Curve Slip in Seventh against Squirrels in Series Opener
CURVE, Pa. - The Richmond Flying Squirrels tagged the Altoona Curve bullpen for three runs in the seventh inning to claim the series opener, 6-3, at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday.
The Curve (7-6) have now lost four of their last five and fell three games behind the Flying Squirrels (11-4) in the Western Division standings.
Tied 3-3 in the seventh, Richmond sent eight batters to the plate and scored three times against Curve reliever Bret Helton (Loss, 1-1). Luigi Rodriguez broke the tie with an RBI single to right followed by a two-run double by Ryan Howard that went over the head of center fielder Jason Martin as the Flying Squirrels took a three-run lead.
Richmond jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two turns at the plate tanks to a two-run home run by Miguel Garcia in the first and a solo shot by Dylan Davis to lead off the second off Altoona starter Brandon Waddell. Those two homers were the first two this season surrendered by an Altoona starting pitcher.
Waddell settled in and faced the minimum for the remainder of his start after he issued a walk to Matt Lipka after the homer by Davis. Waddell turned in his second quality start of the season by working his way through six innings and allowed three runs. He also walked a pair and struck out three.
The Curve scored three runs in the third to tie the game at three. Waddell started the rally with a leadoff walk at the plate against Richmond starter Garrett Williams. Stephen Alemais delivered an RBI groundout, Ke'Bryan Hayes drove in the second run on a single followed by a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Wyatt Mathisen.
Altoona forced Richmond to make an early move to the bullpen in the third but stranded seven batters through the first four innings. They did not record a hit after Alemais collected his second hit of the game with two outs in the fourth. The Flying Squirrels bullpen held Altoona to one hit over 6.2 scoreless innings led by Dusten Knight (Win, 1-0) and Caleb Simpson (Save, 4).
Jesus Liranzo finished the game on the mound for Altoona with two perfect innings in relief in his home debut as a member of the Curve.
The Curve continue their three-game against the Flying Squirrels on Saturday. Pirates top prospect Mitch Keller (1-0, 0.77), will get the start for Altoona, with right-hander Cory Taylor (2-0, 4.00) taking the hill for Richmond.
The first 1,000 fans through the gate on Saturday will receive the Andrew McCutchen 20th Season Fans' Choice All-Time Curve Team bobblehead, presented by Nuts for You. First pitch at PNG Field is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 3 p.m.
For tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office.
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