New Britain Rock Cats �8, � �Altoona Curve �7 (box)
A 9th inning rally by the Curve came up short, as the Curve fell to the Rock Cats on Saturday. �The final inning was a wild one, and by the time it was done, the two teams had combined for 30 hits -- 18 by the Rock Cats and 12 by the Curve.
Curve starter Jared Hughes gave up 6 runs on 12 hits over 4.2 innings and suffered the loss, giving him an 8-3 record for the season. �The Rock Cats scored their first run in the top of the 1st, on a lead-off double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �The Curve came right back at them, tying the game in the bottom of the frame. �SS Chase d'Arnaud tripled, then scored on 3B Josh Harrison's sacrifice fly.
New Britain kept going against Hughes. �Two singles and two grounders brought in a run in the 2nd inning, to give New Britain a 2-1 lead. �Hughes gave up a lead-off single in both the 3rd and 4th innings, and both times a double play erased the runner. �He was not so lucky in the 5th inning. �A double and a single complicated by a throwing error by 2B Jordy Mercer brought in a run. �A wild pitch moved the second runner to third base, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. �A single and two doubles, plus a fielding error by LF Alex Presley brought in two more runs, and the score was 6-1. �Hughes was done for the evening, with Tony Watson coming on to finish the inning. �Watson went on to pitch 3 more scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits while striking out 3 batters.
After their run in the 1st inning, the Curve batters found the going tough. �They went down in order in three of the next four innings, though they did get back-to-back singles by 1B Matt Hague and Mercer with two outs in the 4th. �Both were left on base. �D'Arnaud doubled in the 6th inning, and reached as far as third base, but after CF Gorkys Hernandez walked, a double play and another ground out ended the inning. �Presley also had a single in the 7th and was also left on base.
Dustin Molleken took the mound for the Curve in the top of the 9th. �He gave up two singles, then a double, which brought in both of the base runners, to give New Britain an 8-1 lead. �The bottom of the 9th began with a pinch-hit appearance by James Skelton, who was just promoted from A+ Bradenton to fill the roster spot vacated by Jim Negrych when he was moved up to Indianapolis. �Skelton led off with a single. �He scored when another pinch-hitter, Anthony Norman, tripled on a liner into right field. �Norman scored on Mercer's double, and Mercer scored on C Hector Gimenez's single. �With the score bumped to 8-4, the Rock Cats brought on a new pitcher, who started by getting Presley to bounce into a double play. �But the Curve were not down yet. �RF Miles Durham doubled, and he came around to score on DH Shelby Ford's single. �A fielding error put d'Arnaud on first and Ford on second base. �Hernandez brought both of them in with the second triple of the inning, and the Curve were within one run of tying the game, at 8-7. �That was as far as they got, though, as Skelton struck out in his second at-bat in the inning.