Eliecer Navarro, Kenn Kasparek and Tyler Waldron allowed 17 hits, walked five and gave up nine runs combined as Altoona lost for the fifth time in six outings, falling 9-7 to the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Navarro worked in and out of trouble for three innings, soft tossing his way out of jams before surrendering five runs in the fourth inning before being pulled. Navarro’s final line sat at 3.1 innings, seven hits, five walks and two strikeouts while throwing 88 pitches. His fastball rarely hit 85 mph, and on times when he reached back to fire in the 87-88 range, he had no idea where it was going. The Curve bullpen didn’t fare much better, as Waldron left too many balls over the plate en route to surrendering seven hits over just two innings.
The erratic pitching cast a shadow over an impressive showing from a struggling offense. After failing to score in their two previous games, the Curve came out blazing in the first of a four game set at The Diamond. Alen Hanson led things off with a single over third base, and advanced to third on a double by Drew Maggi. Both runners scored on consecutive sacrifice flies from Gregory Polanco and Alex Dickerson, and the Curve were staked to a 2-0 lead before Richmond came to the plate.
Hanson had arguably his best game since moving to Double-A, finishing 3-of-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. His bases clearly triple in the top of the ninth nearly capped a miraculous comeback which saw the Curve go from 9-3 down to a 9-7 deficit when Carlos Paulino grounded out with the bases loaded to end things. Jarek Cunningham finished 2-for-4, and is now 6-of-10 over his past three games. Cunningham showed impressive effort in the third inning, singling, stealing second and scoring from there on a wild pitch.
Richmond starting pitcher Jack Snodgrass made his first start since being activated from the disabled list, and got stronger as the game progressed, finishing with eight strikeouts over 6.1 innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
**SS Alen Hanson finished 3-for-5 including a game opening single, a bunt single to third and a bases clearing triple in the ninth. He misjudged a ball off of Drew Maggi’s bat in the first, and should have scored on Maggi’s double, but came around to do so on Gregory Polanco’s sac fly. He seemed to “flip a switch” defensively, often times allowing routine plays to become close, while making more challenging catch and throws look easy.
15 pitches seen/five plate appearances, four from the right side, his triple coming from the left
**CF Gregory Polanco went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, a walk and two strikeouts. He went after the first pitch he saw, and roped a ball to deep center/right center that drove in Alen Hanson from third. Polanco struggled with left-handed sidearm pitcher Phil McCormick, striking out on three pitches down and away with runners in scoring position, and looked like he carried that mistake into the field. He made a tremendous throw in the first inning to gun down a runner attempting to score from third on a sac fly, but appeared to pull off of a similar throw in the later innings.
19 pitches seen/five plate appearances; Polanco stuck out twice on seven pitches, and smacked a first pitch fastball deep for his sacrifice.
**RF Alex Dickerson had a quiet night, finishing 0-for-2 with two walks, and a sacrifice fly. None of the balls he put in play were hit particularly hard, but he drew consecutive walks in the seventh and ninth inning.
17 pitches seen/five plate appearances