AKRON, Ohio - It's been a fascinating two weeks for the Curve, who went from bad to great in the blink of an eye, then from great to awful just as fast.
Altoona's eight-game winning streak from June 12-20 is now in the distant past as the club has followed it up by losing eight out of nine. Akron dealt the Curve their fourth consecutive loss Friday night, 4-1, at Canal Park in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader, and the second game was rained out.
The Curve bottomed out at 13 games below .500 and were 12 below before going on their improbable winning streak to get back within four games at 33-37. But now the break-even mark once again seems far out of reach as the club has dropped to 34-45.
The Curve's biggest issue this season has been their inability to win on the road. The club is 20-20 at home but only 14-25 away from home.
Altoona got off to a hot start Friday as Drew Maggi opened the game with a walk, Adalberto Santos was hit by a pitch and Gregory Polanco singled home Maggi. Alex Dickerson was then hit by a pitch, but despite their first four hitters reaching base, the Curve could only manage one run.
They didn't score the rest of the night, and Akron responded with four unanswered runs to win.
Tonight: Altoona at Akron, doubleheader at 5:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Eliecer Navarro (0-1, 5.25) and RHP Ethan Hollingsworth (4-3, 3.47) vs. Aeros RHP Brett Brach (4-4, 4.89) and RHP Cole Cook (1-0, 7.05)
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Friday's game at Akron started 44 minutes late because of rain. The Aeros then shot off fireworks between the scheduled games of the doubleheader rather than waiting for the second game to end (although it was never played because of rain).
SAFE AT FIRST: SS Gift Ngoepe has been placed on the temporary inactive list to deal with a family issue. The Curve also lost OF Oscar Tejeda, who has been promoted back to Triple-A once again. Tejeda has shuttled back and forth between Double-A and Triple-A all season.
STEALING SECOND: RHP Zack Thornton and C Ali Solis have rejoined the Curve from Triple-A. Thornton went 3-1 with a 4.02 ERA in nine relief appearances for Indianapolis, striking out 19 in 15 2/3 innings. Solis went 2-for-6 in two games.
ROUNDING THIRD: OF Andrew Lambo hit another homer for Indianapolis on Friday, his seventh in only 18 games at Triple-A after he hit 14 in 58 games for the Curve. That gives him 21 homers in just 76 games.
HEADING HOME: Indianapolis has been nothing short of superb in the International League, posting a 53-29 record heading into play Friday.
- Cory Giger
The Aeros tied the game on a bases-loaded walk by Curve starter David Bromberg in the second, then scored three times in the fifth off the right-hander to take control.
Bromberg (3-8) has a solid 3.29 ERA but has had very little luck from a record standpoint.
Akron starter Matt Packer (6-5) allowed one run on four hits in six innings for the win, while Jose Flores worked the seventh and final inning to earn his ninth save.
Key player: Akron RF Carlos Moncrief went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.
Key play: Moncrief's two-run double in the fifth gave the Aeros a 3-1 lead.
Key stat: The Curve have lost eight out of nine on the heels of their eight-game winning streak.
How they scored
Top 1st: Maggi walked, scored on Polanco single (1-0).
Bottom 2nd: Moncrief singled, scored on Ramirez bases-loaded walk (1-1).
Bottom 5th: Hunter doubled, Aguilar hit by pitch, both scored on Moncrief double (1-3); Abraham single scored Moncrief (1-4).