ERIE - Taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning usually means a pitcher is in control, but Casey Sadler never really had control Sunday for the Curve and lost on the road for the first time all season.
Sadler flirted with danger with four walks through five innings, and Erie finally got to him for two runs on two hits in the sixth to take the lead for good. Altoona's offense managed only a run in the third inning and lost, 3-1, at Jerry Uht Park.
Sadler (10-7) had been 7-0 away from home before suffering the loss, allowing three runs - two earned - on four hits in seven innings. He gave up just four hits but also walked six while striking out only two.
The loss of command was unusual for Sadler, whose season high prior to Sunday was three walks. He had only 32 walks in 117 innings entering the day.
The Curve scored their lone run in the third when Mel Rojas Jr. tripled and came home on a squeeze bunt by Alen Hanson.
Sadler carried a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings before Eugenio Suarez tripled in the sixth. Erie tied the game when Suarez came home on a grounder to Hanson at shortstop, and Hanson's wild throw allowed Daniel Fields to get to second. That proved to be a costly error as Ramon Cabrera singled home Fields for a 2-1 Erie lead.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve return to Peoples Natural Gas Field tonight for the next-to-last homestand of the season. It's a four-game series against Reading, and tonight there's a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. There's a makeup game from a rainout June 6.
SAFE AT FIRST: LHP Kris Johnson became the 110th former Curve player to reach the major leagues when he was called up Sunday by the Pirates. Johnson appeared in 15 games (nine starts) for Altoona last season, going 3-2 with a 2.09 ERA.
STEALING SECOND: Johnson had a highly unusual MLB debut as he pitched six innings of relief for the Pirates in their 16-inning loss to the Diamondbacks. Johnson didn't allow a run for his first five innings before giving up two runs on a bloop double in the 16th to take the loss.
ROUNDING THIRD: The Pirates optioned former Curve OF Andrew Lambo back to Triple-A to make room for Johnson on the roster, knowing they needed extra pitching. Bucs officials said Sunday they plan to call up Lambo again after the mandatory 10-day waiting period.
HEADING HOME: The Curve's attendance average is likely to drop from last season to this one as they enter tonight's series averaging 4,052 fans per game, down from last year's finish of 4,295.
- Cory Giger
The SeaWolves added an insurance run in the seventh when Fields singled home Wade Gaynor.
Erie starter Warwick Saupold (7-5) picked up the win, allowing one run in six innings. Melvin Mercedes finished it off in the ninth for his 10th save.
SUBHD: Game recap
Key player: Erie CF Daniel Fields went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and scored the go-ahead run.
Key play: A grounder to SS Alen Hanson with a runner at third tied the game in the sixth, and Hanson's throwing error to the plate allowed the eventual go-ahead run to get into scoring position.
Key stat: Curve RHP Casey Sadler had been 7-0 on the road this season but lost for the first time Sunday.
SUBHD: How they scored
Top 3rd: Rojas Jr. tripled, scored on Hanson squeeze bunt (1-0).
Bottom 6th: Suarez tripled, scored on Fields fielder's choice (1-1); Cabrera single scored Fields (1-2).
Bottom 7th: Gaynor walked, scored on Fields single (1-3).