Friday night’s action:
Altoona Curve 2, Akron Aeros 0
Three Curve pitchers combined to throw a 3-hit shutout of the Aeros. Starter Mike Colla had to work around runners on base in 5 of his 6 innings, but he held the Aeros scoreless and earned his second win. He scattered 3 hits, 2 walks, and one hit batter over those innings. The only inning in which Akron had 2 runners on base was the 3rd, when Colla walked two. Anthony Claggett also gave up two walks in the 8th, after a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, but he did not allow a hit or a run. Noah Krol picked up his 9th Save with three quick ground outs in the 9th.
The Curve posted 11 hits, but scored only two runs (8 runners left on base). In the bottom of the 1st, with two outs, LF Quincy Latimore looped a single into right field, then scored from first on SS Jordy Mercer’s ringing double into center field. C Tony Sanchez singled and DH Kris Watts doubled in the 2nd inning, but Sanchez was out at the plate on the throw in from left field. The Curve added an unearned run in the 3rd. 2B Brock Holt led off the inning with a strikeout, but he reached first when strike three was a wild pitch. Holt stole second base, then scored when the Akron center fielder made an error on Mercer’s ball.
The Curve put runners on base in each inning after that, but could not bring any of them around to score. Sanchez and 1B Miles Durham both singled in the 4th inning, and that was the only inning after the 3rd when the Curve had two runners on base. CF Starling Marte singled twice, Watts singled, and Mercer doubled again.
After wins for everyone on Saturday, it’s losses for everyone on Sunday:
Erie SeaWolves 2, Altoona Curve 1
It took 13 innings to finish this pitching duel, when the Curve could not respond to a run scored by the SeaWolves in the top of the inning.
The Curve had put a runner on base in three of the first four innings: a double by SS Jordy Mercer in the 2nd, a single by 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore in the 4th. The Curve scored first, with a run in the bottom of the 5th. C Eric Fryer led off with a single, and he scored on 1B Miles Durham’s double to center field.
Starter Aaron Pribanic mowed down the SeaWolves with 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 4 batters and did not walk any, and had to work around only 2 hits, plus a batter reaching base on a throwing error. After a single in the 2nd, Pribanic retired 13 consecutive Erie batters. He gave up another single to begin the 7th inning, then was relieved by Matt McSwain. Pribanic had thrown 79 pitches, with 53 strikes.
McSwain gave up a double, but got out of the 7th inning without a run scoring. RF Brad Chalk helped out with a timely double play, when he made the catch on a fly ball, then threw out a base runner at third. Tim Alderson took the mound to begin the 8th inning, and he retired the side in order. But in the 9th, Alderson gave up a run on a single, a throwing error by 3B Jeremy Farrell on a bunt play, and an RBI double.
The Curve had only one base runner in the 6th – 8th innings, when Holt was hit by a pitch in the 8th. DH Tony Sanchez singled in the bottom of the 9th, but got no further, and the game moved into extra innings.
Alderson pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, and the Curve went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Michael Dubee took over for Alderson in the top of the 11th. Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the 12th. The Curve went down in order again in the bottom of the 11th, but threatened in the 12th. Farrell was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, then Fryer walked. A double play ended the inning without a run scoring.
Chris Leroux came on to pitch the top of the 13th, which began with a triple lined into right field. Chalk threw the ball in to the cut-off man Durham, whose relay throw went wild for an error, letting the runner score the go-ahead run. Leroux retired the next three batters, and the Curve had one more chance.
Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez led off the bottom of the 13th with a line drive double into left field. Holt put down a sacrifice bunt to move Hernandez to third base. CF Starling Marte popped out to first base, and Latimore was hit by a pitch, and advanced to second on defensive indifference. But a strikeout by Mercer ended the game with the two runners in scoring position, and Erie had the win.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss. The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez. Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd. LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out. Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.
Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks. A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.
Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits. Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd. Then things fell apart in the 3rd. The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass. The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored. Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout. But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0. The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single. A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base. Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third. Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double. Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out. Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th. He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.
The Curve played another mid-day game today, with the stadium full of school kids
Altoona Curve 4, Akron Aeros 3
The Curve hung on for the win, despite being out-hit 12-6 by the Aeros. Aaron Pribanic earned his third win of the season, and Noah Krol earned his 7th Save.
SS Jordy Mercer got things going for the Curve in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He beat out an infield single to third, then stole second base. A grounder by DH Tony Sanchez moved him to third base, and Mercer scored from there on a wild pitch. C Eric Fryer singled and 1B Miles Durham walked after Mercer scored, but both were left on base.
