Curve defense falls apart late

From Mirror reports

ERIE – Some games are won, some are lost, but it’s most frustrating when a team gives away a game.

The Curve did that Sunday afternoon at Erie, committing four errors, including two big ones in the seventh inning that helped the SeaWolves score all their runs. Altoona wasted a strong pitching performance by starter Stolmy Pimentel and dropped the final game of the season-opening series at Jerry Uht Park, 5-2.

The Curve offense struggled with only three hits and did all its damage on a two-run, inside-the-park homer from Alex Dickerson in the second inning. It was the team’s second inside-the-park homer in three days, and both occurred in almost identical fashion (see Covering the Bases on Page B3 for details).

The Curve carried that 2-0 lead into the seventh inning, only to have their defense fall apart.

Reliever Jason Townsend came on to start the seventh after Pimentel threw six shutout innings. Townsend was greeted with singles by Wade Gaynor and Ramon Cabrera, and Gaynor came in to score on a groundout by James Robbins.

The Curve should have escaped the inning with a 2-1 lead as Jamie Johnson hit a groundball to shortstop Andy Vasquez that should have produced an inning-ending double play. Vasquez bobbled it, though, for his third error of the day.

Townsend retired Luis Castillo for the second out, then Marcus Lemon singled to load the bases. Brandon Douglas bunted a ball back to Townsend for what was ruled an infield single, and the pitcher hurt himself when his throw to first was wide and went down the left field line for an error.

The tying and go-ahead runs scored on that play, then Townsend allowed a two-run double that gave Erie a 5-2 lead. Only one of Erie’s five runs was earned.

Townsend (0-1) took the loss, while Erie reliever Matt Crouse (1-0) picked up the win and Justin Souza (1) the save.

Pimentel was outstanding in his Curve debut, giving up only two hits in his six shutout innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Altoona didn’t do much against Erie starter Warwick Saupold, getting just the one hit from Dickerson over five innings.

Game recap

Key player: Curve RHP Stolmy Pimentel pitched six shutout innings but got a no-decision.

Key play: Curve SS Andy Vasquez booted what would have been an inning-ending double play grounder in the seventh, and Erie went on to score four runs after that for a 5-2 lead

Key stat: The Curve have hit two inside-the-park homers in three days.

How they scored

Top 2nd: Lambo walked, scored on Dickerson inside-the-park homer (2-0).

Bottom 7th: Gaynor singled, scored on Robbins groundout (2-1); Johnson reached on Vasquez error, scored along with Robbins on Douglas bunt single and Townsend error (2-3); Lemon singled, scored along with Douglas on Perez double 2-5).