TRENTON, N.J. - Future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Curve's game against Trenton, but that was the only thing the home fans had to cheer about Thursday night.
Jhonathan Ramos turned in a stellar performance, blanking Trenton on one hit for six innings, and Altoona posted a 5-0 win at Arm & Hammer Park. Four Curve pitchers combined to allow just three hits in the shutout.
Ramos (4-5) retired the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a single to Dan Fiorito with two outs in the fifth. The pitcher got out of the inning one batter later and retired the Thunder in order in the sixth, so he faced just one batter over the minimum on his evening.
Ramos struck out two and didn't walk a batter in by far his best outing of the season.
Jeff Inman, Nate Baker and Kenn Kasparek finished off the shutout as the Curve salvaged the finale of the series after dropping the first two games.
Rivera was on hand to be honored for his charity work by the MVP Foundation. The New York Yankees legend never played in Trenton on his way up to the major leagues, but he called it a "privilege" to be honored by the Thunder.
The Curve scored three times in the fourth inning to take command, all coming after walks. Stetson Allie and Elias Diaz drew free passes before coming home on a single by Dan Gamache, and Keon Broxton doubled home Willy Garcia after he had walked.
Andy Vasquez belted a two-run homer in the ninth inning, after Broxton had doubled again, to give the Curve a 5-0 lead.
Joel De La Cruz (3-3) took the loss for Trenton.
Diaz went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, while Broxton and Vasquez had two hits apiece for Altoona.
The game featured the first Double-A hit by Dante Bichette Jr., Trenton's third baseman and son of the former major league slugger with the recognizable name.
Key player: LHP Jhonathan Ramos gave up only one hit over six shutout innings.
Key play: 3B Dan Gamache's two-run single in the fourth gave the Curve a lead they would not relinquish.
Key stat: C Elias Diaz has hit safely in 11 straight games.
How they scored
Top 4th: Allie walked, Diaz walked, both scored on Gamache single (2-0); Garcia walked, scored on Broxton double (3-0).
Top 9th: Broxton doubled, scored on Vasquez two-run homer (5-0).