Curve’s Rojas enjoys big night

AKRON, Ohio – In April, the stars must have aligned for Andrew Lambo, who hit for a cycle. The stars must have been a hair off for Mel Rojas Jr. on Friday.

While Lambo hit the first-ever cycle in Curve history on April 9 in Akron, Rojas was a homer shy of the feat as the Curve beat Akron, 3-1, before 7,021 at Canal Park on Friday night.

Rojas recorded four of the Curve’s 10 hits. Rojas singled in the first, doubled in the sixth and tripled in the eighth. He flew out in the ninth inning.

When Lambo hit for the cycle in April, Rojas went 4-for-6, scoring two runs.

On Friday, Rojas went 4-for-5, scoring twice.

The Curve are now 2-0 post All-Star break after losing three straight before the two-day layoff.

Rojas was a part of a two-run first inning when Gregory Polanco drove Rojas and Adalberto Santos in with a double. Those two runs proved to be enough, but Polanco again drove in Rojas in the eighth for an insurance run.

In July, Rojas has had one of the highest batting averages for the Curve, hitting .393. He has driven in just two runs and scored eight times.

While Rojas didn’t drive in a run on Friday, Polanco drove in all three runs. Polanco went 2-for-4 with a double.

Andy Vasquez was the only other Curve player with multiple hits, getting two.

Nick Kingham earned the win, his second in Double-A. He struck out four, walked two and gave up six hits. Luis Sanz picked up his 11th save this year. The save came in an appearance after Sanz allowed a run in the ninth inning on July 8, breaking a 6-6 tie.

Since moving to the closer’s role, Sanz has not blown a save opportunity.

Will Roberts got the loss, allowing two runs in seven innings.

When the Aeros scored in the sixth inning, it ended a 16-inning scoreless streak against the Curve.

Altoona, now 41-50, will play two more games against Akron before returning home for seven games against Bowie and Erie.

Game recap

Key player: Mel Rojas Jr. was a homer shy of completing the cycle.

Key play: CF Gregory Polanco doubled in the first inning, driving in two runs.

Key stat: Rojas finished with four of the Curve’s 10 hits.

How they scored

Top 1st: Rojas singled, Santos doubled, both scored on Polanco double (2-0).

Bottom 6th: Lowery singled, scored on Ramirez single (2-1).

Top 8th: Rojas tripled, scored on Polanco single (3-1).