Trenton Thunder� 3,� Altoona Curve� 2 …���� (box)
Curve starter Rudy Owens faced off against National’s phenom pitcher Stephen Strasbourg at the beginning of the season, and held his own.� Now he winds down the season by facing off against New York Yankees’ rehabbing star Andy Pettitte — and again, Owens held his own.� Owens and Pettitte each pitched 5 innings in tonight’s first game of the Eastern League Championship Series, held in Altoona.� Owens gave up 2 runs; Pettitte gave up 2 runs.� Owens gave up 7 hits and 3 walks; Pettitte gave up 6 hits and 2 walks, and he also threw a wild pitch.� Owens struck out 7; Pettitte struck out 4.
2B Chase d’Arnaud faced Pettitte three times and must not have been very impressed.� He put the first run of the game onto the scoreboard when he led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a solo home run off Pettitte.� In the 3rd inning, d’Arnaud worked a walk, and in the 5th, he singled off Pettitte.
The Curve took d’Arnaud’s home run lead into the 3rd inning.� Rudy Owens gave up a walk and a single in the 2nd, but induced a double play to end the inning.� In the 3rd, he gave up three singles, including the RBI single that slipped past first base and down the right field line to tie the score at 1-1.
The Curve came right back in the bottom of the 3rd to take a 2-1 lead.� With one out, DH Yung Chi Chen lined a single into right field.� Pettitte’s wild pitch put Chen on second base, and when d’Arnaud walked, ball four got past the Trenton catcher for a passed ball, allowing Chen to advance to third base.� 3B Josh Harrison grounded just out of reach of the Trenton shortstop and into left field for the single that scored Chen.
Owens retired the side in order again in the 4th.� Then he gave up two doubles in the top of the 5th, and Trenton had tied up the game again, at 2-2.
The Curve threatened in the bottom of the 5th.� Chen reached base on a fielding error by the Trenton third baseman.� Back-to-back singles by d’Arnaud and Harrison — a line drive into right field by d’Arnaud and a bunt single by Harrison — loaded the bases for Altoona.� But Pettitte got SS Jordy Mercer to bounce back to the mound, where he fired the ball back to the catcher, forcing out Chen at the plate, then on to first base to complete the double play.� A strikeout ended the inning.
Altoona Curve� 10,� Harrisburg Senators� 5 …���� (box)
The Curve doubled up the Senators tonight, winning their second game of the series in the Senators’ home park.� That gave Altoona a 3-1 game win of the season, advancing them to the championship round of the Eastern League playoffs.
Five home runs by the Curve kept the runs coming, as the Curve totalled 12 hits.� CF Andrew Lambo and LF Jim Negrych had 3 hits each, and Lambo and RF Miles Durham contributed 3 RBI each.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud homered for the second game in a row, and Lambo, Durham, SS Jordy Mercer, and C Hector Gimenez also had home runs.
After a quiet first inning, the Curve got things going in the top of the 2nd, with a walk to Lambo,� a single by Negrych, and Durham’s 3-run home run.� The Senators came right back in the bottom of the inning.� The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error by SS Mercer, then C Jhonatan Solano hit a 2-run homer to put the score at 3-2.
The Curve responded with two 2-run home runs in the top of the 3rd.� With one out, 3B Josh Harrison walked, and Mercer homered.� Then Hague walked and Lambo homered.� They added another run in the 4th, on a walk by d’Arnaud, a singled up the middle by Mercer, and an RBI line drive single into left field by Lambo.� Curve up, 8-2.
Starter Tony Watson continued his solid performance after the Senators’ home run in the 2nd.� He worked around a single in the 3rd and another single in the 4th.� He retired the side in order in the 5th.� The 6th inning began with a lead-off home run by 1B Chris Marrero.� Watson retired the next three batters, plus the first two in the 7th, before giving up a walk.� At that point, he gave way to Craig Hansen, who threw a wild pitch, but finished the inning with a ground out.� Watson had allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts in his 6.2 innings of work.
