From Mirror reports
BOWIE, Md. - The Curve must have left their bats in New Britain before heading to Bowie.
Altoona enjoyed two of the most productive back-to-back days in franchise history this week against the Rock Cats, scoring 18 runs on 35 hits. The club pulled off the rare feat of having every starter collect at least one hit in two straight games.
None of that carried over to Thursday night as the Curve got crushed, 9-1, by Bowie and managed just five hits in the opener of a four-game series at Prince George's Stadium. The Baysox ripped Altoona starter Jhonathan Ramos (2-4) for six runs in the second inning and cruised from there.
Bowie smacked more hits in the second inning (6) than the Curve had the entire game. Altoona also committed two errors in that inning, which didn't help Ramos' cause. The pitcher gave up eight runs in five innings, but only three were earned.
Matt Benedict threw two innings of relief for the Curve, who decided not to burn any more relievers trailing 8-1 in the eighth inning. Utility man Andy Vasquez came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth and threw a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Utility man Justin Howard just can't buy a break. Despite tearing it up the second half of last season with the Curve, hitting .333 in the final 78 games, he found himself buried behind prospects and on the bench most of this season. Thursday, he was activated off the phantom disabled list and sent to high-A Bradenton.
SAFE AT FIRST: Howard is 26 and not really a prospect despite his stellar hitting in 2013. He didn't fare well in a reserve role this season, hitting .233 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 63 games. Now he's heading back to Single-A, where he should be able to get steady playing time.
STEALING SECOND: LHP Orlando Castro was placed on the DL with shoulder fatigue. Castro made two starts for the Curve, giving up 10 runs on 13 hits in only eight innings for an 11.25 ERA
ROUNDING THIRD: Castro's roster spot went to RHP Matt Benedict, who was called back up from Bradenton. Benedict has had a disastrous season in Double-A, posting an 0-5 record with a 7.38 ERA and three blown saves.
HEADING HOME: OF Mike Yastrzemski, who tore up Curve pitching last week in Altoona, went 1-for-4 Thursday and is batting .324 (11-for-34) in his first eight Double-A games.
- Cory Giger
Vasquez, who throws in the mid-80s, has now been called upon to pitch three times this season, and he made one appearance last year. He's held the opponent scoreless in two of his four Double-A outings, and his only rough performance came when he gave up three runs in 1 innings against Binghamton in June.
Bowie starter Zach Davies (6-6) allowed just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in seven innings to post the win.
Dan Gamache had two of the Curve's five hits, including an RBI double, while Ronald Bermudez went 3-for-4 with a homer for Bowie.
SUBHD: Game recap
Key player: Bowie RHP Zach Davies held the Curve to one run on five hits in seven innings.
Key play: A six-run second inning broke open the game, with Bowie ripping six hits in the frame and cashing in on two Curve errors.
Key stat: The Curve had 35 hits and 18 runs over the previous two games but scored just one run on five hits Thursday.
SUBHD: How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Marrero doubled, scored on Rosa single (0-1); Schoop reached on Gamache error, scored along with Rosa on Davis double (0-3); Yastrzemski single scored Davis (0-4); Romero single scored Yastrzemski (0-5); Adams double scored Romero (0-6).
Bottom 4th: Davis doubled, scored on Romero sacrifice fly (0-7).
Bottom 5th: Bermudez solo homer (0-8).
Top 7th: Gamache doubled, scored on Diaz double (1-8).
Bottom 7th: Ohlman singled, scored on Schoop double (1-9).