Benches clear; Curve lose

AKRON, Ohio – Tempers flared Friday night between the Curve and Akron, with both benches clearing in the seventh inning, but things calmed down before any punches were thrown.

The RubberDucks scored three runs in the first inning and four more in the second and went on to beat the Curve at Canal Park, 8-4. Altoona has now lost eight out of 10 and is a season-high seven games below .500.

In the bottom of the seventh, Akron shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has been a huge factor offensively against the Curve all season, took a pitch low and in for ball three. Then ball four from reliever Matt Benedict went behind Lindor, who slammed his bat down and had words for the pitcher.

RubberDucks manager David Wallace came out to complain, and shortly both benches spilled onto the field. Wallace and Curve manager Carlos Garcia exchanged words, then cooler heads prevailed as both sides settled down.

No one was ejected, and both sides were warned. There were no further incidents the rest of the game.

Curve starter Tyler Sample didn’t make it out of the first inning, retiring only one batter and giving up three runs on two hits and three walks. He threw 31 pitches in only one-third of an inning, a high count that almost always forces a pitcher out because of the Pirates’ development rules.

Sample (2-2) had the best ERA in the Eastern League two starts ago at 1.00 but has been roughed up his past two outings, giving up nine runs – six earned – on seven hits and seven walks in just 3 innings. His ERA now sits at 3.38.

Brandon Mann came on and finished the first but gave up four runs in the second as Akron built a 7-0 lead. Lindor had a three-run double in the inning. Mann did save the bullpen by lasting 5 innings, and he struck out eight.

Gabriel Arias (4-2) won for Akron, allowing three runs in six innings, while Shawn Armstrong earned his fifth save.

Game recap

Key player: SS Francisco Lindor went 1-for-3 with a three-run double for Akron.

Key play: The RubberDucks scored three runs in the first to chase Curve starter Tyler Sample.

Key stat: The Curve have lost eight of 10 to fall seven games below .500.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Naquin walked, scored on LaHair single (0-1); Lindor reached on fielder’s choice, scored along with LaHair on Wolters single and Garcia error (0-3).

Bottom 2nd: Lavisky singled, Naquin singled, Holt walked, all three scored on Lindor double (0-7).

Top 3rd: Broxton doubled, scored on Hanson sacrifice fly (1-7).

Top 7th: Cunningham singled, scored on Hanson single (2-7); Broxton singled, scored on Rojas Jr. single (3-7); Ngoepe singled, scored on Curry groundout (4-7).

Bottom 8th: Myles walked, scored on Smith sacrifice fly (4-8).