NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The Curve offense pulled off not one, but two rare and impressive feats in winning Wednesday afternoon.
Every Altoona starter had a hit in an 8-5 victory at New Britain. While that's relatively common in baseball, it's very rare for a team to have two consecutive games in which every starter had a hit, which the Curve pulled off the past two days.
Altoona ripped 17 hits on Wednesday, one day after pounding out 18 against the Rock Cats. Everyone got in on the action both days.
The Curve's other rare feat occurred in the second inning Wednesday when they hit three consecutive home runs. Keon Broxton belted the first, followed by Gift Ngoepe and then Carlos Paulino.
All three were solo shots and helped the Curve build a 5-0 lead, which they later stretched to 7-1 before having to hold on late for the win.
Adrian Sampson made his first start since nearly throwing a no-hitter for the Curve, and he had a solid day, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked one. Sampson had a no-hitter for 8 innings against Bowie his last time out on Friday.
Tonight: Altoona at Bowie, 6:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Jhonathan Ramos (2-3, 5.34) vs. Baysox RHP Zach Davies (5-6, 3.78)
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve now head to Bowie for a four-game series. Altoona is 6-5 against the Baysox, one of only three teams it has a winning record against this season. The Curve are 10-4 against Harrisburg and 2-1 against Trenton.
SAFE AT FIRST: RHP Adrian Sampson remains third in the Eastern League in ERA at 2.60 after his outing Wednesday. He's also tied for the league lead with 21 starts.
STEALING SECOND: OF Willy Garcia has been on a tear of late, going 15-for-39 (.385) in his last 11 games to get his season average up to .263.
ROUNDING THIRD: RF Josh Bell went 1-for-5 Wednesday and has a hit in three of his past four games. However, he is only 4-for-27 (.148) in seven games since coming up from Single-A Bradenton.
HEADING HOME: U Drew Maggi had a stolen base Wednesday and is up to 26 steals, ranking fifth in the league. He was thrown out once, as well, and has been gunned down 16 times.
- Cory Giger
Sampson departed with a five-run cushion, but New Britain battled back with three runs off reliever Emmanuel De Leon to close within 8-5 after eight innings. The Rock Cats got no closer, though, as Kenn Kasparek came on to record the final four outs and earned his sixth save.
Broxton, Ngoepe and Drew Maggi had three hits apiece to lead the Curve offense, which has scored 18 runs on the 35 hits in the past two games. Willy Garcia followed up his 4-for-5 game Tuesday with a 2-for-4 day, raising his average to .263, the highest it's been all season.
The back-to-back-to-back homers in the second raised Altoona's total to 92, which is second in the Eastern League. The offensive barrage this week elevated the team's batting average to .261, up to sixth in the league.
New Britain starter Pat Dean (7-6) got shelled by the Curve hitters for six runs on nine hits in four innings for the loss.
Brandon Waring hit two solo homers for New Britain.
Key player: 2B Gift Ngoepe went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and a run.
Key play: The Curve had three consecutive homers in the second inning by CF Keon Broxton, Ngoepe and C Carlos Paulino.
Key stat: For the second straight game, every Curve starter had at least one hit. The team had 17 hits after collecting 18 Tuesday.
How they scored
Top 1st: Maggi singled, scored on Garcia single (1-0).
Top 2nd: Broxton solo homer (2-0); Ngoepe solo homer (3-0); Paulino solo homer (4-0).
Bottom 2nd: Vargas solo homer (5-1).
Top 4th: Cunningham singled, scored on Maggi single (6-1).
Top 5th: Garcia doubled, scored on Ngoepe single (7-1).
Bottom 5th: Waring solo homer (7-2).
Top 7th: Broxton singled, scored on Paulino double (8-2).
Bottom 7th: Waring solo homer (8-3).
Bottom 8th: Kvasnicka singled, Hicks walked, both scored on Rodriguez doubled (8-5).