Throughout the Curve's eight-game losing streak, their bullpen blew four late-inning leads.
With the Curve in front by four runs Wednesday, Nathan Baker entered the game in the fifth inning and made the lead stick. Baker allowed just one unearned run in the final 3 1/3 innings of the game as the Curve snapped their eight-game skid as they downed Bowie, 7-4, before 6,160 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
It was the Curve's first win since July 29th, and the eight-game losing streak was the team's longest slide of the season.
The Curve's bullpen had a combined ERA near 11.00 on their road trip last week, and after coughing up a four-run advantage Monday, the relievers had a meeting Tuesday in the sixth inning of the team's game with Bowie. Baker said it was about having guys step up to finish games, which seemed to resonate with him Wednesday.
"We'd been struggling a little bit, and that's one thing we've had that's gone really well, we've had a great bullpen all year," Baker said. "Every team is going to struggle and we hit that adversity, and we're finally over it. Hopefully we'll just bounce back."
In total, Baker allowed one run on two hits and walked four batters in 3 1/3 innings. Baker relieved starter Tyler Waldron, who made his Double-A debut and gave the Curve what they needed - a solid start.
Tonight: Bowie at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Kris Johnson (0-1, 2.45) vs. Baysox LHP Rick Zagone (3-2, 3.51)
Waldron, who had been with High-A Bradenton since the start of the year - went 5 2/3 innings and left the game with the Curve in front, 7-3. Waldron (1-0) did surrender three home runs, but they were all solo shots, and the right hander struck out three batters and walked one while making 75 pitches (51 strikes).
"[Giving up homers] is going to happen to everybody," Baker said. "But he was tremendous. He went out there and he kept us in the ballgame the entire time."
The Curve's offense gave Waldron plenty of support early.
After a run in both the first and second innings, the Curve put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the third. Quincy Latimore had a two-run double and Charlie Cutler drove in another pair with a single in the four-run frame as the Curve stretched their lead to five runs.
Drew Maggi had a great night both with his bat and his glove.
At the plate Maggi was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI triple in addition to two walks. On the field, Maggi was the key factor in what is arguably the Curve's best defensive play of the season.
With one out and runners on first and second, former major leaguer Josh Barfield sent a hard hit grounder to the left side. Maggi dove to make a play on the ball and then threw to second base from his knees to get an out. Second baseman Oscar Tejeda made the turn and got Barfield by a step at first base to complete the twin killing.
"I just reacted I guess," Maggi said. "The guy hit it pretty hard, so that's why I think we had time to turn two. Oscar made a great turn over there and I just got a good beat on it and was able to make a play."
After the game, Curve manager P.J. Forbes said there are always signature plays that happen in games that end losing skids. He noted Maggi's diving stop and the turn was that play in his eyes.
"When one of these streaks stops, there's always one play in the game, the double play from Maggi to Tejeda, without that who knows," Forbes said. "You got to have that one play, and we got it tonight. And it's nice to get that monkey off your back."
Key player: SS Drew Maggi was 2-for-3 with an RBI and also made the play of the game in the seventh inning.
Key play: The aforementioned play made by Maggi came when he made a diving stop on a hard-hit grounder. Maggi then made the throw to second from his knees and 2B Oscar Tejeda made the turn and completed the double play.
Key stat: The Curve won Wednesday for the first time since July 29.
How they scored
Bottom 1st: Maggi doubled, scored on Curry sacrifice fly (1-0).
Bottom 2nd: Cutler hit by pitch, scored on Maggi triple (2-0).
Top 3rd: Wheeler solo homer (2-1).
Bottom 3rd: Curry singled, Tejeda singles, both score on Latimore double (4-1); Welch walked, scored along with Latimore on Cutler single (6-1).
Bottom 4th: Cabrera singled, scored on Tejeda double (7-1).
Top 5th: Machado solo homer (7-2); Joseph solo homer (7-3).
Top 9th: Widlansky singled, scored on Tejeda error (7-4).