Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.
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.