Altoona Curve �6, � �Harrisburg Senators �1 (box)
Washington Nationals’ #1 Prospect Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to make one last AA start on Sunday afternoon, before heading over to AAA Syracuse. �The Curve wanted to make sure Strasburg learned one more lesson at the AA level before being promoted. �That lesson: �sometimes you have to take a loss. �The Curve were not all that cowed by Strasburg the first time they faced him, back on April 11th, and they were not any more impressed today. �After going down in order in the top of the 1st, the Curve began the top of the 2nd with a walk by 1B Matt Hague, followed by three consecutive singles by 2B Jim Negrych, RF Miles Durham, and LF Alex Presley. Negrych just beat out the throw from the shortstop for an infield single. �Durham floated a little single over the head of the Senators’ center fielder. �Presley’s single through the right side of the infield�brought Hague and Negrych in to score with the throw in from the outfield not even close, and the Curve had a 2-1 lead. �C Kris Watts walked, again loading the bases. �Strasburg got his mound opponent Justin Wilson to strike out. �SS Chase d’Arnaud grounded to short, and it looked like Strasburg was going to get out of the inning with a double play. �Watts was forced out at second, but Senators’ 2B Michael Martinez threw wildly to first base, and the ball skittered away, as two runs came across the plate, and d’Arnaud was safe at first. �The Curve took a 4-1 lead.
The Curve kept poking at Strasburg, and made him work for his outs. �In the 3rd inning, 3B Jordy Mercer led off with a walk, and Hague singled. �After a fly out, a double play got Strasburg out of the inning. �Strasburg retired the side in the 4th, but began the 5th by hitting d’Arnaud with a pitch. �Singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez and Mercer loaded the bases, but again Strasburg got a timely double play. �Hague grounded to third, and the Senators started a 5-2-3 double play, forcing d’Arnaud out at the plate. �That was the end of Strasburg’s afternoon. �He finished with 4.2 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and 3 walks with 4 strikeouts, and was charged with the loss. �Strasburg has allowed 9 runs (4 earned) in his 5 starts — 8 of those, including all of the earned runs, have been by the Curve.
Starter Justin Wilson gave up a run to the Senators in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a walk, and an RBI single that slipped just past d’Arnaud. �Wilson worked around runners on base in each of the next three innings, but allowed only that one run over 4 innings, on 4 hits and 3 walks, with 2 strikeouts. �Mike Dubee, just returned to the Curve from Indianapolis, pitched the next three innings for the Curve. �Dubee retired 9 batters in order, with one strikeout. �That earned him his first win. �Ronald Uviedo followed Dubee by retiring all 6 batters he faced, also with one strikeout.
As expected, the Pirates have called up righty�Jeff Karstens from Indianapolis to help them with their pitching woes. �Karstens will have to be added to the 40-man roster — he was removed from it back in November. �Over the past few weeks, Karstens had made 4 relief appearances for the Indy Indians, �for a total of 11 innings, allowing 11 runs (10 earned) on 15 hits. �He also made one start, last Thursday, and pitched 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits.
In order to make room, Rule 5 Draft pick OF John Raynor has been designated for assignment. �If Raynor clears waivers, he will have to be offered back to the Marlins. �The Pirates are hoping they can work out a deal to keep him, like they did for Evan Meek a couple of years ago.
One late morning/early afternoon game today:
West Virginia Power 6, �Kannapolis Intimidators 1 (box)
The Power won the series over Kannapolis 3 games to one with today’s early-bird win. �Gabriel Alvarado made the start for the Power, and pitched 4 solid innings, allowing one run on 3 hits and 2 walks. �The run he gave up was a lead-off homer to Kannapolis RF Nicholas Ciolli, to begin the 2nd inning. �Alvarado worked around a base runner in each inning, but did not allow any of those batters to score. �He struck out one and erased one of the runners with a double play. �Ciolli had another hit off Alvarado in the 4th, and a third hit off Zach Foster in the 8th, accounting for 3 of Kannapolis’ 4 hits.
The Power answered the run in the bottom of the 2nd with 3 runs on 3 doubles in the top of the 3rd. �CF Evan Chambers walked with one out, and moved to third base when LF David Rubinstein doubled. �3B Jesus Brito brought Chambers in with a sacrifice fly. �Back-to-back doubles by 1B Aaron Baker and DH Rogelios Noris plated two more runs, giving the Power a 3-1 lead.
