Curve stars on winning side in EL contest

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Curve second baseman Jarek Cunningham capped a good Eastern League All-Star break with a big hit in Wednesday’s league showcase to help the Western Division stars beat the Eastern Division, 5-0, at New Britain Stadium.

Cunningham, who started at second base and batted ninth, had an RBI single to left in the fourth inning to give the Western team a

5-0 lead. Cunningham leads the Curve with 14 homers, and he also had a strong showing in Tuesday night’s EL home run derby as he finished second.

Richmond’s Javier Herrera hit a three-run homer in the first inning to put the Western team in control.

Cunningham was the only Curve player to start the game. Third baseman Adalberto Santos entered the game in the sixth inning and lined out to first base in the ninth.

The Curve’s Ethan Hollingsworth pitched the bottom of the sixth inning for the Western team and worked around a one-out double to pitch a scoreless frame.

The Curve’s other two representatives at the All-Star Game, pitchers Jameson Taillon and Casey Sadler Sadler, did not play. Taillon just started Sunday, so the Pirates might not have wanted him to pitch, and Sadler is on the disabled list with a right knee contusion after taking a comebacker in his last start June 30.

Wednesday’s game drew a record 8,633 fans to New Britain Stadium. The contest started 35 minutes late because of rain but was completed quickly for an All-Star Game, in just 2 hours, 32 minutes.

The teams combined for only 11 hits, and Herrera’s homer earned him the MVP honors. He hit the blast off Portland’s Anthony Ranaudo, who took the loss. Bowie’s Mike Wright started and pitched a scoreless first inning for the win.

The Curve will host next year’s EL All-Star Game on July 16, 2014 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Altoona finished the first half with a 39-50 record, second worst in the league, and in last place in the Western Division. The Curve trail first-place Harrisburg by 10 games and are 7 behind Erie for the division’s second playoff spot.

The Curve open the second half tonight at Akron to begin a four-game series. They return to PNG Field on Monday to begin a seven-game homestand against Bowie and Erie.