Seven straight Ws for Curve
With a 1-9 record but a 2.86 ERA, Eliecer Navarro didn’t get run support or luck in Single-A Bradenton.
He got it in his first start in Double-A.
Navarro allowed just one earned run in six innings in his Double-A debut as the Curve came from behind to beat New Hampshire, 5-2, before 4,411 at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Wednesday night.
“I felt pretty good,” the left-handed Navarro said through translator Miguel Perez. “I have continued to work hard no matter what the score was. It feels pretty good to have that support here.”
The winning streak is now at seven for the Curve, tying last season’s longest. If they win tonight, the streak will be the longest since 2010 when the Curve won eight in a row.
Altoona is now just five games under .500 after being 12 games below on June 11.
“They are getting the hang of it,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “They are playing well. They are confident. They know they can come from behind and play solid baseball.”
The seven-game streak is largely thanks to starting pitching. Curve starters have allowed one earned run in 29 1/3 innings during the home.
Navarro allowed that one earned run while striking out five in six innings. The lefty gave up two runs in the start.
“He was with me last year,” Garcia said. “It doesn’t surprise me. He doesn’t have anything overpowering, but he is the guy who throws strikes. He hits the corner and depends a lot in his off-speed.”
Unlike previous starts with Bradenton, Navarro, who didn’t get a decision on Wednesday, got run support including a two-run homer from Alex Dickerson to break a 2-2 tie off of losing pitcher Deck McGuire. Ethan Hollingsworth (3-3) earned the win, and Luis Sanz got the save, his fifth.
With Bradenton, Navarro gave up more than three runs only once, but got the loss eight times in his first nine starts.
“It can’t be worse than that,” Garcia said of the pitchers luck in Single-A. “Definitely when you have somebody with a negative record and the ERA is 2, it’s no run support, definitely, that’s what it was.”
Navarro didn’t settle in until later in the start after giving up a run in the first and two walks – the only two he gave up – in the first and second innings.
“I was excited at the beginning,” Navarro said. “It was tough for him to get the ball in. After the first couple of hitters, the rest is history.”
While Navarro got support – something he hasn’t had in a while – the Curve also had a change, moving up one spot from the bottom of the Eastern League’s Western Division standings.
“They are playing better,” Garcia said. “This is more a confident team. They know can play good baseball. Earlier in the season, probably they were trying to get their feet wet with the league, different ballparks. This feels more like real baseball.”
SUBHEAD: Tejeda goes back to Triple-A
Outfielder Oscar Tejeda was moved back up to Triple-A Indianapolis in order to make room for Eliecer Navarro
Key player: CF Gregory Polanco went 2-for-3 with a triple and double. He also scored two runs.
Key play: RF Alex Dickerson blasted two-run homer in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie.
Key stat: The Curve have won seven straight games and are just five games under .500
How they scored
Top 1st: Pillar walked, scored on error by Santos (0-1).
Top 4th: Loewen homered (0-2).
Bottom 4th: Rojas doubled, scored on Polanco triple (1-2); Polanco tripled, scored on Dickerson sacrifice (2-2).
Bottom 7th: Polanco doubled, scored on Dickerson homer (4-2); Cunningham tripled, scored on Cutler single (5-2).