June 21, 2013 - Eastern League (EL) - Altoona Curve
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Jarek Cunningham's solo homer in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie and helped pilot the Curve to a, 7-4, win over the Fisher Cats and a second consecutive series sweep. Altoona actually trailed early in the game after starter Casey Sadler allowed a run in the first inning. His offense got to 'Cats starter Ryan Tepera in the bottom of the inning to tie it and then again in the second to take the lead. It was a three-run lead heading into the seventh inning before the Fisher Cats tied the game at four. Cunningham's homer was just the tip of the iceberg for the offense, who scored two more times as insurance in the eighth to seal the win. Jhonathan Ramos (1-0) earned the win in relief while Luis Sanz grabbed a sixth save. Mel Rojas, Jr. chipped in with three hits and a pair of RBI while Gift Ngoepe, Andy Vasquez and Cunningham all had multi-hit games. Sadler, who did not factor into the deci- sion, turned in his ninth quality start on Thursday (6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K).
CURVE/BAYSOX SERIES: Despite being in the same division, this will be the first of just two series that the Curve and Baysox will play one another. Bowie visits Curve, Pa. just once in 2013 and that visit comes from July 15-17. Altoona actually plays more games against non-division foe Binghamton, playing 15 games throughout the course of 2013.
FOR ALTOONA: Making his first road start in Double-A tonight for the Curve will be RHP Nick Kingham, who was sharp after a rocky first inning in his Double-A debut on Saturday night vs. Trenton. Kingham, up from High-A Bra- denton after going 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts, walked a pair of batters in his first Double-A inning on Saturday but danced around it to escape with no runs allowed. He was dialed in from there and did not allow a run over his final 4.2 innings pitched. The Las Vegas, Nev. resident whiffed seven in his debut, keeping on par with his numbers from Bradenton where he fanned 75 while walking just 14. The road will be a test tonight for Kingham, who was 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in eight starts for the Marauders. For more on Kingham, who is the 17th-best prospect in the system according to Baseball America, see page two.
FOR BOWIE: On the bump for the Baysox in the opener will be LHP Jake Pettit, who has faced the Curve twice in his career entering play tonight. In his first appearance versus Altoona in 2012 he allowed three runs on three hits in two innings out of the bullpen on May 26. Then when the Curve visited Bowie in August, he gave up six runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. This season, he had a marvellous May where he was 21 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts but so far has had a disastrous June. The southpaw is 0-2 with a 9.98 ERA in three starts this month, having allow- ing 17 runs (all earned) on 20 hits in 15.1 innings with nine walks. Pettit was a 42nd round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 draft out of Western Oregon University.
ENTER SANZMAN: RHP Luis Sanz has been moved back into the closer role where he began the season and the move seems to have paid off for the hard-throwing righty. In his last four appearances, Sanz has converted on four save tries and not allowed a run (4.0 IP) while striking out six. He's six-for-six in save tries this season.
JOLTIN JAREK CUNNINGHAM: Second baseman Jarek Cunningham crushed his 14th home run of the season on Thursday night to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning and help lift the Curve to a win. His 14 home runs now are tied for the league and team lead with the departed Andrew Lambo, who had 14 before his promotion to Triple-A. His 14 home runs are one shy of his career-high of 15, which was set during the 2011 season with High-A Braden- ton. He accomplished that feat in just 80 games that season.
KING FOR A DAY (OR THREE): Curve skipper Carlos Garcia will not be with the team this weekend as he is attending the graduation of his son from high school.
NO JUNE SWOON: Altoona is riding a season-high, eight-game winning streak and also won four games in a row ear- lier in the month. The Curve are now 12-3 in the month of June, which is now the winningest month of the season, surpassing April's 11 victories. During the current run, Altoona has out-scored their opponents 41-17. In the month of June, Altoona has posted its best team batting average thus far for any month, batting .273 through the first 15 games. The club hit .231 in April (25 games) and .230 in May (30 games).
WE LOVE THE EIGHTIES: Altoona's eight-game win streak is the longest of the 2013 season and is the longest streak since the 2010 Eastern League Champion Curve won eight straight from May 20-26, 2010. The longest win- ning streak in franchise history is 10 games, set back in 2005 (July 24 - August 2).
LET'S GET IT STARTED: Altoona's starters allowed just four earned runs in the six-game homestand at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Casey Sadler tossed six scoreless on Friday night, Nick Kingham 5.2 scoreless on Saturday, Jameson Taillon allowed one unearned run in five innings on Sunday, David Bromberg tossed seven shutout on Tuesday before Eliecer Navarro allowed one earned run on Wednesday. Sadler came back around and was charged with three on Thursday. All told, it was four earned runs allowed (six runs total) in 36 innings.
DAZZLING DEBUTS: Eliecer Navarro became the third player in the last
week to turn in a great Double-A debut. The left-hander re-joined
Polanco and Nick Kingham, all of whom began the season with the Braden-
ton Marauders. Navarro went six innings scattering four hits and allowing
two runs only one of which was earned. He issued a pair of free passes and
has not issued more than two walks in any of his starts so far this season.