LEADING OFF: RHP Vic Black saved his third game Thursday and lowered his ERA to 1.80, but it wasn't easy. Black walked two and gave up a single to load the bases in the ninth, but he escaped the jam by getting 3B Manny Mayorson to fly out to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the game. "I love the pressure, but I'd rather not exert it at all points," Black said with a smile about closing games.
SAFE AT FIRST: Black and RHP Duke Welker formed a dynamite duo at the back end of the bullpen, but Welker is now gone. That leaves Black as the big arm in the late innings. He throws 96-97 mph and, just like Welker, projects as a late-inning bullpen guy at the big league level. "Ever since I've been here, I'm loving going every other day with [Welker] or setting up for him the day he gets to close," Black said. "That just fits the style, I think, for both of us - the aggression there."
STEALING SECOND: Shairon Martis (3-0) gave up three runs on five hits in six innings to get the win for the Curve, while Harrisburg starter Robert Gilliam (1-5) took the loss after allowing five runs in the first.
ROUNDING THIRD: RHP Jeff Inman joined the Curve from Single-A Bradenton and made his Double-A debut Thursday, giving up one run while pitching the eighth inning. Inman, 25, was a 12th-round draft pick in 2009 but has been plagued by injuries in his career. Coming into this season, he had appeared in only 17 professional games (11 starts). He made six relief appearances for Bradenton this year, giving up just one unearned run in 9 2/3 innings.
HEADING HOME: RHP Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, could be getting close to joining the Curve from Bradenton. Cole pitched five shutout innings Wednesday, allowing four hits, and is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in nine starts for the Marauders. He's got 46 strikeouts to 13 walks and is holding hitters to a .200 batting average.
- Cory Giger