Offensive fireworks highlight Curve win

There were fireworks going off during Thursday’s game, both on and off the field.

While fireworks of all colors were going off at neighboring Lakemont Park, the Curve bats did some exploding of their own, scoring a season-high 15 runs on 17 hits while beating Erie, 15-7, before the largest crowd at PNG Field this season, 8,422.

“I tried to match it up, definitely,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said of the fireworks on and off the field with a laugh. “We battled. We saw some pitches. We put a good two-strike approach. It was pretty good. Guys get the approach and keep the plan.”

That plan included eight runs in the sixth inning, capped off a three-run double from Carlos Paulino.

Paulino went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. It’s the second time this season Paulino has driven in four runs, doing it on May 24 against Richmond. The Curve scored 14 runs that game.

The four-RBI effort was also a career high.

“It feels good,” Paulino said. “It’s something amazing, but one thing you’ve got to have as a catcher, you’ve got to go out there and catch first. Then, you’ve got to hit. You’ve got to be catching everyday and try to help those pitchers as much as you can.”

For Paulino, the offensive explosion like Thursday’s is something he’s been building up to. He was hitting just .172 at the start of May. He has since hit .250 and drove in 25 runs since May. He is now hitting .232 overall.

“It’s amazing,” Paulino said. “As I said before, when you work hard, you get good results. I’m always going to be hard working, instead of waiting.”

Paulino said he has been doing a lot of work from hitting off the tee, and while he is known as a defensive catcher – throwing out 40 percent of runners attempting to steal – Charlie Cutler is known for his batting. Yet, Garcia expects offensive production from Paulino.

“We expect him to do that kind of thing,” Garcia said. “He has started seeing better pitches to hit. He’s a great hitter. He does a very good job. That’s all you can expect from him.”

Paulino’s double in the sixth was apart of an inning where the Curve batted around the order.

Some of the other fireworks included Mel Rojas Jr, who went 3-for-3, scored twice and drove in a pair. Gregory Polanco went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Alex Dickerson went 2-for-5, scored twice and also had an RBI.

The Curve have now won four of their last five games after losing four straight. Eliecer Navarro picked up his first win.

“You’ve just got to battle every day, regardless of what happened,” Garcia said. “We had a very tough first couple of months, but I mean our approach to go up there and play our best has always been there.”

Game recap

Key player: C Carlos Paulino went 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

Key play: Paulino doubled, clearing the bases apart of a eight-run sixth inning

Key stat: The Curve are 4-1 in their last five.

How they scored

Top 1st: Perez doubled, scored on Cabrera double (0-1); Cabrera doubled, scored on Collins double (0-2).

Bottom 1st: Rojas walked, scored on Polanco double (1-2); Polanco doubled, scored on Dickerson double (2-2).

Bottom 2nd: Howard singled, scored on Rojas double (3-2).

Top 4th: Hernandez homered (3-3).

Bottom 4th: Cutler singled, scored on Paulino double (4-3); Howard walked, scored on Rojas sacrifice fly (5-3); Paulino double scored on Santos single (6-3).

Bottom 6th: Maggi singled, scored on Polanco single (7-3); Rojas singled, Santos walked, both scored on error by Robbins (9-3); Polanco singled, scored on Howard walk (10-3); Dickerson reached on an error by Robbins, Cunningham walked, Howard walked, all scored on Paulino double (13-3); Paulino doubled, scored on Maggi single (14-3).

Bottom 7th: Dickerson singled, scored on Vasquez ground out (15-3).

Top 8th: Suarez tripled, scored on Perez double (15-4).

Top 9th: Lemon singled, scored on Robbins ground-rule double (15-5); Castillo walked, scored on Hernadez single (15-6); Robbins doubled, scored on Suarez ground out (15-7).