Lambo completes Curve rally

Andrew Lambo has spent about as much time in Double-A as Barack Obama has spent in office.

Since 2008, Lambo has played 359 of his 431 professional games in Double-A. Sixty of those games were in Triple-A,where he hit .184.

But he may be returning if his season continues like this.

Lambo hit an opposite-field walk-off homer with two outs to lead the Curve past Reading, 7-6, before 3,168 at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona earlier lost the completion of a suspended game from May 23, 6-5.

“That’s not my call,” Lambo said if it’s time for him to move up to Triple-A. “I play for whatever jersey I’m putting on. If they put an Altoona jersey on me, I’m playing for Altoona. If they put on a Pirates jersey on me, an Indianapolis jersey, I’m playing for them.”

The home run, his league-best 14th this year and fifth in six games, along with his numbers this season may earn him a call for promotion to Indianapolis.

Lambo is having his best season in Double-A, hitting .286, owning a league leading .559 slugging percentage and 119 total bases.

Lambo trails New Britain’s Josmil Pinto by one RBI for the league lead with 42 and is tied for second with 26 extra-base hits.

“In the way he plays, he deserves a shot anywhere,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “But right now he is here. He is doing good for himself. He’s doing everything we ask.

“He deserves it, but I don’t make those decisions. He will move when [the Pirates] decide he is ready to move to the next level. So far, he is doing a very good job for us.”

Lambo, who primarily plays in the outfield, has played some first base this year.

Blocking his path to Indianapolis are outfielders Felix Pie, Alex Presley, Jerry Sands and first baseman Matt Hague.

While Pie and Presley are left-handed batters, Lambo, who also is left-handed, does something neither of them does – hit for power.

Lambo has amassed 14 homers and 42 RBIs. In Triple-A, Presley and Pie have combined for seven homers and 36 RBIs.

“I was going in prepared, mentally set,” Lambo said of his production this season. “Wherever you are at, it’s just a grind. You’ve just got to prepare for that grind. Being in pro ball now for a couple years now, I’ve started to understand the mental grind aspect.”

Lambo’s home run off of losing pitcher Luis Garcia (0-1) that followed a key walk from Jarek Cunningham went opposite field, something Lambo said he hasn’t been working on. Garcia wasn’t surprised Lambo’s homer went opposite field.

“True power hitters, they don’t have to kill the ball to hit it out of the ballpark,” Garcia said. “That was a true pop right there. That shows you if you are confident enough to let the ball to travel and you are going to put the good swing on it, you don’t have to pull the ball.”

If Lambo’s numbers continue at his career pace, the power hitter – something that Indianapolis doesn’t have from the left side of the plate – could be wind up getting out of Altoona sooner rather than later.

“It’s exciting but it’s not over with,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot of time left. It’s hard work and preparation pays off.”

Game recap

Key players: Reading C Sebastian Valle drove in two runs in game one. 1B Andrew Lambo went 1-for-4 with two runs.

Key plays: CF Mel Rojas misjudged a fly ball to center that started Reading’s four-run eighth in game one.Lambo hit a walk-off, two-run homer.

Key stat: It was the first walk-off since Miles Durham’s homer on August 13, 2010, ending the longest game in Curve history.

How they scored

Game 1

Bottom 1st: Duran singled, scored on Henson single (0-1).

Top 2nd: Howard doubled, scored on Paulino single (1-1).

Bottom 5th: Abreu homered (1-2).

Top 6th: Lambo tripled, scored on, Howard single (2-2).

Bottom 8th: Gillies tripled, scored on Duran sacrifice fly (2-3); Murphy singled, scored on Valle homer (2-5); Mitchell doubled, scored on Hewitt double (2-6).

Top 9th: Vasquez doubled, scored on Dickerson single (3-6); Dickerson singled, Ngoepe walked, both scored on Santos single (5-6).

Game 2

Top 1st: Gillies singled, scored on Lambo error (0-1); Duran reached on an error, scored on Henson single (0-2).

Bottom 3rd: Maggi walked, scored on Rojas double (1-2).

Bottom 4th: Lambo hit by a pitch, Santos walked, both scored on Paulino triple (3-2); Paulino tripled, scored on Ngoepe double (4-2).

Top 6th: Murphy singled, Collier singled, both scored Cartwright single (4-4); Cartwright single, scored on Hewitt homer (4-6).

Bottom 9th: Vasquez singled, scored on Dickerson ground out (5-6); Cunningham walked, scored on Lambo homer (7-6).