New Curve pitcher delivers
The way Nick Kingham, who was promoted on Saturday, was high-fiving and celebrating after the game, it was like he had known some of the Curve players for most of the year.
His pitching performance also blended in with that of the rest of the Altoona staff.
Kingham pitched 5 scoreless innings in his first Double-A start as the Curve blanked Trenton, 4-0, before the largest crowd at Peoples Natural Gas this season of 6,928 on Saturday night.
“It felt good to do my part and fit right in to what they have been doing all season, just try to keep it rolling as of today,” Kingham, who went 6-3 with Single-A Bradenton before the promotion said. “That’s the plan for sure.”
One of the bright spots for the Curve has been pitching this season, and with starters like Jameson Taillon and Casey Sadler, it’s been something consistent for the Curve – especially in the last four games.
With the win Saturday, the Curve tied the longest winning streak this season at four games and gave up just six runs in four games.
“We know we are a good organization at drafting arms,” Garcia said of the talent. “It shows. When we lose one, we get another one as good or the same quality of the guy who left. It’s been great.”
Kingham, who had a 3.09 ERA in Bradenton, gave up four hits and struck out seven, earning the win. He gave up just two walks and no runs.
With Bradenton, he appeared in 13 games, striking out at least seven batters six times. He also allowed no more than one run seven times with the Marauders.
“It was a very consistent outing with what he was doing down there in Florida,” Garcia said. “I know he is going to compete every night, every opportunity he has up there. We are going to have an opportunity every five days that gives you an opportunity to win.”
It was no surprise to Garcia how Kingham pitched, and Garcia said it’s something that he wants from his pitchers. It was the second time this season the Curve shut out an opponent, shutting out Akron on April 29.
“That’s exactly what we are looking, somebody that is going to step up, throw six, seven innings,” Garcia said. “He gives you the chance to win and that’s what we expect from him.”
Along with Kingham’s performance, Garcia has been banking on pitching like he’s been given from Taillon and Sadler with the league’s worst offense.
However, in the past four games, the Curve’s bats have scored 22 runs. That’s something, mixed with pitching, Garcia said has given his team the chance to win of late.
“You have to be consistent in all areas,” Garcia said. “Definitely, it’s hard not to win game without offense. But when you have a struggling pitching staff, it’s even more impossible to win. We just try to stay on top of the things.”
The Pirates promoted Stolmy Pimentel to Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.
“I’m very happy for him,” Garcia said. “He deserved it. He did everything we asked and more. He was very good and he had struggled for a little bit. Then, he came back and started being himself. He got the promotion.”
The righty started the season with one of the lowest ERAs, 0.74, in all of baseball, but an 0-3 May sent his ERA to 3.61. Pimentel went 4-3, appearing in 13 games. It’s the first time that Pimentel has been promoted to Triple-A after spending three seasons in Double-A. He was acquired in the Joel Hanrahan trade from Boston in the off-season.
Key player: RF Alex Dickerson doubled twice and scored once, going 2-for-4.
Key play: 3B Adalberto Santos scored on Jarek Cunningham’s ground out that broke a 0-0 tie.
Key stat: The Curve have now won four straight games the tying the most they have won consecutively this season.
How they scored
Bottom 4th: Santos singled, scored on Cunningham ground out (1-0).
Bottom 5th: Howard walked, scored on Rojas ground out (2-0).
Bottom 6th: Dickerson doubled, scored on Cutler single (3-0); Cunningham walked, scored on Paulino single (4-0).