Akron took the lead in the top of the 4th. Pribanic had allowed 3 singles over the first two innings, but left those batters on base. He hit a batter with a pitch to open the 4th inning, then gave up a 2-run homer, giving the Aeros a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order in both the 3rd and 4th innings, but they got to the Akron starter again in the bottom of the 5th. Fryer led off with a walk, and with one out, RF Jose Hernandez drove a triple into center field, scoring Fryer. 2B Brock Holt’s RBI ground out brought in Hernandez, and the Curve had the lead back, 3-2. They tacked on another run in the 6th. LF Quincy Latimore began the inning with a line drive into center field for a single, and when the Akron center fielder made a fielding error, Latimore moved to second base. Mercer followed with another line drive into center, putting runners on the corners. Sanchez bounced into a double play, erasing Mercer, but Latimore was able to score from third base for a 4-2 lead.
Pribanic allowed 6 hits with those 2 runs in the 4th, going a total of 5 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 3 Aeros’ batters. Tim Alderson came on in relief to begin the 6th, and retired the side in order. He gave up an unearned run in the 7th, when Fryer made a fielding error to put a runner on base. A force out at second traded runners at first, and an RBI double brought the run in. Michael Dubee loaded the bases on three singles in the 8th, but wiggled out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out. Krol earned his save by getting out of another bases-loaded jam in the top of the 9th (two singles and a walk) with a timely double play.
Sunday afternoon with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates…. the West Virginia Power were rained out in Charleston. They will try for two games with the Greensboro Grasshoppers on Monday, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Altoona Curve 6, Erie SeaWolves 5
2B Brock Holt continued his hot hitting with two singles and a triple, as the Curve scored two runs in their last at-bat for the win. The game began with each team scoring 2 runs in the 1st inning. The SeaWolves began with a walk, a single, and a ground out, to put two runners into scoring position. A double lined into center field drove in both runners. Starter Aaron Thompson gave up another single, for runners on the corners, but he got out of the inning with a line out to third and a ground out.
Holt got the Curve rally started with a lead-off triple into right field. CF Starling Marte singled of the Erie third baseman’s glove and into left field, bringing in Holt. A balk moved Marte to second base, then he tagged up and advanced to third on a fly out. SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly plated Marte to tie the score at 2-2. A fielding error in center kept Mercer on the bases, but he was thrown out as he tried to get all the way to third base. The inning continued with 3B Jeremy Farrell hit by a pitch, then moving on to second with a stolen base and to third on a passed ball. DH Tony Sanchez was also hit by a pitch, but a ground out ended the inning with the two still standing on the corners. Two batters in a row being hit prompted the umpires to warn both benches.
The Curve took the lead in the 2nd inning, when C Eric Fryer singled, then RF Brad Chalk replaced him at first with a grounder force out. Chalk stole second base, then scored on Marte’s RBI single into center field.
Thompson allowed only a one hit over the 2nd and 3rd innings, then gave up a run in the 4th on a single, a stolen base, and a very wild pitch, as Erie tied the score at 3-3.
Fryer was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the 4th, and that resulted in both the Erie pitcher LJ Gagnier and the Erie manager Chris Cron to be ejected. Fryer was left on base as the new reliever Jared Gayhart retired the next three batters. But Gayheart began the 5th by hitting LF Quincy Latimore with a pitch (not sure why he wasn’t also ejected). Latimore was picked off first, though, and after a single by Mercer and a walk to Sanchez, Sanchez was also picked off first.
The Curve took the lead again in the 6th. 1B Miles Durham singled, moved to second on Fryer’s sacrifice bunt, on to third on a ground out, and scored on Holt’s single lined into right field.
Thompson finished with 6 innings of work, having allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He was relieved by Anthony Claggett to begin the 7th, with the Curve ahead 4-3. Claggett gave up two walks, but the first base runner was caught stealing, and the inning ended without a run scoring. Michael Dubee took the mound to begin the 8th inning. Dubee got a strike out, a ground out, and another strikeout — but strike three went wild, and the batter reached first base safely. Dubee walked the next batter, then a double scored both base runners, and Erie had a 5-4 lead, while Dubee had a Blown Save.
But the Curve batters rescued Dubee in the bottom of the frame. Sanchez walked to begin the rally, and was bunted to second. Chalk doubled, and Sanchez scored, then Holt singled for his third hit of the game, and combined with a throwing error by the shortstop on the relay throw, Chalk also scored, giving the Curve the lead again. Dubee pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Curve and Dubee had the win.