Curve struggle in clutch

The Curve had seven hits on Sunday.

Both Curve manager Carlos Garcia and first baseman Justin Howard agreed that none of them were a big hit.

The Curve left 11 runners on bases and went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in a 3-1 loss before 3,817 people at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Sunday night.

“It’s pretty tough because you look up there, and you see ‘hey, we’ve got more hits than them. We should have more runs,'” Howard said. “It’s about getting that big hit with the runners on, in scoring position. We just didn’t have that tonight.”

The Curve stranded runners in six innings. In the other three that they didn’t have any left on, they did not get a hit.

With the loss, the Curve have fallen back to 10 games under .500.

“We put ourselves in good, scoring position but can’t come up with a big hit,” Garcia said. “In that situation, we tried to do too much for the most part.”

The lack of the hits with runners in scoring position came one night after the Curve were barely able to get a hit at all. The Curve mustered just three hits in their 6-0 loss on Saturday.

This season, the Curve have hit .265 with runners in scoring position and have hit just 10 homers. With runners on base, the Curve have hit .261.

“We swung at pitches out of the strike zone, other than staying ourselves, staying to our strengths rather than making the pitcher through pitches,” Garcia said. “We capitalize on those situations. We are not in trouble. He is the one in trouble. He is one who makes the pitches to try to get out of trouble. We tried to hit his pitches rather. …We just tried to swing too much.”

Jameson Taillon got the loss and is now 3-6. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out six.

Taillon worked efficiently in the loss with 84 pitches in seven innings, but Garcia said that he didn’t let him pitch into the eighth because of pitch count even though Taillon will have a couple extra days rest due to the All-Star break.

The lack of run support gave Taillon his first loss since May 19. It was the second decision that Taillon had received since May 29.

Former major leaguer Jon Link was able to hold most of the Curve runners at bay, allowing all seven hits in the win.

Melvin Mercedes got the save, his third this year.

“They’ve just been really good with hitting their spots and mixing their pitches up, Howard said of the Erie pitching in the last two games. “We’ve just got to keep battling and stay aggressive, hit the pitches out over the plate.”

Game recap

Key player: DH Ramon Cabrera went 2-for-4, scoring twice.

Key play: LF Tyler Collins homered in the second inning.

Key stat: The Curve went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

How they scored

Top 2nd: Collins homered (0-1).

Top 4th: Perez singled, scored on McCann single (0-2).

Bottom 6th: Cutler doubled, scored on Santos single (1-2).

Top 9th: Perez singled, scored on Collins single (1-3).