Curve can’t hold on to lead

From Mirror reports

HARRISBURG – Not one, but two controversial calls at the plate went against the Curve on Monday, leading to a fourth consecutive loss.

Altoona’s bullpen also faltered once again in a 4-3 defeat against Harrisburg. The game ended on a bang-bang play at the plate in the 10th inning.

The Senators had Sean Nicol at second base with two outs, and Matt Skole hit a single to center. Altoona’s Keon Broxton threw to the plate, and catcher Ralph Henriquez appeared to have caught the ball in time and tagged out Nicol. That’s what a Mirror source saw at the ballpark, plus what Henriquez and manager Carlos Garcia argued.

But home plate umpire Jorge Teran ruled Nicol safe, giving the Senators the win.

An inning earlier, a call at the plate went against the Curve, preventing them from taking a lead.

Elias Diaz doubled with two outs in the ninth, and Broxton hit an infield single to third base. Diaz kept running as the Senators tried to throw out Broxton and headed toward the plate. The first baseman, Skole, threw home to catcher Brandon Bantz, who tagged Diaz on a bang-bang play.

Diaz fired down his helmet in protest and was ejected, and Garcia argued that Bantz didn’t tag the runner.

The controversial plays at the plate wouldn’t have mattered had the Curve bullpen not blown a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning. The Senators scored three runs against reliever Matt Benedict, tying the game on a two-run double by Skole off Brandon Mann.

It marked the second time in four games that Altoona’s bullpen squandered a three-run lead in the eighth or ninth inning. Friday at Richmond, the bullpen gave up four runs in the ninth to lose, 5-4.

Monday’s late-inning collapse cost Curve starter Zack Dodson a much-deserved win. He pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings but wound up with a no-decision. Tyler Herron (1-0), who pitched for the Curve in 2009, won in relief for Harrisburg.

Game recap

Key player: Senators 1B Matt Skole went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, including the winning hit in the 10th and a tying two-run double in the eighth.

Key play: On Skole’s hit in the 10th, the Curve thought they had the runner, Sean Nicol, thrown out at the plate, but he was ruled safe.

Key stat: The Curve have lost four in a row.

How they scored

Top 1st: Hanson singled, scored on Rojas Jr. single (1-0).

Top 7th: Garcia solo homer (2-0); Diaz doubled, scored on Broxton single (3-0).

Bottom 8th: Hague doubled, scored on Taylor single (3-1); Bloxom singled, scored along with Taylor on Skole double (3-3).

Bottom 10th: Nicol singled, scored on Skole single (3-4).