Locke Shines in Homecoming, Curve Top Portland 1-0
PORTLAND, Maine - Altoona Curve southpaw Jeff Locke, pitching 45 minutes from his hometown of North Conway, New Hampshire tossed one of the best games of his young career hurling a Double-A high seven shutout innings while striking out eight batters and scattering three hits while nearly 1,000 supporters from his hometown cheered him and the Altoona Curve on to a 1-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday night at Hadlock Field..
The win propels Altoona (71-51) to 20 games over .500 for the first time since July 19 while the Curve improve their August record to 11-5. Altoona also improves to 5-0 this year against Portland.
It is the first time Locke had hurled seven innings in his Double-A career and the first time since May 16 at Dunedin while pitching for the Bradenton Marauders. It is also the first win for Locke since his won his Double-A debut on July 16 at Harrisburg.
While Locke pitched extremely well, Portland starter Blake Maxwell was equally as good. After allowing a pair of two-out singles, Maxwell would retire the final 16 batters he faced over 6.0 shutout innings. Maxwell departed and gave way to Eammon Portis, who tossed 1.1 innings of perfect relief before facing Curve catcher Hector Gimenez.
Twenty consecutive Curve hitters had been retired before Gimenez, with one out in the top of the eighth inning, broke the string with a double to right-center field. Gimenez would move to third on a Yung-Chi Chen base hit to left, placing runners at the corners. Anthony Norman, who came to the plate just one for his last 42 would muscle a bloop base hit to shallow right-center field to allow Gimenez to trot home to score the game's first - and only run.
Following Locke's seven stellar innings, Michael Dubee came on to hurl two perfect innings of relief to notch his fourth save of the season and preserve the win for Locke and the Curve.
Altoona will look for the season series sweep against the Sea Dogs (58-63) on Thursday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. RHP Bryan Morris (6-4, 4.25) will toe the rubber for Altoona while RHP Kyle Weiland (5-7, 4.28) opposes for Portland. Airtime on flagship radio station ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and Altoona Curve Radio Network affiliates begins at 11:30 a.m.
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