From Mirror reports
RICHMOND, Va. - One swing by Richmond and one costly double play doomed the Curve on Saturday night.
Johnny Monell belted a homer in the fourth inning to account for all the offense as the Flying Squirrels edged Altoona, 1-0, before 7,759 fans at The Diamond.
The Curve had a chance to avoid the tough-luck loss in the eighth inning but hit into a huge double play.
Kelson Brown singled, Robbie Grossman walked and Brock Holt singled to load the bases with one out. Jarek Cunningham, who had a tough night with strikeouts his first three times up, bounced into an inning-ending double play to kill the rally.
The loss spoiled a strong performance by Curve right-hander Brandon Cumpton, who bounced back from a rough Double-A debut. Cumpton held Richmond to one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out four with one walk.
Today: Altoona at Richmond, 2:05 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP?Aaron?Pribanic (0-1, 2.70) vs. Flying Squirrels RHP?Justin?Fitzgerald (0-1, 5.59)
Cumpton (0-2) had given up five runs in 4 1/3 innings his first time out against Erie, but he still picked up the loss despite his strong performance Saturday.
Richmond starter Michael Kickham (1-0) was even better, blanking the Curve on three hits for six innings, striking out six with three walks.
The Curve finally got something going in the eighth against reliever Austin Fleet as they loaded the bases with one out. Daryl Maday, a starter last season for the Flying Squirrels, came on in relief and got out of the jam by inducing Cunningham's double play.
Maday finished it off in the ninth for his third save.
The Curve outhit Richmond, 7-5, and drew five walks but could not come up with big hits in the clutch. The club went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and that lone hit - Holt's single in the eighth - only moved Brown from second to third.
Holt, Brown and Tony Sanchez had two hits apiece for the Curve, who wrap up a four-game series this afternoon before heading to Harrisburg.
One big bright spot for Altoona was that it played its second straight game without an error. The Curve led the Eastern League with 13 errors entering Friday's game but are now tied for second behind New Hampshire (17).
Key player: Richmond C Johnny Monell hit a solo homer for the game's only run.
Key play: Monell's homer, and Curve 2B Jarek Cunningham hitting into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Key stat: The Curve have played two games in a row without an error, a big step for a team that has struggled defensively.
How they scored
Bottom 4th: Monell solo homer (0-1).