Despite four homers, Curve lose

READING – It’s somewhat cruel irony to lose the way the Curve did Wednesday night.

Altoona belted four home runs, including three in one inning. Then Jarek Cunningham blasted a solo shot in the top of the ninth to break up a tie game.

But while the Curve were busy hitting solo blasts, Reading did it the more efficient way, smacking a pair of three-run homers. The second one came in the bottom of the ninth from Anthony Hewitt and gave the Fightin’ Phils a 7-5 walk-off win at First Energy Stadium.

The Curve have lost five in a row, and at 19-27, they’ve once again matched their season low point of eight games below .500.

Cunningham hit his eighth homer to start the ninth inning for a 5-4 lead, after Reading had just tied it at 4-4 in the eighth as Hewitt scored on an error by shortstop Gift Ngoepe.

Curve reliever Jason Townsend (1-2), who had finished off the eighth to keep things tied, ran into trouble immediately in the ninth. Cameron Rupp doubled to start the inning, and Albert Cartwright reached on a bunt hit.

Two batters later, Hewitt drilled an 0-2 pitch over the wall in left for a walk-off homer.

The Curve had only seven hits, and four of them left the ballpark. Trailing 3-1, they belted three solo homers in the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead.

Andrew Lambo opened the fourth with a homer to right, his team-leading ninth of the year. Charlie Cutler then had a 10-pitch at-bat that culminated with a homer to left on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game.

Justin Howard, who has been with the Curve all season but has seldom played with only 19 at-bats, smacked a homer to right later in the fourth to put the Curve ahead.

Rupp hit Reading’s first three-run homer, off Altoona starter David Bromberg, in the first inning. Bromberg gave up four runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings and struck out eight with no walks.

Brody Colvin (2-0) picked up the win in relief for Reading.

Game recap

Key player: RF Anthony Hewitt went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Reading.

Key play: Hewitt’s three-run homer gave the Fightin Phils a walk-off win.

Key stat: The Curve hit four solo homers but lost their fifth straight game and have matched a season low at eight games below .500.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Gillies reached on Santos error, Henson singled, both scored on Rupp three-run homer (0-3).

Top 3rd: d’Arnaud singled, scored on Rojas Jr. triple (1-3).

Top 4th: Lambo solo homer (2-3); Cutler solo homer (3-3); Howard solo homer (4-3).

Bottom 8th: Hewitt singled, scored on Ngoepe error (4-4).

Top 9th: Cunningham solo homer (5-4).

Bottom 9th: Rupp doubled, Cartwright singled, both scored on Hewitt three-run homer (5-7).