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Curve finishing on up-note

September 3, 2012
The Altoona Mirror

From Mirror reports

ERIE - After a five-month grind, the Curve have given themselves something to play for on the final day of the season, which is all any baseball team strives to do.

It's not a championship or even a playoff berth, but it's still important. It's a chance for the Curve to call themselves winners.

Altoona moved a game above .500 by scoring seven runs in the seventh inning for an 8-1 win over Erie on Sunday at Jerry Uht Park. The Curve can do no worse than the break-even mark, and a victory in this afternoon's season finale would mean a winning season at 72-70.

The Pirates have talked all year about finishing, and the Curve appeared to have failed in that regard when a 13-game road losing streak killed their playoff hopes.

The club has regrouped since that skid, however, and has won five in a row and 12 of its past 15 to get in position to finish above .500.

Fact Box

Final stop

Today: Altoona at Erie, season finale at 1:35 p.m.

Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Brandon Cumpton (11-11, 3.94) vs. SeaWolves LHP Jared Wesson (7-10, 6.11)

Record: 71-70

The Curve's big seventh inning started when Jarek Cunningham and Evan Chambers were both hit by pitches from Erie starter James Avery (10-13). Kelson Brown put Altoona on top with an RBI single, Adalberto Santos singled home a pair to make it 4-1 and Jeremy Farrell later capped the big inning with a two-run single.

Nathan Baker (4-7) pitched five innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win for Altoona. Baker began the season in the starting rotation and struggled but finished on a high note out of the bullpen Sunday.

Catcher Ramon Cabrera was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. Cabrera put together a strong second half to raise his average to .276 and now will get a chance to play in the playoffs with Indy.

Jacob Stallings was called up all the way from the short-season State College Spikes to give the Curve an extra catcher. Stallings, who hit .235 in 64 games for the Spikes, had a pinch-hit single in his Double-A debut.

Game recap

Key player: LH reliever Nathan Baker pitched five shutout innings, allowing just two hits, to pick up the win.

Key play: The Curve's big seventh inning started when both 2B Jarek Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers were hit by pitches, and DH Adalberto Santos later had a two-run single for a 4-1 lead.

Key stat: The Curve can finish the season with a winning record if they beat Erie in today's finale.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Johnson singled, scored on fielder's choice (0-1).

Top 2nd: Welch doubled, scored on Cutler single (1-1).

Top 7th: Cunningham hit by pitch, scored on Brown single (2-1); Chambers hit by pitch, scored along with Brown on Santos single (4-1); McCann passed ball allowed Santos to score (5-1); Lambo walked, scored on Welch double (6-1); Tejeda reached on strikeout and passed ball, scored along with Welch on Farrell single (8-1).

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