ALTOONA, Pa. — Right-hander Brandon Cumpton got the start for the Double-A Curve after the game was delayed for over an hour and 16 minutes. Cumpton allowed two runs on five hits over 7.2 innings. He walked two and struck out three while throwing 91 pitches, 62 strikes. Cumpton was the first starter by the Curve this season to pitch past the seventh inning.
The 23-year-old, who spent last season combined with Low-A West Virginia and High-A Bradenton, has had a solid start at the next level. Aside from his first Double-A debut, where he allowed five runs over 4.1 innings, Cumpton has allowed no more than two runs in each of his last three starts while pitching at least 6.0 innings.
“The first start he was probably a little over amped,” Curve Manager P.J. Forbes said. “He was underneath the ball a little bit. Since then, he’s been downhill with life and good breaking ball, changeup. Unfortunately one game we didn’t give him any runs. I like how aggressive he is. He’s not afraid to go in there, and go away and right back in there. That’s pitching.”
After allowing just one baserunner over his first four scoreless frames, Cumpton gave up his first run in the fifth. His first batter led off with an infield single. Former Curve infielder Jim Negrych followed with a double into center field and Catcher Sandy Leon grounded out to first to plate the run.
The second run Cumpton allowed scored after he gave up a one-out walk. With two outs, the righty allowed a RBI single that dropped into shallow center field.
“He used both sides of the plate,” Forbes said. “His fastball is explosive with life. You can tell by the number of bats that were blowing up out there. He really shouldn’t have gave up even one run.”
Altoona scored just one run over their first two games against Harrisburg in the three-game set. But on Thursday night, the bats came out swinging by banging out six runs in the 6-4 win.
The Curve plated three runs off Harrisburg starter Rob Gilliam in the 3rd inning. The righty gave up a leadoff double to pitcher Cumpton into the gap in right-center field. Leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman followed with a single up the right side. Shortstop Brock Holt knocked a RBI double for the third straight hit. The Senators chose to intentionally walk Matt Curry to load the bases. With two outs, Anthony Norman hit a two-run double to right to take a 3-0 lead.
Altoona tacked on a fourth run in the 4th frame. Elevys Gonzalez was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning. He scored after Robbie Grossman ripped a RBI double to right.
Grossman scored his second run in the bottom of the sixth after drawing a leadoff walk and swiping his first bag of the season. Holt tripled to center field to drive Grossman in. Curry hit a RBI single to right to plate the second run of the inning.
Right-hander Duke Welker allowed two runs to score in the top of the 9th inning. The 26-year-old was throwing 96-98 MPH on his fastball in the inning, topping out on a 98.6 heater. Welker gave up a double into center field, who advanced to third on a balk. The first run scored on an infield hit to second base. With one out, Welker gave up an RBI single to right to plate the second run. Welker followed that with a strikeout and a ground out to end the game.
- Relief — Duke Welker: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, BB, 2K
- Catcher Tony Sanchez caught former Curve Jim Negrych trying to steal second base in the first inning.
- Sanchez ripped a leadoff double on the first pitch into the gap into left center field in the 2nd inning. He was left stranded after the Curve went down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts swinging.
- Pirates Minor League Player-of-the-Year in 2011 Robbie Grossman went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double, a walk, an RBI and was hit by a pitch in the first.
- Brock Holt went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. He’s now hitting for a .321/.433/.429 line in 56 at-bats.
- First baseman Matt Curry extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the sixth inning. Curry contributes his success this season to a shortened leg kick this year.