PORTLAND, Maine - It's now nine straight road losses for the Curve, who once again are playing themselves out of playoff contention with their inability to avoid collapsing away from home.
Portland shut out Altoona, 1-0, Wednesday at Hadlock Field, dropping the Curve to 3-15 in one-run games on the road. That statistic reveals one telling aspect: The club is good enough to compete against anybody but not good enough to figure out how to get over the hump away from home.
The Curve are now 21-39 on the road, moving one loss closer to the worst record in franchise history in that category. The 2001 team went 25-45 on the road, so to avoid setting that dubious record, this year's team has to go 5-6 the rest of the way.
There are still seven games left on this season-long nine-game road trip and 20 games remaining overall. Bowie won again Wednesday, so the Curve now trail the Baysox by 5 1/2 games for the Western Division's wild-card playoff berth.
Portland scored the game's only run in the first inning Wednesday off Curve starter Kris Johnson. Jeremy Hazelbaker reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and came home on Bryce Brentz's two-out single.
Johnson (1-2) and two Curve relievers pitched well the rest of the night in blanking the Sea Dogs, but Altoona's offense was shut down with no runs on six hits. Johnson finished with six strikeouts and one walk while allowing five hits in six innings.
Portland lefty Drake Britton (4-5) allowed just three hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings, struck out five and walked two for the win. Michael Olmstead worked the final two innings and struck out the side in the ninth to finish off the shutout and earn his third save.
Curve outfielder Adalberto Santos continues to sizzle, going 2-for-4 to raise his average to .390.
Key player: Portland LHP Drake Britton tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, to earn the win.
Key play: RF Bryce Brentz singled home LF Jeremy Hazelbaker with two outs in the first inning for the game's only run.
Key stat: The Curve have dropped nine in a row on the road.
How they scored
Bottom 1st: Hazelbaker reached on fielder's choice, scored on Brentz single (0-1).