The Power were quiet over the next four innings, getting only one hit — a single by Aaron Baker, who was then caught stealing second base. �In the 8th, they utilized singles and errors instead of doubles to do their scoring. �With one out, Rubinstein and Brito both singled, and when the Kannapolis centerfielder made a fielding error, Rubinstein was able to make it all the way around to score. �Brito was left on second base, and a wild pitch moved him up to third. �Baker singled next, scoring Brito, and another fielding error, this one in left field, put Baker on third base. �Noris lifted a sacrifice fly, and Baker came in with the third run of the inning. �Power up, 6-1.
Duke Welker relieved Alvarado for the 5th inning. �He walked three and struck out three (S,W,W, S,W,S), but gave up no hits or runs. �In the eyes of the official scorer, that earned him his first win of the season. �Maurice Bankston pitched the next two innings and allowed only a walk. �Zach Foster gave up a walk and Ciolli’s third hit in the 8th, but left both runners on base, then retired the side in order to finish up the 9th.
Altoona Curve 3, �Erie SeaWolves 2 (box)
3B Jordy Mercer was the man of the night for the Curve, as he went 3-for-4 at the plate, raising his batting average to .348. �He drove in two of the Curve’s three runs and scored the first and third. �LF Alex Presley went 3-for-3, and 1B Matt Hague contributed two hits and the remaining RBI.
Starter Rudy Owens earned his first win of the season. �He allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk over 6 innings, and struck out 5 Erie batters. �The run came in the 2d inning, on a single, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �Owens stopped the scoring at one run by getting the next batter to bounce into a double play. �Owens also worked around base runners in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th innings, then retired the SeaWolves in order in the 5th and 6th.
The Curve bats were quiet in the early innings. �Their first hit was a single by Presley to lead off the 3rd. �Mercer tied the score at 1-1 with his first home run of the season, a blast over the left field wall with one out in the 4th. �Hague and Presley both singled following the homer, but were both left on base. �The go-ahead run came in the 5th inning. �CF Gorkys Hernandez led off with a single into right field that had deflected off the Erie pitcher. �SS Chase d’Arnaud bunted Hernandez to second base, then RF Miles Durham was hit by a pitch. �That brought up Mercer, who doubled down the left field line, scoring Hernandez.
Owens was relieved by Michael Dubee to begin the top of the 7th. �Dubee retired the side in order that inning, but the top of the 8th began with a batter reaching on a fielding error by Mercer. �After a stolen base, a walk, and a strikeout, Dubee was relieved by Danny Moskos. Moskos got a grounder for a force out at third, then a second ground out to end the inning without a run scoring.
Mercer started the rally in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Curve an insurance run. �He led off with a triple into right field, which was followed by a walk to C Kris Watts, and two singles by Hague (RBI) and Presley. �With the bases loaded and one out, Hernandez grounded to third, forcing Watts out at the plate, and another grounder ended the inning. �The insurance run was necessary, because Erie scored one more time in the top of the 9th on a double and a single off Moskos, who held on to end the inning and earn his third save.
Altoona Curve 2, �Akron Aeros 0 (box)
Starter Jared Hughes dominated the Aeros for 5 innings in Akron on Monday night. �He scattered 4 walks over those innings, but did not allow a hit, while striking out 3 batters on the way to his third win of the season. �Reliever Dustin Molleken took over in the 6th inning and allowed a double, then gave up a walk and a single in the 7th, but still kept the Aeros from crossing the plate. �Danny Moskos earned his second save with a scoreless 9th, giving up another walk, but striking out the other three batters he faced.
The Curve didn’t need many runs in this one. �They put up an unearned run in the 1st inning, when SS Chase d’Arnaud reached base on a fielding error, then scored on back-to-back singles by RF Miles Durham and 3B Jordy Mercer. The Curve had runners on base in 6 of the next 8 innings, and in two innings had runners reach as far as third base without scoring. �In the 7th Altoona loaded the bases on a walk by DH Jim Negrych, a single by Durham, and a walk by Mercer. �C Hector Gimenez brought in Negrych with a sacrifice fly, and that was all the scoring required.
The Curve now have a 9-3 record.