Prior to this season, Tony Beasley was the third base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates for three years. But in 2004 and 2005, he was managing the Curve to 151 wins.
So, it was kind of weird for him to return Blair County Ballpark Monday night as the Harrisburg Senators' manager.
"It's kind of different being in the visiting clubhouse," Beasley said with a smile. "You spend two years on the other side, but this is where I'm at now. I'm happy and content with where I'm at now. I'm just taking one day at a time and doing the best that I can to help these players develop and become big-leaguers."
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Jordy Mercer homered for the Curve in the fourth inning.
What made the return even more pleasureable for Beasley was his team beating the Curve, 6-2, thanks to 11 hits, including five extra-base hits, a two-RBI game from No. 8 hitter Devin Ivany and a couple of superb defensive plays by center fielder Jonathan Tucker.
"They guys came out, played well, and it's always good to win a ball game," Beasley said. "That's what we're here for, so I'm proud of the way the guys played tonight. We've got a mixture of a little bit of everything. Tonight, we were fortunate to get some pitches that we could drive, hit some balls in the gaps and our guys run the bases hard."
Beasley's return didn't draw a crowd. The announced attendance at BCB was 2,106, but many of those fans were disguised as empty seats owned by season ticket holders. Still, he got to visit with a lot of people.
Tonight: Harrisburg at Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve LHP Jeff Locke (0-2, 1.93) vs. Senators RHP Erik Davis (0-0, 0.00)
"I've seen quite a few fans that I knew, and, obviously, players and coaches from the other side I know very well," Beasley said. "I was even able to see [Pirates president] Frank Coonelly and Kyle Stark, the farm director. So, I got to see some people who are dear to me, and it's a good experience to catch up with some old friends and, in the best of both worlds, get a chance to win a ball game."
The game was scoreless going into the fourth, but Tyler Moore pounded a leadoff triple off of starting pitcher Bryan Morris. It was the first of three triples by the Senators and five combined by the teams.
After Bill Rhinehart walked, Jesus Valdez doubled to right field to chase Moore home. Morris struck out Tim Pahuta, but Ivany stroked a single to right field, scoring Rhinehart. Valdez initially stopped at third, but right fielder Eric Fryer stumbled on the play, allowing the Senator to score.
"In that situation, you can't let him beat you with the pitcher on-deck," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said. "I don't think Bryan got that breaking ball where he wanted to, so we've just got to execute better in that situation."
The Curve's No. 3 hitter Jordy Mercer, who sat out Sunday's game with Richmond with a shoulder injury, looked pretty healthy in his second at-bat, a leadoff home run over the left field bleachers in the bottom of the fourth off of starter Brad Meyers.
"I expect him to give us a good AB [at-bat] every time up," Forbes said. "He had a good swing, but he had a chance early in the game to put a run on the board, and we didn't do it."
Morris pitched the first four innings before giving way to the bullpen. Relievers Tim Alderson and Mike Colla worked three scoreless innings, and Alderson wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. but the Senators got to sidearmer Noah Krol in the eighth.
After Pahuta singled, Ivany doubled to left field for the first of three runs. Curve third baseman Jeremy Farrell made two fantastic stops, including one for the second out of the eighth. But Josh Johnson tripled to deep center to chase Ivany home, and Johnson scored on a wild pitch.
"I thought they did OK," Forbes said of the bullpen. "We weren't as good as we've been, but that's going to happen."
The Curve's final run came on Tucker's second gem. After Miles Durham tripled to lead off the ninth, Quincy Latimore hit a shot to deep center, where Tucker tracked it down, gloved and ran into the wall, briefly opening the door that Al Tuna appears from to celebrate Curve runs. Durham scored on the sacrifice fly, but another triple was wiped away with the catch.
"That's Tucker's thing," Beasley said. "He's made countless plays already in other places like that. Tonight, he made two really nice plays for us. He took two hits away from them tonight, no doubt about it."
Key player: Senator No. 8 hitter Devin Ivany went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and another run scored on his first hit when right fielder Eric Fryer fell down.
Key play: Ivany's first hit scored two runs.
Key stat: Of Harrisburg's first nine hits, five were extra-base hits, and three of them were triples.
How they scored
Top 4th: Moore doubled, scored on Valdez double. Rhinehart walked, scored on Ivany single. Valdez scored when right fielder Fryer fell down on Ivany single.
Bottom 4th: Mercer homered.
Top 8th: Pahuta single, scored on Ivany double. Johnson triple scored Ivany. Johnson scored on Krol wild pitch.