From Mirror reports
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The Curve have been no strangers to adversity, from losing 21 games by one run, to the bullpen blowing 14 save opportunities.
Monday night, they not only had to deal with the suspensions to Keon Broxton and Andy Vasquez, but also a bench that was down to its last position player.
The Curve pulled through, though, thanks to a two-run fourth inning, on their way to a 4-3 win over New Britain, snapping the Rock Cats' franchise-record 11-game winning streak.
What caused the shortage was Junior Sosa attempting to stretch a double to a triple in the third, as he appeared to have pulled his hamstring along the way. Willy Garcia moved to center field, and Justin Howard went from first to right field.
That required backup catcher Ralph Henriquez to come into the game to play first base, since Matt Curry was the club's designated hitter. Alen Hanson was the last fielder remaining on the bench.
Tonight: Altoona at New Britain, 6:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Pat Ludwig (0-1, 4.50) vs. Rock Cats LHP Pat Dean (5-2, 4.48)
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Entering Monday, New Britain was the last EL team that the Curve had yet to play this season. Both teams are set to meet eight more times, including the next two games. The Rock Cats will host the Curve again from July 21-23, before coming to Peoples Natural Gas Field Aug. 22-24.
SAFE AT FIRST: Both teams entered Monday's series opener neck and neck overall in team ERA in the EL. The Curve are at 3.89 for sixth overall, and the Rock Cats are seventh at 4.01.
STEALING SECOND: This series, the Curve are facing Twins OF Aaron Hicks, who is on a major league rehab assignment. He was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain on June 13. He went 1-for-4 and batted leadoff Monday.
ROUNDING THIRD: The Curve's longest road trip is close to finishing after two more games with the Rock Cats, but they won't be back home for long. Binghamton comes to PNG Field on Thursday for a four-game series before the Curve set out on a four-game trip to Bowie starting next Monday.
HEADING HOME: Former Curve RHP A.J. Morris endured his season-worst start on Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis. He went a season-low three innings, allowing five runs on eight hits in a loss to Norfolk.
- Matt Michelone
Sosa did manage to help spark the Curve offense in the first inning. He and Drew Maggi led off the game with back-to-back singles, and both scored the first two runs on an Elias Diaz's sacrifice fly and Curry's single, respectively.
New Britain came right back in the second when Brandon Waring walked and scored on Corey Wimberly's RBI ground out to cut the Curve lead in half.
Eddie Rosario reached on a single and tied the game on Reynaldo Rodriguez's single in the third.
Willy Garcia put the the Curve on top for good in the fourth, following Curry's second single with a two-run homer for a 4-2 lead.
Zack Dodson (2-2) picked up the win, going six innings allowing two runs on five hits. It was his first decision in five games, his last one coming in a win against Erie on May 23.
The Rock Cats threatened to keep their win streak alive in the ninth when Rosario knocked in Aaron Hicks on a one-out single, but that's as close as they got.
Ryan Beckman entered in the ninth for the Curve and finished it off to earn his fourth save.
Former Pirates pitcher Virgil Vasquez (4-3) took the loss, going six innings and allowing all four runs Curve runs on eight hits. Vasquez pitched for the Bucs in 2009, going 2-5 with a 5.84 ERA in 14 games (seven starts).
Key Player: DH Matt Curry went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Key Play: OF Willy Garcia's two-run homer put the Curve ahead for good in the fourth.
Key Stat: The Curve snapped New Britain's franchise-record 11-game winning streak.
How they scored
Top 1st: Sosa singled, scored on Diaz sacrifice fly (1-0); Maggi singled, scored on Curry single (2-0).
Bot 2nd: Waring walked, scored on Wimberly ground out (2-1).
Bot 3rd: Rosario singled, scored on Rodriguez single (2-2).
Top 4th: Curry singled, scored on Garcia homer (4-2).
Bot 9th: Hicks doubled, scored on Rosario single (4-3).