BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Kyle McPherson's season debut went well.
McPherson, the Pirates' 2011 minor league pitcher of the year who was sidelined this season with a shoulder injury, drove in as many runs at the plate as he allowed on the mound in his first appearance of the year. Behind McPherson's strong start, the Curve cruised to a 7-1 win over Binghamton on Saturday night at NYSEG Stadium.
The 6-foot-4 right hander was very effective in five innings as he surrendered just one run on four hits, struck out five and walked one. McPherson also helped his own cause in the second inning with an RBI sacrifice fly.
Last season, McPherson (1-0) started the season at high-A Bradenton - where he went 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA - before being promoted to Altoona in June. The 24-year-old appeared in 16 games for the Curve and went 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 89 1/3 innings.
It's likely McPherson, who threw 66 pitches (47 strikes), would have started this season with Triple-A Indianapolis if not for his shoulder issue.
Today: Altoona at Binghamton, 1:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Shairon Martis (4-2, 3.67) vs. B-Mets RHP Greg Peavey (3-2, 5.04)
The Curve's offense gave McPherson plenty of run support, putting a three-spot on the scoreboard in both the second and fourth innings.
Altoona's three fourth-inning runs came via back-to-back home runs from Jeremy Farrell and Evan Chambers. Miles Durham led off the frame with a single, and he scored when Farrell blasted a ball over the wall in left field. Chambers then hit a home run of his own on the third pitch he saw to make it 6-0.
It was Chambers' first home run as a member of the Curve, and it was the first time since June 2, 2011 the team hit back-to-back homers (Quincy Latimore and Jordy Mercer did it against Trenton).
Though only three of them went for extra bases, the Curve pounded out 12 hits, with 10 of them coming off of B-Mets starter Darin Gorski. Six of Altoona's seven runs were charged to Gorski (4-4), who went five innings.
Brock Holt, Ramon Cabrera, Farrell and Chambers all had multi-hit games, and the foursome was a combined 10-for-17 with five RBIs.
Mike Colla pitched three innings in relief of McPherson, before Vic Black came on for the ninth. Neither reliever allowed a run, and each had two strikeouts.
Key player: 1B Jeremy Farrell was 3-for-4 with a two-run home run.
Key play: RF Evan Chambers followed Farrell's fourth-inning homer with one of his own to put the Curve ahead, 6-0.
Key stat: RHP Kyle McPherson allowed just one run in five innings in his first appearance since Sept. 4, 2011.
How they scored
Top 2nd: Cabrera singled, scored on Chambers double (1-0); Farrell singled, scored on Brown sacrifice fly (2-0); McPherson sacrifice fly scored Chambers (3-0).
Top 4th: Cabrera singled, scored on Farrell two-run homer (5-0); Chambers solo homer (6-0).
Bottom 4th: Martin walked, scored on Sandoval single (6-1).
Top 7th: Durham doubled, scored on Cabrera single (7-1).