RICHMOND, Va. - This was expected to be a high-powered Curve offense, but that hasn't been the case so far this season.
Altoona endured a second straight lackluster offensive performance Sunday in a 3-1 loss to Richmond before 7,691 fans at The Diamond. Altoona, now 4-5, has been held to one run three times and been shut out once.
A lack of clutch hitting has hurt the Curve in close losses the past two days.
They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position during Saturday's 1-0 loss, and Sunday they were 1-for-12. None of those 23 at-bats produced an RBI hit, with both of the team's runs the past two days coming on groundouts.
Altoona stranded 10 runners on base Sunday after leaving eight on the bases Saturday.
Richmond scored a run in the second inning and another in the fifth off Curve starter Aaron Pribanic. Altoona was blanked until the seventh, then got a leadoff double from Quincy Latimore in that inning.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve now head to Harrisburg for a three-game series. The Senators are off to a good start at 7-4 and are averaging 5.2 runs, compared to Altoona's average of 3.2.
SAFE AT FIRST: The Curve's offensive struggles are in large part a result of slow starts. Of the club's 29 runs, only seven have come in the first three innings.
STEALING SECOND: Altoona's pitching staff has been solid, allowing only four runs in its past 25 innings (1.44 ERA).
ROUNDING THIRD: SS Brock Holt is the only member of the team who has reached base safely in all nine games. He's collected a hit in six of those and walked in three.
HEADING HOME: Richmond RHP Justin Fitzgerald struggled against the Curve last season, going 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five starts. He was much better Sunday, earning the win with five shutout innings.
- Cory Giger
Adalberto Santos hit a one-out single that moved Latimore to third. That brought up Brock Holt, who bounced to first and barely beat out the return throw on a double play attempt, with Latimore scoring on the play.
The Curve put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the eighth but couldn't bring it home as Latimore struck out and Kelson Brown grounded out.
Richmond added an insurance run in the eighth to make it 3-1, and the Curve went down quietly in the ninth to drop the series, three games to one.
Pribanic (0-2) allowed two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
Justin Fitzgerald (1-1) won for Richmond, tossing five shutout innings and giving up three hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Brett Bochy pitched the ninth for his first save.
Key player: Richmond RHP Justin Fitzgerald pitched five shutout innings, allowing only three hits.
Key play: SS Ehire Adrianza's RBI single in the fifth gave the Flying Squirrels a 2-0 lead.
Key stat: In their nine games, the Curve have scored one run three times and been shut out once.
How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Dominguez singled, scored on Hodges groundout (0-1).
Bottom 5th: Cavan walked, scored on Adrianza single (0-2).
Top 7th: Latimore doubled, scored on Holt groundout (1-2).
Bottom 8th: Dominguez walked, scored on Mayora single (1-3).