NOTE: Be sure to check the video links to the right for reaction after the game.
Miles Durham ended the longest home game in Curve history in thrilling fashion Friday night -- um, make that Saturday morning.
Durham drilled a solo homer to left field with one out in the 19th inning to give the Curve a 4-3 win over New Hampshire at Blair County Ballpark. The game ended at 12:52 a.m.
It was clear when the ball left Durham's bat that it had a chance to leave the yard, and it did so in the left-center field gap.
The Curve players stormed out of the dugout onto the field as if they had won a championship. (Note: To see video of Durham and manager Matt Walbeck discussing the historic win, go to altoonamirror.com.)
It was not the longest game in team history. They played a complete 19-inning game at Norwich on July 13, 2000. Altoona won that road game, so the entire bottom of the 19th inning was completed, making it a hair longer than Friday's game.
It sure was some Friday the 13th.
"You know it's a long game when you're still playing baseball when 'David Letterman' begins," Curve broadcaster Dan Zangrilli said.
Public address announcer Rich DeLeo had an even better line as play approached midnight.
"We've got some more birthdays to announce," he deadpanned with reference to the date change.
The Norwich contest lasted 6 hours, 17 minutes. Friday's game was 5 hours, 49 minutes.
The lateness of the contest caused the postgame fireworks to be canceled. The show has been rescheduled for tonight.
The Curve had the bases loaded with two outs in the 16th inning, but Jordy Mercer struck out looking on a 3-2 curveball by Boomer Potts.
Earlier Friday, the Pirates sent former first-round draft pick Daniel Moskos back to the Curve from Triple-A Indianapolis, where he had struggled the past few weeks.
Moskos dominated out of the Curve bullpen earlier this season, posting a 1.45 ERA and 17 saves in 18 tries. His stat lines were impressive across the board as he struck out 30 with only nine walks and held opposing hitters to a .191 average.
Moskos' stats in Triple-A were anything but impressive.
The lefty had a 10.38 ERA in 19 games, going 0-5 with 20 walks to 18 strikeouts. He was battered around at a .351 clip by opposing hitters.
The evening featured a controversial home run call and a spectacular game-saving catch. Play was tied from the fifth inning on, when Altoona scored to pull even after falling behind 3-0 in the third.
New Hampshire center fielder Darin Mastroianni made the terrific grab to end the 10th inning and keep play going.
Anthony Norman drilled a high fly ball to right-center, with Mastroianni and right fielder Adam Loewen both giving chase.
The two weren't at a full sprint but were pretty close when they collided on the warning track, and somehow Mastroianni managed to hang on to the ball. Miles Durham would have scored the winning run from first had Mastroianni not made the grab.
The two Fisher Cat outfielders were slow to get up but ran off the field on their own power and remained in the game. As Curve left fielder Andrew Lambo passed them going to his position, he tipped his cap to recognize the great play.
The controversial home run call came in the third inning and gave the Fisher Cats a 3-0 lead. Eric Thames smacked a shot to left field with a runner on, and the ball hit at the top of the wall before caroming back into the field of play.
Third base umpire Matt Cunningham ruled it was a home run. Lambo jogged in from left field to argue, and manager Matt Walbeck disputed the call.
The umpires met for a minute on the infield and decided to stick with the call.
Was it a home run?
A few fans sitting in the left field bleachers where the ball landed confirmed it did go over the fence. There's a yellow padding on top of the fence, then a very small opening and a green wall that's part of the bleachers. Fans sitting directly on top of the play said the ball sailed over the yellow and hit the green wall, causing it to bounce back.
Tempers flared a bit in the third inning when Lambo was hit in the buttocks by a pitch from Zach Stewart. Lambo stared down the pitcher, and the umpires warned both benches.
To make room on the roster for Moskos, right-hander Ramon Aguero was placed on the disabled list with back tightness. Aguero has struggled mightily, posting a 9.77 ERA and 2-4 record in 14 relief appearances.
SUBHD: How they scored
Top 3rd: Mastroianni singled, scored on Hechavarria double (0-1); Thames two-run homer scored Hechavarria (0-3).
Bottom 4th: Mercer singled, scored on Chen fielder's choice (1-3); Durham singled, scored on Negrych single (2-3).
Bottom 5th: Lambo walked, scored on Mercer groundout (3-3).
Bottom 19th: Durham solo homer (4-3).