The Curve were a game below .500 on Friday morning. They ended the day a game above the break-even mark.
With a doubleheader sweep of New Hampshire on Friday night before 4,508 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field, the Curve bettered their record to 52-51 on the season. It's the first time they've been above .500 since April 10 when they were 3-2.
Phil Irwin was dominant on the mound in game one as the Curve edged New Hampshire 1-0. Matt Curry celebrated his 24th birthday in style with a three-run home run in the second game, which the Curve won 8-1.
The two-game sweep by the Curve makes it six straight wins in doubleheader games for the team - all coming in the span of a week. The success in twinbills is something new for the Curve, who were 2-10 in their first 12 doubleheader games, before their current winning streak.
In their last 11 games, the Curve are 9-2, and it has a lot to do with their pitching staff. Opponents are averaging just 1.1 runs per game against the Curve in that stretch.
Irwin and fellow righty Brandon Cumpton kept the trend of good pitching going, as both provided quality starts.
Tonight: New Hampshire at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Kyle McPherson (3-4, 4.19) vs. Fisher Cats RHP Deck McGuire (4-11, 6.16)
In the first game, Irwin allowed only three base runners - two hits and one walk - and his nine strikeouts were a season high.
Irwin has completely turned his season around in his last six starts. After compiling an 0-5 record and 5.28 ERA in his first eight starts, Irwin has gone 3-2 with a 1.07 ERA in his last six outings.
"I think the fact that he's been able to have the confidence to go to his breaking ball earlier in the game," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said last Saturday about Irwin. "He's not so exclusive with his fastball early on, using all his weapons early. [He] has kept them off his fastball."
New Hampshire's starter Yohan Pino also had a solid start in the first game, and he matched Irwin with nine strikeouts. However, Pino (5-6) allowed an RBI single to Stefan Welch in the second inning, which was the difference in a speedy game one that lasted one hour and 33 minutes.
Game two started after a 43-minute rain delay, and the Curve had plenty more offense.
Both teams exchanged runs in the first inning, and after a scoreless second, Curry's homer to left-center field put the Curve ahead for good. It was the only hit Curry had on the night, but he managed to drive in a total of four runs.
The Curve added one run in each the fourth and fifth innings, before tacking on two more in the sixth. Adalberto Santos, Quincy Latimore, Oscar Tejeda and Drew Maggi all had one RBI apiece in the game.
The offensive outpour was more than enough behind Cumpton, who went six innings. Cumpton (10-8) allowed one run on five hits while recording three strikeouts, and he is the first Curve pitcher to reach double digits in the win column this year.
John Stilson (2-3) surrendered five runs on seven hits in four innings for New Hampshire, and was saddled with the loss.
Key player: RHP Phil Irwin pitched a seven-inning, complete game shutout in game one. Irwin allowed just two hits and struck out nine batters.
Key play: 1B Matt Curry hit a three-run homer in the third inning of the second game to put give the Curve a 4-1 lead.
Key stat: The Curve are above .500 for the first time since April 10, when they were 3-2.
How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Tejeda singled, scored on Welch single (1-0).
Top 1st: Tolisano singled, scored on McDade single (0-1).
Bottom 1st: Holt singled, scored on Curry groundout (1-1).
Bottom 3rd: Holt singled, Latimore walked, both scored on Curry three-run homer (4-1).
Bottom 4th: Cutler singled, scored on Maggi sacrifice fly (5-1).
Bottom 5th: Tejeda hit by pitch, scored on Tejeda single (6-1).
Bottom 6th: Holt singled, scored on Santos triple (7-1); Latimore double scored Santos (8-1).