Curve split twinbill
From Mirror reports
ERIE – Justin Howard has enjoyed a sizzling 2 months at the plate, and Saturday night he displayed his best power of the season with two home runs for the Curve.
Howard’s two blasts came in the first game of a doubleheader and helped Altoona to a 7-0 win over Erie at Jerry Uht Park. Jarek Cunningham hit a solo homer, and Gregory Polanco blew it open in the seventh inning with a three-run homer.
The Curve scored first in game two, but Erie came back for a 4-1 win.
Howard, who’s hitting .335, ripped a solo homer in the fourth inning of game one and added another solo shot in the sixth. That gives him eight home runs in 83 games, with five coming this month.
Cunningham had 14 home runs at the all-star break but only one since prior to Saturday. He had struck out four times Friday night and fanned for a fifth consecutive time in his first at-bat Saturday before bouncing back by ripping a solo homer in the fourth.
Polanco had a tough night Friday as he was pulled from the game by manager Carlos Garcia for not hustling out a popup. The promising prospect was right back in the lineup a day later and smacked his fifth homer in 53 games for the Curve.
Eliecer Navarro (4-5) picked up the win for Altoona, tossing 5 2/3 shutout innings and giving up just three hits. Zack Thornton pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to finish off the shutout.
Erie starter Ramon Garcia (0-4) went all seven innings for a complete game but gave up seven runs on seven hits, including four home runs.
The SeaWolves have a lot to play for as they’re in contention to win the Western Division, and they bounced back for a key win in game two.
The Curve scored first as Alex Dickerson tripled and scored on a single by Cunningham in the second. Erie answered in its half of the inning to tie, then took the lead for good with two runs in the fourth.
Luis Castillo had two big hits for Erie, an RBI single to tie in the second and a go-ahead single in the fourth.
Curve starter Jason Townsend (5-4) allowed three runs – two earned – in four innings for the loss. Starter Victor Larez (8-7) won for Erie, while Melvin Mercedes earned his ninth save.
Key players: Curve 1B Justin Howard hit two homers in the first game, and Erie RF Luis Castillo had the game-tying and go-ahead hits in game two.
Key plays: The Curve hit four homers in the first game, and the SeaWolves scored twice in the fourth inning of game two to take the lead for good.
Key stat: Howard has hit five homers this month after having only three entering August.
How they scored
Top 3rd: Solis doubled, scored on Suarez error (1-0).
Top 4th: Howard solo homer (2-0); Cunningham solo homer (3-0).
Top 6th: Howard solo homer (4-0).
Top 7th: Solis singled, Santos singled, both scored on Polanco three-run homer (7-0).
Top 2nd: Dickerson tripled, scored on Cunningham single (1-0).
Bottom 2nd: Cabrera walked, scored on Castillo single (1-1).
Bottom 4th: Douglas reached on fielder’s choice, scored on Castillo single (1-2); Lemon singled, scored on Robbins double (1-3).
Bottom 5th: Cabrera doubled, scored on Douglas single (1-4).