving to 11-8 on the season.
Michael Dubee came on for the final four innings, allowing a run on two hits, with no walks and one strikeout, and getting his 5th save of the season. The only run came on a solo homer in the eighth inning, making the score 10-1. Dubee’s only other hit allowed was a bunt single down the third base line, which just stayed fair. Dubee was efficient, but he relied on a lot of fly outs, with a 2:8 GO/AO ratio.
I’ll be continuing my season ending minor league tour tomorrow with coverage in Altoona. Rudy Owens was originally scheduled to pitch, but has been pushed back to Wednesday to make the start for the first game in the playoffs. Derek Hankins will make the start for Altoona tomorrow in place of Owens. Game time is 6:00, and I will be here a few hours early to update the lineups.