Kyle Bloom was getting ahead of himself.
He had shut down Erie for nearly six full innings, but the seams appeared to be unraveling after the southpaw induced a second out in the fifth.
A pair of hits, a trip from Dean Treanor and a full-count breaking ball later, Bloom walked off the mound and into the dugout unscathed.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Curve pitcher Kyle Bloom tossed six shutout innings.
The left-hander had completed his strongest outing of the season, as he struck out seven and surrendered just three hits in the Curve's 1-0 win over Erie on Wednesday.
"For the first time, I slowed down," Bloom said. "I think since I've gotten here I've been trying to be way too aggressive, kind of force some things. Tonight I finally said, 'You know what, let your stuff work. Slow down.' And when I did that, it seemed like everything clicked."
Aside from a two-walk second, Bloom (2-4) was seemingly flawless through the first 5 2/3 innings.
Today: Erie at Altoona, 12:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Yoslan Herrera (4-0, 4.05) vs. RHP Ramon Garcia (0-0, 2.31)
He then gave up back-to-back singles to Alex Avila and Ryan Strieby and was 82 pitches deep, prompting a visit from Treanor, his pitching coach.
"He just wanted to come out and express how we had touched them the whole night, let me catch a breath," said Bloom, who followed Treanor's chat by throwing three straight balls to Casper Wells. "I jumped out 3-0 because again, I was rushing. I was trying to do too much."
Wells fouled off the next two pitches, setting up a 3-2 serving inside that the second baseman couldn't resist.
"Finally I was like, 'Alright, slow down again,'" Bloom said. "And 3-2 breaking ball, I went with it because it was working all night, and so I stuck with my guns and it worked out."
A check-swing and an appeal to first-base umpire Travis Hatch affirmed Bloom's night and calmed the nerves of 3,127 fans at Blair County Ballpark.
"It was huge. It was great," Curve manager Matt Walbeck said. "You could tell he was getting a little bit tired, but he managed to get it done, so it was good."
Sean Smith closed the door on the SeaWolves' bats over the last three innings, allowing just one hit and picking up his seventh save.
Little did either pitcher know at the time just how significant their outings would be.
Pedro Alvarez's RBI double off Thad Weber (1-2) with two outs in the first proved to be the only support the Curve arms would get.
It didn't matter to Bloom.
"Obviously there's less mistakes you can make," he said of pitching with a 1-0 lead, "but tonight I just felt like I was in control of the game the whole night."
Key player: LHP Kyle Bloom was phenomenal, striking out seven in six shutout innings.
Key play: DH Pedro Alvarez's RBI double in the first drove home Jose Tabata for the game's only run and extended his hitting streak to six games.
Key stat: Erie had just four hits on Wednesday after recording 17 on Tuesday.
LHP Shawn Nottingham, who was placed on the DL with a left ankle sprain on June 23, was released on July 3. Nottingham was 0-1 with an 8.37 ERA in 26 games with the Curve this season.