Hector Gimenez kept the Curve humming with a solo home run in the 7th inning, and Chase d’Arnaud added his solo blast in the 8th.
Altoona Curve� 7,� Harrisburg Senators� 2 …�� (box)
The Pirates’ only minor league affiliate still playing in the post-season, the Altoona Curve, defeated the Harrisburg Senators 7-2 in the third game of the Eastern League Western Division playoffs tonight in Harrisburg.� After splitting the first two games in Altoona, the Curve now have a 2-1 game lead in the best-of-5.
The Curve pitching was a big key in the game, as starter Justin Wilson dominated the Senators for 6 scoreless innings.� He allowed only two hits and struck out 7 Harrisburg batters, though he also walked 5.� The first two batters in the Harrisburg line-up, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and SS Josh Johnson, led off in four different innings, and each time at least one got on base.� Lombardozzi had both of the singles given up by Wilson.� In the bottom of the 1st, Lombardozzi led off with a single and Johnson walked.� Wilson got a line out and a strikeout, then walked another batter to load the bases, but then ended the inning with a fly out.
Wilson retired the side in order in the 2nd, then the same two came up again to begin the 3rd.� This time Lombardozzi grounded out, then Johnson walked again.� Wilson got a double play to erase Johnson at second base, ending the inning.� Another walk and another double play got Wilson through the 4th inning, and he retired the side in order in the 5th.� The 1-2 punch began the 6th inning with another single by Lombardozzi (only Wilson’s second hit allowed) and a third walk to Johnson.� This time Lombardozzi advanced to third base by tagging up on a fly out, but two strikeouts ended the inning.
Mike Colla relieved Wilson to begin the 7th inning.� He worked around a single in that inning, then had to face guess who to lead off the 8th inning.� This time they turned it around — Colla walked Lombardozzi and gave up a single to Johnson.� Colla wasn’t any more impressed than Wilson had been.� He left them standing right there, with a strikeout and two short fly outs.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were busy scoring.� They posted a total of 12 hits, with five different batters collecting 2 hits each:� 2B Chase d’Arnaud, 3B Josh Harrison, 1B Matt Hague, lF Jim Negrych, and RF Miles Durham. The Curve threatened in the 2nd, when Hague led off with a line drive single into right field.� He was erased with a double play, then C Hector Gimenez and Negrych worked back-to-back walks.� They were both left on base when a fly out ended the inning.� Three consecutive singles got another rally going in the 3rd inning.� D’Arnaud and Harrison both grounded through the left side of the infield, and SS Jordy Mercer lined the third single into right field.� That brought up Hague, who rocketed a long ball off the top of the wall in center field, not missing a home run by much.� It fell in for a double, clearing the bases to give Altoona a 3-0 lead.
Two of the Pirates’ affiliates in playoff action:
Altoona Curve� 6,� Harrisburg Senators� 4 ….������ (box)
The Senators and the Curve battled back and forth, with errors and poor base running on both sides, but it was the Curve who came out on top to even the best-of-5 series at 1 game each.� The Curve scored their runs on 7 hits, 5 of which were doubles.� LF Andrew Lambo and 2B Chase d’Arnaud let the way with two hits each, and Lambo contributed 3 RBI.
Harrisburg scored first, with an unearned run in the top of the first.� With one out, Curve starter Jeff Locke walked two batters, then got the next batter to ground to short, for what should have been a double play.� SS Jordy Mercer made the throw to 2B Chase d’Arnaud for the force out at second, but d’Arnaud’s relay to first base was off-target.� The batter was safe, and the runner who had been on second base came around to score.
The Curve got the run back again in the bottom of the 2nd.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a double, moved to third base by tagging up on C Hector Gimenez’s fly out, and scored on Andrew Lambo’s RBI ground out.� The Curve managed only a double by 3B Josh Harrison in the 3rd, then scored again in the 4th.� Hague and Gimenez opened the 4th with back-to-back walks.� Lambo rocketed a line drive down to the right field corner, bringing in Hague to take the lead.� RF Miles Durham grounded to short, but a quick play by the Senators going to the plate, had Gimenez out at home.� Lambo moved up to third base on the play, and he scored on CF Anthony Norman’s sacrifice fly.� Curve up, 3-1.
