From Mirror reports
READING - Phil Irwin bent against the R-Phils on Thursday, but he didn't break.
Reading had a runner on third with less than two outs in the third, fourth and sixth innings, but Irwin got himself out of each jam in the Curve's 7-1 win at FirstEnergy Stadium. The contest was the rubber match in a three-game set and started 1 hour and 3 minutes late due to a rain delay.
The Curve had an offensive outburst in the eighth, scoring six runs, but every time Irwin got out of trouble, the game was knotted at 1-1. Though he doesn't get credit for a win, Irwin still had a solid outing, going six innings and allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out two.
Reading had runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, but Irwin got Darin Ruf - the Eastern League's RBI leader - to ground into an inning-ending double play. Irwin then dug his deepest hole in the sixth as he loaded the bases with one out, but Leandro Castro grounded out and Irwin struck out Jiwan James to escape the threat unscathed.
Altoona only had three hits in the eighth, but the team took advantage of two Reading errors and five of its six runs came with two outs in the frame. Brock Holt had the hit that broke things open, as his single scored both Anthony Norman and Elevys Gonzalez, and Greg Picart also came home on the play thanks to a throwing error by the left fielder Castro.
Tonight: Altoona at Akron, 7:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Nathan Baker (3-6, 5.40) vs. Aeros RHP Paolo Espino (0-2, 3.43)
Holt was one of four Curve batters to have a two-hit performance, as Jarek Cunningham, Quincy Latimore and Jeremy Farrell all followed suit.
All six runs in the eighth were charged to Reading reliever Colby Shreve (0-1), but only one of the runs was earned. R-Phils starter Austin Hyatt did strike out seven in six innings while giving up one run, but his effort was wasted.
Jhonathan Ramos (2-0) relieved Irwin in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning to pick up a win. Kris Harvey closed things out with three strikeouts in two innings.
Key player: SS Brock Holt was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Key play: Holt drove home two runs with a single in the eighth, and an error also allowed pinch-hitter Greg Picart to score on the play.
Key stat: The Curve are 5-2 in their last seven games.
How they scored
Top 1st: Holt walked, scored on Latimore single (1-0).
Bottom 2nd: Tripp solo homer (1-1)
Top 8th: Cunningham singled, scored on Farrell single (2-1); Durham intentionally walked, scored along with Farrell on Ruf error (4-1); Norman reached fielder's choice, Gonzalez reached on error, both scored on Holt single (6-1); Picart walked, scored on Castro error (7-1).