Home run barrage lifts Curve to win

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Curve offense has had its share of problems for a good bit of the season, but the long ball has not been one of them.

Altoona now leads the Eastern League in homers after belting three Tuesday night, all during a seven-run third inning. The home runs carried the Curve to a 10-3 thumping of Binghamton at NYSEG Stadium.

Gift Ngoepe started the long ball barrage with a three-run shot, scoring Willy Garcia and Jarek Cunningham for a 3-1 lead. Alen Hanson tripled and scored on a double by Mel Rojas Jr., then Stetson Allie crushed a two-run homer. Keon Broxton finished off the big inning with a solo shot for a 7-1 cushion.

The Curve have hit 31 homers, taking over the top spot in the league. Allie’s blast was his seventh, which is tied for third individually.

The Curve also now have moved up to fourth in the EL in runs with 167, an average of 4.6 per game.

The seven-run outburst in the third inning made it an easy night for Altoona’s pitching staff, which saw the return of Zack Dodson from injury. The lefty had been out for a month with an oblique injury and gave up one run on four hits in three innings in his return.

Dodson threw 47 pitches and, rather than extend him further, Tyler Sample came on in relief and threw four innings. Sample (3-2) was credited with the win, giving up two runs on six hits and, most importantly, no walks. Sample entered the night with 23 walks to 21 strikeouts in only 21 1/3 innings.

Binghamton starter Robles (1-2) got crushed, allowing all seven runs and the three homers in the third inning.

Five Curve players collected multiple hits, including Garcia going 3-for-5. Broxton continued his hot streak with two hits, including an RBI single in the seventh, while Ngoepe, Hanson and Rojas also had two hits.

Elias Diaz had a two-run single in the fourth as the Curve stretched the lead to 9-1.

Game recap

Key player: 2B Gift Ngoepe went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs.

Key play: Ngoepe’s three-run homer in the third inning ignited the Curve onslaught.

Key stat: Altoona scored seven runs in the third.

How they scored

Bottom 2nd: Lawley doubled, scored on Tovar single (0-1).

Top 3rd: Garcia doubled, Cunningham walked, both scored on Ngoepe three-run homer (3-1); Hanson tripled, scored on Rojas Jr. double (4-1); Allie two-run homer scored Rojas (6-1); Broxton solo homer (7-1).

Top 4th: Ngoepe walked, Rojas singled, both scored on Diaz single (9-1).

Bottom 6th: Lawley solo homer (9-2).

Top 7th: Broxton singled, scored on Ngoepe single (10-2).

Bottom 7th: Johnson singled, scored on Reynolds single (10-3).