The Senators came right back in the top of the 5th to tie the score again.� Jeff Locke had kept the Senators from scoring over three innings, despite having runners on base in both the 2nd (walk and single) and 3rd (double and walk).� Another double led off the 5th, then Locke got the next two batters out.� The next batter lifted a fly deep into the left-center field alley, which sailed beyond Norman’s leap and to the wall.� Lambo couldn’t get to it either, and the runner scored.� The Senators made it runners on the corners when a short fly ball skipped off d’Arnaud’s glove and bounced away.� That was all for Jeff Locke, who had pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 2 runs so far, one earned and one not, on 4 hits and 4 walks, with 5 innings.� Derek Hankins relieved Locke, but he threw a wild pitch, which allowed the runner from third to score, also charged to Locke.� Hankins ended the inning with a strikeout, but the score was tied again, 3-3.
Harrisburg Senators� 10,� Altoona Curve� 5 ….������ (box)
Two 5-run innings gave the Senators the advantage over the Curve in the first game of their Eastern League playoff series.
The Curve jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the 1st.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and 3B Josh Harrison followed by blasting a home run over the left-center field wall, to give the Curve a 2-0 lead before they even had recorded an out.� Two outs later, LF Andrew Lambo reached base on a fielding error by the Senators’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi.� C Hector Gimenez worked a walk, and RF Miles Durham singled into left field to bring in Lambo from second base, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.
It didn’t last long, as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.� Curve starter Rudy Owens had worked around a walk to Lombardozzi in the 1st inning, but got into trouble quickly in the 2nd.� A walk and a single began the inning, then a grounder to the diving 1B Matt Hague produced a force out at second base.� A double into right-center field brought in both base runners, and the Senators had made it a one-run game, 3-2.� A bunt attempt by the Senators’ pitcher, Tom Milone, went right to Owens on the mound, and he turned it into a fielder’s choice out at third, leaving Milone on first base.� But Lombardozzi walked again, then a single loaded the bases.� Owens had two outs with those bases loaded, and he got an 0-2 on the next batter — and another single drove in two more runs, and the Senators had the lead.� That sent Owens to the showers after just 1.2 innings.� Jared Hughes came out of the bullpen, and he loaded the bases again by walking the first batter he faced.� A passed ball by Gimenez allowed the runner in from third base (unearned run, charged to Owens), and when a ground out ended the inning, the Senators had a 5-3 lead.
Milone had the Curve bats under control for the next 6 innings.� D’Arnaud doubled in the 2nd inning, but was left on base when three other Curve batters struck out.� Hughes reached base in the 4th on a fielding error, but was also left stranded. � Durham singled in the 6th, but was also left on base.� Harrisburg’s reliever Hassan Pena pitched the 7th inning, and he also retired the Curve in order.
Hughes did even better than Milone over his next 3 innings — he retired those 9 Harrisburg batters in order.� Bryan Morris was next out of the bullpen.� He retired the side in order in the 6th, and worked his way out of a jam in the 7th.� That inning began with a single, then Lombardozzi reached on fielding error, when his grounder bounced off 3B Harrison’s glove.� With two on and none out (instead of one on and one out), Morris got a strikeout.� Another single loaded the bases, then Morris ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout and a blazing line drive that went straight to Harrison’s glove.
Mike Dubee took the mound for the Curve to begin the 8th inning, and he found trouble quickly.� Back-to-back singles opened the inning, then Dubee got a strikeout.� An RBI single followed, then Lombardozzi drove a liner down the right field line and into the bullpen, plating the second run of the inning.� An intentional walk loaded the bases, and a grounder to third yielded a force out at third, but Harrison’s throw to first rolled away from 1B Hague, and instead of an inning-ending double play, two more runs scored and the inning continued.� Another single dropped in, in short left field, to drive in the fifth run of the inning.� Craig Hansen relieved Dubee, and he got the pitcher Pena to fly out to end the inning.