The pick four numbers from Saturday's Curve game all come with their own story: 1,000; triple; 5,000; and 72.
The Curve won their 1,000th game in franchise history with a 3-0 victory over Richmond before 5,366 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The first win came on April 10, 1999 in game two of a doubleheader at Reading, and now the franchise is 1,000-968.
The milestone win came about in spite of the Curve hitting into a triple play. It happened in the fifth inning on a 5-4-3 around-the-horn sequence that started with Richmond third baseman Daniel Mayora making a nice play on a short hop standing right next to the bag.
"The ball was smoked, short hop, backhand picked, step on the bag," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said of Adalberto Santos' grounder. "It's tailor made. Tailor made. You dream about that as a third baseman."
The Curve had a 1-0 lead at that point, and starter Kris Johnson (2-2) pitched seven masterful innings to make it hold up. The lefty allowed only three hits with five strikeouts and two walks, and he wiggled out of a jam after allowing a leadoff double to Mayora in the seventh to preserve the slim lead.
Mayora was at third with one out, then Johnson struck out Johnny Monell and got Nick Liles to ground out to third to end the inning.
Tonight: Richmond at Altoona, 6 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 0.00) vs. Flying Squirrels LHP Chris Gloor (4-4, 2.45)
"He's a guy that knows how to pitch, and you trust him," Forbes said of Johnson.
The Curve stretched the lead to 3-0 in the eighth when pinch-hitter Gustavo Nunez ripped a two-out single to center to score a pair. Nunez, a Rule 5 draft pick of the Pirates in December, has missed almost the entire season but came through with a clutch hit in that situation off the bench.
"Hopefully it jumpstarts him to finish out the season," Forbes said. "I'm not sure how long he's going to be here, but it just gives him a little confidence going forward."
Vic Black pitched the ninth for his 10th save. Richmond starter Justin Fitzgerald (7-8) allowed only one run in six innings but took the loss.
The Curve raised about $5,000 for Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania with their jersey-off-the-back auction. All season long the team wore blue jerseys on home Saturdays to show support for victims of child abuse, and those jerseys were auctioned off after the game.
Now the number the Curve are chasing is 72. That's the number of wins they need to have a winning season, but they'll need to go 8-2 the rest of the way to get there. Even a 7-3 finish wouldn't be that bad to outfielder Quincy Latimore since it would mean a .500 season at 71-71.
"To finish over .500 would be great or .500 right on the money would be good," Latimore said. "Just not to give up the season, and we have an opportunity to spoil some guys making playoffs."
The Curve's chances of finishing .500 were diminished when they recently lost 13 straight games on the road, but Forbes said he hasn't seen any letup in the club late in the season.
"Just finish the season," he said of his goal. "Finish the season playing hard, finishing games, continuing to work to prepare yourself for next year and beyond. For me that's what it's about when you're in this situation."
Key player: LHP Kris Johnson pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits for the Curve.
Key play: Richmond turned a 5-4-3 triple play on a grounder by LF Adalberto Santos in the fifth. It was the first triple play hit into by the Curve since July 16, 2009.
Key stat: The win was the 1,000th in Curve history.
How they scored
Bottom 3rd: Maggi walked, scored on Fitzgerald wild pitch (1-0).
Bottom 8th: Tejeda singled, Cutler walked, both scored on Nunez single (3-0).