From Mirror reports
READING - The Curve belted home runs early and often, an odd formula for success for the club, and stayed hot with their fifth straight win Monday night.
Adalberto Santos smacked two of Altoona's four home runs in a 7-1 win over Reading at FirstEnergy Stadium. Santos and Matt Curry hit back-to-back blasts in the first inning, then Santos and Ramon Cabrera each hit a two-run homer in the fifth as the visitors blew it open.
The Curve entered the night ranked last in the Eastern League with only 55 home runs in their first 100 games. Santos had no homers in his first 27 Double-A games before busting out in a big way Monday.
The five straight wins have the Curve back to within a game of .500 (50-51) for the fourth time in the past few weeks. They've lost the first three chances they've had a chance to get back to the break-even mark for the first time since they were 5-5 back on April 16.
The Curve also continue to make a late-season push in the Western Division standings. They remain next to last in the division but are just two games behind Richmond for a playoff spot.
Tonight: Altoona at Reading, 7:05 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve LHP Kris Johnson (0-0, 2.33) vs. R-Phils LHP Mario Hollands (2-4, 5.30)
Kyle McPherson (3-4) turned in a superb outing on the mound for the Curve, holding Reading to a run on three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in five innings. The right-hander has had his struggles after starting the season two months late because of a shoulder injury, but he has found his groove recently with 16 strikeouts in 10 innings over his past two starts.
Reading starter Trevor May (7-8) gave up six runs - four earned - and all four Curve homers in five innings to take the loss.
Santos went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and the two homers, while Cabrera was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and one long ball. Those two accounted for six of the Curve's nine hits.
Altoona will turn to lefty Kris Johnson tonight to try and get back to .500. The veteran just rejoined the club from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Key player: RF Adalberto Santos hit two homers, drove in three and went 3-for-5 for the Curve.
Key play: Santos and 1B Matt Curry hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, and Santos and C Ramon Cabrera each hit two-run homers in the fifth.
Key stat: The Curve had only 55 home runs, last in the EL, before ripping four Monday.
How they scored
Top 1st: Santos solo homer (1-0); Curry solo homer (2-0).
Bottom 2nd: Ruf solo homer (2-1).
Top 5th: Grossman walked, scored on Santos two-run homer (4-1); Latimore singled, scored on Cabrera two-run homer (6-1).
Top 7th: Holt doubled, scored on Cabrera single (7-1).